Thursday, May 06, 2010

Russia / United States / Katyn Massacre

Russia Owes Poland, World an Apology for Massacre, US Official Says
By Justine Jablonska, May 6, 2010
"Russia should apologize for the 1940 Katyn massacre of nearly 22,000 Polish prisoners of war, the chairman of the US Helsinki Commission said Wednesday. 'Russia needs a clear and unequivocal apology to the Polish people for what was done 70 years ago,' said Benjamin Cardin, who is also a Democratic U.S. senator from Maryland. Cardin made the remarks at a conference of scholars, experts and analysts from Poland, Russia and the US who met at the Library of Congress to discuss Katyn's significance and the future of Polish-Russian relations. Cardin also called on Russia to fully disclose all of its archives and records about Katyn. 'It's important to be able to document exactly what happened 70 years ago' using original documents, Cardin said. In the spring of 1940, nearly 22,000 Polish prisoners of war were executed one by one with a shot to the back of the head by Stalin's security police. The bodies were dumped into mass graves in a forest near Smolensk, Russia.
When German soldiers announced their discovery of one such grave in 1943, the Soviet government blamed them for the crime and continued to do so until Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev finally admitted Soviet guilt in 1990 and disclosed the location of the remaining graves. The unreleased Russian documents are key to the process of defining Katyn as a war crime or as a crime against humanity, according to Russian scholar and Katyn expert Alexander Guryanov, a representative of the Russian human rights group Memorial. If designated a war crime, there is no statute of limitations, he said. [...]"

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