The ambassador, Włodzimierz Marciniak, was called to the foreign ministry in Moscow after Polish public television broadcaster TVP Info used a set design featuring the Nazi symbol in reference to Russia in a current-affairs programme it aired on Wednesday, the niezalezna.pl website reported.
It cited the press office of the Polish foreign ministry as confirming that the Polish ambassador "has been invited" to the Russian foreign ministry in connection with the graphic design displayed when a programme entitled Minęła 20 (After Eight) was broadcast by the TVP Info station.
According to niezalezna.pl, Russia’s Sputnik news service, the “propaganda mouthpiece of the Kremlin,” has accused the journalist hosting the programme, Michał Rachoń, of insulting Russia and its President Vladimir Putin.
The design featured the words "Achtung Russia!" and used the infamous Nazi SS symbol in the word “Russia,” the website reported.
It cited journalist Tomasz Sakiewicz, editor-in-chief of conservative Polish weekly Gazeta Polska, as saying that a poster on which the set design was based has been "known to the media" in Poland for four years.
“So why commotion now?” niezalezna.pl inquires.
According to Sakiewicz, the "Achtung Russia" design was based on a poster by Polish designer Wojciech Korkuć that was previously shown by various television broadcasters and at many exhibitions.
The motif has also been used on T-shirts, Sakiewicz told niezalezna.pl.
“It is completely incomprehensible why the Russians have decided to take offence just now,” Sakiewicz said. “Probably Russia … needs a worsening in relations with Poland to create a sense of general threat.”
He added that “Putin apparently needs that, hence the standoff with Ukraine, hence the stirring up of things that did not previously cause such a reaction.”
Sakiewicz also suggested that Putin might be interested in creating tensions in relations with some of Russia’s neighbours in the near future for the sake of “some external power play.”
“It seems that this is an attempt to create a diplomatic conflict with Poland,” Sakiewicz claimed.
He also suggested that Russia has decided to use the TVP Info programme as an excuse to “worsen relations with Poland” and might be tempted to look for further excuses in other areas.