Stalin ordered execution of 20,000 Polish soldiers: Katyn archives

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 21:11

Moscow: Russian dictator Joseph Stalin
had personally ordered the execution of more than 20,000
Polish military officers in Katyn and other places of Russia
in 1940, according to a top secret Soviet Communist Party
archives.

Russia`s Federal Archive Agency has made available
digital copies of the secret archives on its website on Wednesday to
end the continued speculations by the Communist hardliners on
the Katyn massacre and to end speculations about their
authenticity, the agency`s chief said.

More than 20,000 officers, police and civilians
taken prisoner during the 1939 partitioning of Poland by the
Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were killed by the NKVD secret
police in the Katyn forest near the western Russian city of
Smolensk.

The Soviet Union tried to blame the massacre on Nazi
Germany, saying the killings took place in 1941, when the
territory was in German hands.

Until 1990s, documents from the top-secret File
No.1, which place the blame solely on the Soviet Union had
been kept in a sealed envelope in the secret archive of the
Communist Party`s ruling Politburo.

"It contained a note by NKVD head [Lavrenty] Beria
dated March 1940, with a proposal to eliminate captured Polish
officers.

The note has authentic resolutions by [Joseph] Stalin
and a number of other Politburo members: [Kliment] Voroshilov,
[Vyacheslav] Molotov, [Anastas] Mikoyan.

That envelope also contains a Politburo resolution,
dated March 5, 1940, which expresses support for Beria`s
proposal to execute the Polish officers," Chief of the Federal
Archive Agency Andrei Artizov was quoted as saying by RIA
Novosti.

Exactly 20 years ago the then Communist Party
general Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev first admitted that
thousands of Poles were executed by the NKVD secret police in
"one of the gravest crimes of Stalinism."

Speaking at a news conference in Copenhagen today
President Dmitry Medvedev said archives related to mass
repressions in the Soviet Union will be made more accessible
to the public.

"Let everyone see what was done, who made the
decisions, who gave the orders to eliminate Polish officers.

Everything is written down there. All signatures are in place.
All names are known," Medvedev said and added: "We will
continue this work. I believe it to be our duty.

Lessons must be learned from the past and that Russia
had nothing to hide.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski had died earlier
this month in a plane crash along with his wife and 94 top
members of the nation`s political and military elite, while on
way to pay respects at the Katyn memorial.

"Katyn archives are actually open, but there are
several documents that we have not given to our Polish
partners.

I gave instructions to carry out all the necessary
work and, after the necessary procedures, to provide our
Polish colleagues with the material they are interested in,"
Medvedev said in his televised statement.

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - 21:11

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