Questions for President Putin

09-05-2005 , by Susanne Berger, Ari D. Kaplan, Dr. Marvin W. Makinen, Susan E. Mesinai

As the world celebrates the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II, we draw renewed attention to the most protracted missing person case of the Cold War: The fate of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who was arrested in Hungary and taken to the Soviet Union in 1945, remains unknown.
After a ten-year study, the Swedish-Russian Working Group in 2001 presented the findings of its official investigation into the Wallenberg case. In addition, we, as independent consultants to the Working Group, issued our own research reports that summarized our findings in greater detail.
Our work has focused on reconstructing Raoul Wallenberg’s path through captivity from a wide variety of records. Through our research a number of concrete questions and precise leads have been developed, which, if answered, would almost certainly provide incisive clues about his disappearance in Soviet captivity.
The Swedish and Russian governments have repeatedly declared their commitment to clarifying Raoul Wallenberg’s fate. However, severely limited access to pertinent Russian archival materials and Sweden’s failure to forcefully insist on clarification persist as the main obstacles to uncovering Wallenberg’s fate.
The Russian government has repeatedly claimed that it has no further documents or information that would shed light on Raoul Wallenberg’s fate. Yet, in 2003 the Eliasson Commission in Sweden forcefully challenged this claim and stopped just short of accusing the Russian government of stonewalling. We concur with this assessment.
The report of the Swedish Working Group in 2001 presented to the Russian government a number of urgent questions, based in large part on our findings as independent consultants. Four years later, we are still waiting for the answers. If the Russian government is truly committed to clarifying Raoul Wallenberg’s fate beyond a reasonable doubt, the minimum legal requirement in any court of law, the following issues need to be addressed without delay:
1. If Raoul Wallenberg was alive after 1947, he would most likely have become a secret prisoner in isolation. Such prisoners were assigned either a false identity or a number. Who were the convicted prisoners numbered 14, 16, 17, 18, 19 and 20 sentenced by Special Tribunal (OSO) between the Spring of 1947 and May 1948 and in what prisons were they placed after their departure from Moscow? Please, make their files available to researchers.
2. Who were the foreign prisoners in solitary confinement in 1960 in Korpus 2 of the Vladimir Prison described by Varvara Ivanovna Larina and Aleksandr Timofeiyevich Kukin, former employees of the prison, and in 1970 by Josif Mikhailovich Terelya, a former prisoner in the Vladimir Prison?
3. In 1956, a Soviet citizen by the name of Shiryagin wrote to the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs, claiming to have important information about Raoul Wallenberg. Why did the Foreign Ministry request the KGB to silence Shiryagin on this issue? Where is the letter and what are its contents?
4. Who was Sandor Katona and why was he transferred as a prisoner with Wallenberg’s assistant Vilmos Langfelder from the Lefortovo Prison to the Lubianka Prison on July 22, 1947? What are the dates of Katona’s imprisonment and where is the documentation related to his case?
Press Release in Re: Raoul Wallenberg May 9, 2005 Independent Consultants to the Swedish-Russian Working Group Page 2
5. The Soviet and Russian governments claim that Wallenberg died in 1947. Yet the currency in his possession at the time of arrest was not confiscated within six months of his alleged death, as stipulated by Soviet prison regulations at that time, but was returned to the family in 1989. Why was the currency not confiscated but still available to be returned? Also, Soviet authorities in 1989 may not have returned the original bills taken from Raoul Wallenberg, but may simply have issued authentic World War II currency to reimburse Wallenberg’s family. How did Soviet authorities know what amount they should return? A receipt stating the precise amount taken from Wallenberg should have been placed in his prisoner file when he arrived in prison. Does this mean that this receipt and possibly Raoul Wallenberg’s personal or investigative file were available in 1989?
6. What possessions did Raoul Wallenberg take with him from the Lefortovo Prison to the Lubianka Prison in March 1947? The relevant entry in the official registry of possessions of prisoners in the Lubianka Prison remains censored. When did this censorship occur?
7. Zigurds Kruminsh, the former cellmate of Francis Gary Powers and of Marvin W. Makinen in the Vladimir Prison, stated that he met a Swedish prisoner in Vladimir. List all of Kruminsh’s cellmates in the Vladimir Prison, particularly those in Korpus 1 at the time the Gromyko Memorandum was released in February 1957?
8. To ensure that other Swedish prisoners could not be a source of confusion with Raoul Wallenberg, provide a list of all Swedish nationals imprisoned in the Soviet Union, their personal data, with dates of incarceration in prisons, labor camps, and psychiatric hospitals.
9. Former Soviet intelligence official Igor Prelin and other former Soviet officials have repeatedly alluded to information that they obtained directly from the interrogations of Raoul Wallenberg’s assistant, Vilmos Langfelder. Where are these interrogation records and why have they not been shared with Swedish officials? In a reply to the Hungarian government in 1957, the Soviet government claimed that Langfelder died in March 1948. What were the circumstances of his death?
10. The Soviet and Russian governments claim that Raoul Wallenberg died in the Lubianka Prison from a myocardial infarct on July 17, 1947. The report was supposedly written by A. Smoltsov, the head of the Lubianka Medical Services. However, it is known that, as of March 21, 1947, Smoltsov was on medical leave because of illness. This information was given by Smoltsov’s son, whom Swedish officials were not allowed to interview. What are the precise dates and circumstances of Smoltsov’s illness and employment in 1947?
11. While the American Esav I. Oggins was in a Moscow prison, the head of MGB, Viktor Abakumov, suggested to Stalin in May 1947 that the U.S. be informed that Oggins had died of tuberculosis in Norilsk. However, researchers learned that Oggins was actually transferred from Moscow in late 1946 and died in the Internal Prison in Penza. Soviet and Russian officials have repeatedly pointed to similarities between the Oggins and Wallenberg cases. Therefore, please provide all proof of transport of Oggins from Moscow to Penza, including all relevant Convoy Troop records. Also, provide the correct cause and date of death.
12. In 1961 Dr. Nanna Svartz of Sweden reported that her Russian colleague Dr. A. L. Myasnikov revealed to her at a medical conference in Moscow that he had direct knowledge of Raoul Wallenberg‘s presence in the Soviet Union. A second physician, Dr. Grigory Danishevsky, was also present during part of the conversation. Please, provide all reports of Drs. Myasnikov and Danishevsky to Soviet authorities about their encounter with Dr. Svartz. In May 1965 the Central Committee of the CPSU approved the official reply to be given to Dr. Svartz. The notations on the document show that the Myasnikov-Svartz issue was also discussed by a full session of the Politburo. Disclose the information contained in the documentation that was preparatory to the meetings of the Central Committee and the Politburo.
Press Release in Re: Raoul Wallenberg May 9, 2005 Independent Consultants to the Swedish-Russian Working Group Page 3
13. The Russian government continues to restrict direct access to many files and archival collections that are known to exist and are directly relevant to the investigation of Wallenberg’s fate. This includes the investigative and personal files of several prisoners connected with the Wallenberg case; administrative records and special registries of Soviet Ministries and prisons; documents of the highest decision-making level of the Soviet government, e.g., the Politburo and the Central Committee of the CPSU; and records from Russian intelligence services, including the Foreign and Military Intelligence Archives, concerning details of Raoul Wallenberg’s activities in Hungary and the circumstances of his arrest. Direct access to these and other records is essential if the investigation into Raoul Wallenberg’s disappearance is to comply with accepted standards of a formal historical inquiry. We request that the Russian government provide full access to these archival materials.
2001 Reports by the independent consultants to the Swedish-Russian Working Group:
Mesinai, Susan E.. Liquidatsia: The Question of Raoul Wallenberg’s Death or Disappearance in 1947.
Makinen, Marvin W. and Ari D. Kaplan. Cell Occupancy Analysis of Korpus 2 of the Vladimir Prison.
Berger, Susanne. The Swedish Aspects of the Raoul Wallenberg Case.
2003 Report by the Commission on the Swedish Foreign Policy Leadership’s Handling of the Raoul Wallenberg Case:
Kommissionen om den Svenska Utrikesledningens Agerande i Fallet Raoul Wallenberg. Ett diplomatiskt misslyckande. SOU 2003:18. Stockholm.
For further information please contact:
Susanne Berger Ari D. Kaplan Dr. Marvin W. Makinen Susan E. Mesinai
email: sberger@prodigy.net email: kaplanari@hotmail.com email: makinen@uchicago.edu email: smesinai@hotmail.com

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