Sunday, May 09, 2010

Russia / Poland / Katyn Massacre

Russia Gives Poland Long-Sought Katyn Files
By Jim Heintz
Associated Press dispatch in The Seattle Times, May 8, 2010
"Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday turned over scores of volumes from an investigation into the Katyn massacre to his Polish counterpart, a move underlining Moscow's new willingness to repair long-troubled relations with Warsaw. The World War II massacre of some 20,000 Polish officers and other prominent citizens by Soviet secret police has been an issue that soured relations between the countries for decades. After decades of blaming the 1940 massacre on invading Nazi troops, the Soviet Union in 1990 acknowledged responsibility, part of Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost initiatives. But officials refused to refer to it as a genocide attempt -- a designation that Poland had sought because international law generally considers that genocide has no statue of limitations. The Soviet Union began a criminal investigation the same year, but it was closed in 2004. The chief military prosecutor later said the case was closed because the killings were not found to be genocide.
The 67 volumes that Medvedev turned over to acting Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski are files from that investigation, Russian news agencies said. Polish historians have agitated for access to the case files, and Medvedev indicated there was information to come. ... Komorowski expressed gratitude. 'The Katyn crime, the Katyn lie, is a stumbling block between our countries. The truth about Katyn is an ordeal experienced jointly by both Poland and Russia. It may serve as a good basis for the further development of relations between our countries,' he said according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. [...]"

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