Language of migration

How the choice of words can affect the reception of the article

Russia hits Europe with a migration bomb. Wagner’s hybrid warfare

The Russian secret service  stands  behind the invasion of immigrants to Europe in 2014-2015, mainly through the Balkans. The Russians, together with Lukashenko, attacked the Polish border in a similar way in 2021. Today they are attacking the EU from the south – using the Wagner’s troops who have been present in Libya for several years. It is interesting that they do it after the pro-Ukrainian government took power in Rome. (…)

For many years, the Italian authorities, until recently dominated by the left, saw the uncontrolled influx of immigrants from Africa only as a humanitarian problem. It was somewhat reminiscent of the attitude of Angela Merkel and the German government during the famous immigration crisis a few years ago. But now we have a center-right government in Rome, skeptical not only of Brussels and Berlin, but also of Moscow. The government that has recognized “refugees“ from Africa as one of the main sources of the problem. (…)

“Russia is creating a real migration bomb to put Europe in a difficult situation, said the senator of the co-ruling League, Massimiliano Romeo. In an interview with the Libero daily, the head of the League’s parliamentary caucus in the Senate stated: „Our goal is to limit travel, thus reducing the number of victims. But it’s obvious we can’t do it alone.“ In his opinion, although different countries have interests in the region, it is Russia that is the most interested in destabilization today, by increasing the migration flow and putting the European countries that opted against the war with Ukraine in a difficult situation. (…)

Speaking of the European aspect, we must not forget that Libya, which is close to Italy, has been one of the sources of the influx of migrants to Europe for many years. Influencing the course of events in this country gives the Russians the opportunity to direct a new large stream of refugees to the EU in order to destabilize Europe. And in the mild variant, which is an important player in Libya, Russia will gain another trump card in political negotiations with Mediterranean EU members interested in stabilizing Libya in order to stop the flow of refugees. (…)

“Rosja Uderza w Europę Bombą Migracyjną. Wojna Hybrydowa Wagnera. .” Gazeta Polska , 22 Mar. 2023, Accessed 10 Apr. 2023.


One of the problems in analysing this article is that the terms “migrants” and “refuges” are being used by the author interchangeably.

It is crucial to use proper vocabulary, especially while writing the articles on the topic of migration. According to Cambridge Dictionary migrant is a person that travels to a different country or place, often in order to find work, word refugee on the other hand refers to a person who has escaped from their own country for political, religious, or economic reasons or because of a war. The meanings of these two terms are referring to two different social groups and used in the wrong context lead to manipulation and misunderstanding. In this context the readers do not know if the main object of the article are migrants or refugees.

The second language problem is the way in which the author is referring to the phenomenon of migration, especially forced migration. Use of phrases such as migration bomb, the invasion of immigrants, influx of immigrants, migration flow and stream of refugees leads to dehumanising migrants and refugees, simply missing the human aspect of these tragedies.

The article is focused on the threats connected with the amount of people trying to get to the EU upon the inspiration of the Russian secret service. Because of the use of the wording associated with the language typical to the description of cataclysms and natural disasters, the readers are not paying attention to the fate of  particular human beings who are risking their lives in search of freedom and better future for themselves and their families.

Use of the words such as flow, influx, bomb or invasion is not only dehumanising the refugees and migrants but also potentially may lead to spreading a fear of them among the readers who are not doing further research.

Unfortunately, not only journalists but also politicians are making the aforementioned mistakes, either purposely and simply because of lack of linguistic accuracy. A descriptive example of statement using dehumanising language was provided by David Cameron, who used a word “swarm” in reference to a group of migrants.

On the other hand, Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in an interview for “Bild” in 2021 was warning the rest of the EU of an enormous amount of people who might come to Europe:  Soon hundred thousands, millions of migrants will be approaching Europe (…) More than 80 million people live in Germany. Are you going to allow 50 more million to come? I think that people in Germany would not be happy, because they want to keep their life standard. They want to keep their culture.

It is another example of language manipulation. Using overestimations to talk about migration causes nothing more than fear among listeners. Context of Polish Prime Minister’s words is the humanitarian crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border. Morawiecki’s words are a clear example of manipulation in order to spread false information and predictions to make people believe that accepting refugees and migrants is might lead to lowering of  life standard and destroying  national culture and heritage.

about the source:

Gazeta Polska is a Polish right-wing conservative newspaper. The main topics are current political, social and economic events, as well as the analysis of contemporary Polish foreign policy and history of Poland. The magazine is closely related to the political party “Law and Justice” (PiS) which is the main member of the current government. Some of the editors are known for their controversial opinions on religion, politics and European Union. 


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