The Poland Blog Beatroot touts the activites of Russian human rights organization Memorial to remind the Russian people of one of the world's most shocking incidents of mass murder, the Katyn Forest killing of thousands of Polish officers by the Red Army. The post has generated three dozen comments, click through to read them.
The Russian NGO Memorial has pledged to pursue all legal means to get Moscow to recognize Soviet responsibility for the deaths of over 20,000 Polish [soldiers including 8,000 officers] in the Katyn massacre of 1940.
This is a turn up for the (history) books. A group of Russians are fighting to get Putin and others to face up to Soviet war crimes.And for a group of Russians to campaign on behalf of Poles is truly refreshing. Reuters (no link) reports that Director of the Memorial NGO, Arseny Roginsky, has said that, “A Russian court, specifically a Russian court, must examine all aspects of the crime of Katyn and give its verdict.”
So far, Moscow has failed to acknowledge the extent of the crime, even though the rest of the world thinks it's self evident. In November, 2005, after years of investigation, Chief Russian Military Prosecutor Alexander Savenkov announced, to Poles disbelief, that the criminal case was now closed because investigators didn’t find any evidence of genocide in the 1940 Katyn killings. And in March, 2006, Moscow informed the Polish government that they would not recognize the massacre as an act of political repression.
In April and May 1940, the Soviet secret police (NKVD) executed over 20,000 Polish officers and policemen imprisoned in camps Kozyelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk as well as Poles imprisoned in the Western regions of Belarus and Ukraine. When the Nazis found evidence of the massacre they blamed the Soviets. The Soviets blamed the Nazis. But it soon became evident that, this time, the Nazis were right. In 1990, Moscow finally acknowledged that NKVD officers did commit the crime, but claimed it was not a 'political crime'. But a memo sent by Stalin refered to the Polish prisoners as 'counter-revolutionaries', and ordered his, by then, usual remidy to get rid of the problem.