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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Annals of Neo-Soviet Propaganda: Denying Katyn

Writing in The Economist, Edward Lucas exposes yet another horrifying aspect of neo-Soviet propaganda, which emerged from a recent meeting in Prague:

Over coffee, participants competed to cite new outrages in the pro-Kremlin press. A prime example was an article in the October 18th edition of the official Russian government newspaper, Rossiskaya Gazeta, on the subject of the massacre of thousands of captured Polish officers at Katyn and other locations in April 1940. It was a defining moment in the Gorbachev era when the Kremlin admitted the murderers were not—as the Stalinist falsehood asserted—the Nazis, but the NKVD. Now that clock is running backwards: the September 18th article, by one Aleksandr Sabov, asserts that the evidence of NKVD involvement is flimsy and unreliable. That is roughly akin to a German government newspaper (if such a thing existed) promoting Holocaust denial. Oddly, the article is not on the Rossiskaya Gazeta website (although PDF copies are available on the internet). Perhaps the editors are ashamed of what they printed. Such things stiffen the ex-communist countries’ resistance to Kremlin blandishments. But it would help if their supposed allies would get their act together too. Atlanticist opinion has been bruised and battered by American blunders in presenting the case for missile defence bases in the region. The latest fiasco was when American officials said Russian military experts could be based at the planned anti-missile radar station in the Czech Republic. Given that the Kremlin’s occupation forces left barely 15 years ago, the return of Russian soldiers of any kind would be a ticklish proposition at the best of times. But it turned that the American announcement was the first the Czechs had heard of the notion. Having hung their allies out to dry, the Americans then changed their mind. For eastern Europe’s loyal Atlanticists, the end of the Bush administration cannot come soon enough. But perhaps they should be careful what they wish for.
Today they re-deny Katyn, tomorrow . . . ?

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