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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Remembering Russian/Soviet Barbarism at Katyn

The International Herald Tribune reports:

Poland's president will make his first visit to Russia this week to honor the memory of thousands of Poles murdered by the Soviet secret police during World War II — but without plans to meet his counterpart, Vladimir Putin. President Lech Kaczynski and Defense Minister Aleksander Szczyglo planned to visit a cemetery in the Katyn forest near Smolensk, Russia, on Monday — the anniversary of the Red Army's invasion of Poland at the start of the war — presidential spokesman Marcin Rosolowski said, according to the Polish news agency PAP.

It will be Kaczynski's first visit since taking office nearly two years ago to neighboring Russia, with whom relations remain tense due to bitterness over Polish suffering at Soviet hands during the war and under communism. Lately tensions have been stoked by Poland's support for hosting a U.S. missile defense site, something Moscow says threatens its own security and could spark a new arms race. During his visit, Kaczynski will be received by a representative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, but the focus of the visit will be honoring the estimated 22,000 Poles murdered at Katyn. Kaczynski and his twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, remain deeply skeptical of Russia, and the visit Monday — with its focus on past atrocities — is unlikely to improve the strained ties.

The Soviet Union invaded Poland on Sept. 17, 1939, less than three weeks after Nazi Germany had invaded from the West. In April of the following year, the Polish officers were taken prisoner and killed by a shot to the back of the head in the Katyn forest and in other places. The Nazis discovered the mass graves during their march on Moscow in the fall of 1941, but Soviet propaganda blamed the deaths on Adolf Hitler and punished anyone speaking the truth with harsh prison terms. In 1990, Moscow admitted that dictator Josef Stalin's secret police were responsible.

Kaczynski's visit comes only days before the release of a movie about the massacre by the Oscar-winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda.

UPDATE: Russia is now banning Poland from access to its files on Katyn, obviously seeking to cover Soviet/Russian blame for the atrocity.


Anonymous said...

What about ethnic Russians and all others who suffered during Stalin's rule? If this was the explanation for Polish bitterness, then Poland would have to be at least as bitter toward Germany.

The movie about Katyn massacre sounds interesting. Who will be starring as Beria?

Artfldgr said...

What makes you think the poles are not as bitter at germany?

a major difference though is that germany de-nazified, it dismantled its political structure. it has admitted things and has attempted to make some good.

can you say the same about russia on the stalin issue?

one thing that makes people upset about situations is often how the situation is handled later.

to raise stalin up as a hero, to not admit things were the way they were, and so on makes a person think that the past was even more intentional, and they are not at all sorry in the present.

it shows the depth that sociopathic crocodile tears are used.

while the germans are actually fearful about another similar regime, the russians are more wistful.

OstapR said...

You might also be interested in this bit insulting revisionism:

Now they are blaming the Poles for some made up events. And they did it on the day of Katyn rememberence.

Alex said...

"What about ethnic Russians and all others who suffered during Stalin's rule?"
What the USSR did to its own citizens, is the business of the USSR (or its successor state), if the largest ethnic group in the "country" refused to fight it, they are complicit in the crimes even only if through cowardice. It was Russian cowardice that allowed Stalins (and other soviet leaders) crimes to flourish, pathetic.