Katyn 'poisons' Polish-Russian relations
Created: 27.10.2008 12:52
Former foreign secretary Adam Rotfeld, a member of a bilateral history
commission, urges Moscow to be more open about the perpetrators of the 1940
murder of 20,000 Polish officers, know as the Katyn massacre.
Rotfeld was reacting to a decision taken Friday by the Khamovniki District
Court not to exonerate Polish prisoners of war who were murdered by Soviet
NVKD officials during WW II. Families of the Polish officers are appealing
to the higher court in Moscow to overturn the decision.
Earlier in October, the Municipal Court in Moscow rejected an appeal by the
Russian historical and civil rights NGO, the Memorial Society, to disclose
reasons behind a decision to discontinue the investigation into the
In 2005 Moscow wound up the Russian investigation into the case saying that
all those involved in the case were now dead.
Adam Rotfeld said that Katyn was poisoning relations between Russia and
Poland and that more openness between Moscow and Warsaw was needed before
the issue could be put to rest. He urged the Russian government to open
files concerning the case so the joint Polish-Russian historical commission
could do its work.
Moscow's seeming indifference to the sensitive subject of Soviet treatment
of Polish prisoners has helped sour relations between Poland and Russia.
In July it was reported that a new school text book will paint Stalin as an
efficient leader and the killing of Polish officers in Katyn was "revenge",
committed by Poland during the 1920 war between the two countries.
The Russian Academy of Qualification Improvement and Professional
Retraining of Education Employees released new guidelines this term for
teachers regarding the history syllabus in schools.
From now on, Russian pupils will be informed that the Polish officers were
indeed killed by the NKVD in Katyn in 1940, but the act was fully justified
and "politically suitable", reported the pro-government daily newspaper
Vremya Novostei. (pg)
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