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The Truth of the Gulag

    5659 Katyn – a double game of the Kremlin

    70 years ago the world learned the truth about the terrible tragedy of Smolensk, but so far out of it trying to make a secret.



    April 13, 1943 German radio reported a mass grave in the Katyn forest executed Polish officers. Stalin’s leadership immediately embarked on a denial of guilt. Only in 1990, under Gorbachev, was officially recognized – executions were carried out in 1940 by the NKVD. An investigation that went long 14 years. Although after 1994, nothing new – no papers, no conclusions – the investigation has been received, the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office of Russia for some reason not in a hurry to put a period and closed the case.


    Why are so delayed consequence – is understandable. Russian policy has undergone major changes. If at the beginning of the 1990s the Soviet past has been the subject of consideration in terms of the crimes committed by the communist system, which wrote a lot and open by the beginning of the 2000s new winds blowing. Are more often overemphasize the role of Stalin as the winner in the war, began to voices, including historians, that is not necessary to represent the entire Soviet period as a chain of crimes against the people, as a never-ending gulag.History, to teach citizens how to become leaders in the Kremlin, must serve the patriotic education of youth, and, in addition to negative, you should always remember the good moments. Such an approach would inevitably lead to the triumph of a new line in the state policy of Russia – the line at silencing the Soviet crimes.


    Against this background, the most domestic policy of the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office did not have the clarity and constantly struggle was waged around the question of who exactly should blame the Katyn crime and how to qualify – as a war crime, or merely as “abuse of power” by officials. In the original decision to dismiss the case, prepared in 1994 by the head of the investigation team Anatoly Yablokov, were listed among the accused and members of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the CPSU (B) led by Stalin signed the decision of 5 March 1940 on mass execution of Polish citizens, Of course, the top of the NKVD, in charge of executions. This conclusion of the investigation and a circle of defendants did not accept the Russian leadership. It was decided to take the time and go on the investigation. Around the same time there was a rumor that it will tighten up until they die back rows by the NKVD, were directly involved in the execution and burial of bodies of executed in Katyn, copper and Pjatihatki.

    And now, September 21, 2004 the Chief Military Prosecutor Russia made a decision to close the investigation “Katyn case” for the death of the guilty. And surprisingly, the range of the accused did not include nor Stalin, nor the members of the Politburo, and was limited to only a few senior officials NKVD1Postanovlenie to dismiss the case is still listed secret, but leaked reports, the defendants appear only four of Beria, Vsevolod Merkulov, Bogdan Kobulovand Leonid Bashtakov. That is, the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs, sent a letter to the Politburo of the proposal to the massacre of Polish citizens, and members of a specially created three that made the extrajudicial execution of sentences .. And their wine was classified only as “abuse of power”, which had serious consequences.But worse, the public was informed about the decision very late – in March 2005. In this case, contrary to Russian law, declared that the decision to dismiss the case, which contained the main findings – a secret and can not be made public. So the Chief Military Prosecutor of the Russian Federation, in fact, rose to the position of concealer Stalin’s crimes.

    The position of silence and cover-up results of the investigation, “Katyn case” under the guise of state secrets is a violation of Russian legislation. Article 7 of the Federal Law “On State Secrets” just says can not be classified as secret information “about violations of the rights and freedoms of man and citizen” and “violation of the law by public authorities and their officials.” Hiding the prosecution investigation results “Katyn case” – a fact unprecedented, but in the current Russian political climate – no wonder. While in 2010, after the Smolensk disaster, there was a faint hope that the Kremlin will review the position and take steps to resolve the issue of Katyn.

    The question arises: what prevents open to all decision of the Chief Military Prosecutor’s “Katyn case”? That this may turn out, if it happens? One can easily guess that happens international embarrassment. Become apparent full legal incapacity and helplessness of this document. After all, what was to find out the investigation:

    – Procedurally determine the full nominal composition victims of the shooting;

    – Procedurally determine the full composition of the guilty – as the initiators of the crime and its perpetrators of all ranks;

    – To establish full legal qualification of the crime in accordance with Russian and international prava2Guryanov AE”Katyn problem” in modern Russia / / Novaya Gazeta. October 30. 2010. Number 97 ..

    The result of the investigation is far from an honest answer to all these questions. Decision to close the “Katyn case” looks like a blasphemy, indicating prosecutors trying to get away from being charged with the crime the higher leadership of the USSR, and in general as an attempt to cover up or “grease” the whole thing. Here is why. First, given the incorrect qualification of the Katyn crime only as abuses of power by officials, not as a war crime. Second, artificially narrowed the circle of those responsible – charges derived from Stalin and the Politburo members, approved the massacre. Third, a clear visible defect investigation, because it was not a complete list of identified victims, which should always be done for completion of the investigation, and to allow them to close reabilitatsii3Rachinsky Ya “Katyn”, it is necessary to open / / Novaya Gazeta. 2010. November 8 ..

    In a place so in Poland over Katyn, in recent years there are unreasonably high expectations. This is no reasoned optimism. Fueled this sentiment and generously lavished promises of the Kremlin, not today tomorrow materials “Katyn case” will be declassified and transferred to Poland, and the Poles were shot will be rehabilitated. After the death of Polish President Kaczynski and many thought. In April 2010, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe said with conviction: “I sincerely believe that the empathy of the two nations on the tragedy in Smolensk will be a turning point in overcoming common tragic past,” and pledged that Moscow “is prepared Warsaw transfer additional materials on Katyn, which has not been the Polish side “4Izvestiya. 2010. April 30 ..

    Transfer of the first 67 volumes of the 183-volume case was held in Moscow in May 2010 during the visit of the Acting President of Poland Komorowski. Were later prepared and given to the volume of the case, which had marked “for official use only.” But then it all seriously stalled and business volume, equipped with “classified”, did not pass. Are still not passed 35 volumes of the “Katyn case” 5Katynsky exam / / Vedomosti. 2012. April 17 ..Moreover, in April 2012, Moscow by the Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky made it clear that nothing is going to pass the Poles, “because the commission to declassify and was no decision to lift the neck” 6Moskva gave Warsaw almost all volumes of Katyn case ( Press Conference in S. Fridinsky Itar-Tass) / / Site of the “United Russia»: -katyni /.

    The actions of the Russian side was originally a serious flaw. After all, it is logical to complete the transfer of any investigation of the cases begin with the outcome, which accumulates all the major findings of the investigation and concludes the case. Here everything is turned inside out. Gave the most harmless and insignificant volumes of transmission and brought all the key materials. Is this legal and civilized approach?

    It turns out that the most important and legally significant material still unknown to the Polish side. Probably lies in the important task of the Russian leadership, not to give in Poland legally relevant and have probative documents, and to accept responsibility for the Katyn Massacre in name only. What is the status on this subject adopted declarations? TASS published in print April 14, 1990, and the statement of the State Duma of the Russian Federation dated 26 November 2010, and with it, and evaluate the Katyn crime, expressed in the recent statements of Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin – certainly are official documents and have political importance. But all of these documents are not suitable for the court in the case of the necessity of proof of guilt of those who took the decision to execute, and when considering the rehabilitation of the victims of this crime.

    Russia’s population is so used (and accustomed authority) to prudent cynicism in international relations, which is devoid of even the slightest understanding of the importance and value of goodwill. That is experiencing a persistent distrust for selfless and noble gesture on the part of the surrounding states. And even worse, with bewilderment and disapproval accepts any acquiescence of his government in international affairs. As if it is a sign of weakness and even betrayal of the interests of the country. This ideology has grown a new constellation of Russian state bureaucracy. They have occupied the building of the presidential administration and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia, where decisions about foreign policy initiatives, produced the country’s course. According to their logic, the admission of guilt for the Katyn crime with the sustained claims to Russia from Poland, and then the other neighboring states that have something to show as historical grievances. Here, says the Kremlin bureaucracy vigilant, just give a reason, and they immediately go to ruin our country claims.

    Support for this position of the Russian leadership population completely assured. The people do not believe in the good intentions or their own government, or neighbors. Even their own government Russians perceive as hostile to them strength. If tomorrow the print in the newspapers that regularly raises the issue of Poland Katyn only to bring down the price of Russian gas – most Russians would believe immediately and unconditionally. For them, this government’s behavior is understandable and familiar. They are constantly faced with this in their own country, when the state neglects the fate of ordinary people, capitalizing on their patriotic feelings.

    In the hearts of Russian statesmen and patriots today are fighting two opposing trends. On the one hand, the absolute rejection of any condemnation of the Soviet experience and the socialist past and dislike of the modern Russian political system and its leaders. On the other – hot support any initiative of President Putin aimed at confrontation and military confrontation with the West. And I must say, the Russian leadership skillfully uses this contradiction.

    In the “Katyn case” the Kremlin is playing a double game. For external release political declarations and the fault of Stalin’s leadership in the massacre of Polish citizens in 1940. And the country indulges nostalgic idealization of the socialist past and prevents proliferating speculation about that, they say, all is not clear in the story of the crime, and suddenly all the Germans are guilty? Footy shaft of books and articles that cast doubt on the guilt of Stalin and the NKVD Katyn Massacre and to shift responsibility to the Germans – has reached unprecedented heights. If previously had confined few marginal publications, over the past two years, articles, sowing doubt in the mind, there were a very respectable and having wide circulation and audience publications – journal “Expert” 7Internet publishing: Prudnikova E. Boring truth of Katyn / / Expert. 2012. April 17., The newspaper “Komsomolskaya Pravda” 8Zhukov Yu executions in Katyn – doubts remain / / Komsomolskaya Pravda. 2011. March 23. “Krasnaya Zvezda” 9Internet publishing: Obolensky K. Injury Katyn / / Red Star. 2012. 17, April 24. 10, 17, May 24. “Moskovskaya Pravda” 10Kotlyar E. Katyn – the bitterness of my soul / / Moscow truth. 2010. May 27 .. Their authors are willing to write about the “wounds”, and the “bitterness of soul” to convince the reader in his compassion to the families of those killed Poles, but then pulled out into the light and repeat the various fakes. Gradually, the Russian population is confusing and he inspired the idea that foreign policy admission of guilt is not so important, and the whole truth in this matter will never be known …

    I must say that for stable doubt the stage was set for a long time. The post-war period and until 1990 the Soviet population instills the idea that the Poles at Katyn shot by the Germans. This was done through direct and promotional claims, and with a sly substitution of the subject. It is no accident of 619 burned during the German occupation of Belarus villages was selected a small village near Minsk Khatyn device there memorial. Consonance of names was intended to supplant the notion of “Katyn” and all that it stood for. In 1969, the memorial was opened in Khatyn and became an obligatory place to visit for a patriotic tourism. In the advertising business a trick called “confusingly similar to.” Such substitution object sustain this in the mass consciousness of the Soviet people of German guilt for the massacre in Katyn Khatyn, on a subconscious level.

    Another no less effective counter-propaganda line of the Kremlin – the artificial linking theme of the tragic history of the Katyn stay captured Red Army prisoners in Poland in 1920, where many of them died from the harsh conditions and epidemics. Here observed substitution of concepts, and outright falsification, up to overestimate the number of deaths in a few times. Russian government officials in public statements do both. Thus, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of Russia, Mikhail Margelov indignantly writes in a major newspaper: “We are forced to repent for Stalin, why Poland does not repent for Pilsudski, in which, according to Russian historians, were shot and tortured to 80,000 Red ? And no apologies from Warsaw! “11. That’s it, simple and easy to understand – “shot and tortured!” So, some Russian historians strongly typed Margelov misleading.

    The reason is simple. Historical science in Russia is now ready to serve ideological power. Without any evidence, historians can easily attributed to the Soviet leadership model 1940 motive of revenge for the Polish Red Army prisoners of 1920. Such unproven scheme gets even college textbooks. For example, in being subject to serious scientific criticism textbook for students of the History Department of Moscow State University makes it clear that “Katyn” – a kind of “reverse crime” Stalinist regime “12Barsenkov AS, AI Vdovin History of Russia. 1917-2009. 3rd ed. Moscow, 2010. 273 S. .. Meanwhile, what were the motives of Stalin, you can see the reasoning, clearly set out in the document of the NKVD (Beria’s letter number 794 / B from March 1940), and the question of future executions.In this letter, Beria puts special emphasis on the class composition of the shot to be Polish citizens (officers, bureaucrats, industrialists, landowners), and noted that “they are all hardened, incorrigible enemies of Soviet power” and are waiting for the release, “to have the opportunity to be actively involved in the fight against Soviet power “13Katyn. Prisoners of undeclared war. Documents and Materials / under. Ed. RG Pikhoya, A. Geyshtora, comp. NS Lebedev, NA Petrosova, B. Voschinsky, V. Matersky. Moscow, 1997. Pp. 385-388 .. That is at the heart of this – a clear class approach, which was determined during the repression of the so-called “Kulak operation” of the NKVD in 1937-1938. In this sense, “Katyn” was the same kind of “social cleansing” and the logical extension of the Great Terror of 1937, distributed in 1939-1941. on the population of the Soviet Union occupied Polish territories in order to destroy the “class alien” people and the suppression of any possible resistance to Sovietization.

    Did Stalin of those killed in 1920 in Poland, Red Army? Of course, only three years before, and not so much about those who died and those who have had the misfortune to go back to the USSR from captivity. Then, in 1937, as part of the “Polish operation” NKVD repression was unleashed on all “suspicious for Polish espionage” and among them were former Red Army passed through the Polish lagerya14Petrov NV, AB Roginsky “Polish operation” NKVD 1937-1938. / / Historical collections of “Memorial”. No. 1 (“The repressions against Poles and Polish citizens”).Moscow, 1997. Pp. 27 .. The question is, why would it Stalin revenge for Poles caught in Polish captured Soviet soldiers, when in 1937 the Soviet Union finished off those who survived and came back?

    Today the history of Russia’s decision “Katyn issue” and the current state of affairs – a very important indicator. It is an indicator of maturity of the Russian state system, showing how it is democratic, transparent, and to what extent is based on the law. It is an indicator of civil society in Russia, which indicates how well public organizations can fight for the declassification of materials “Katyn case” and to seek recovery of victims. This indicator wealthy Russian historical science, where you can see how and in what manner a historical community gives and explains this event in the works and publications. Alas, this test of maturity, openness, adherence to the law and scientific consistency of Russia failed.

    Today the Kremlin in an unenviable situation. Whatever action taken – loss. Open a case file number 159 – and all will become clear legal and ideological feebleness of the Russian state and its inability and the inability to overcome the bitter legacy of totalitarianism. Hide and close the remaining 35 volumes nerassekrechennymi summarizing the case and the decision to refuse to rehabilitate shot in 1940, Polish citizens – and it becomes obvious confrontational, illegal and anti-European course of development of modern Russia. And while the Kremlin at a crossroads. Balance between these two and the dreams of the noise around the Katyn itself somehow faded.Whether those dreams come true? Hardly.

    Katyn issue and its solution are today not only in the plane of the Russian-Polish relations. Now it is the relationship between Russia and Europe, and the Kremlin’s willingness to make a concrete step in to put an end to the “Katyn case” would mean willingness to draw a legal line under the Soviet past. Well, by and large determine the choice of priorities and direction of the further political development.


    1 thought on “The Truth of the Gulag”

    1. What could be of interest, concerning the Katyn executions, was that those prisoners had then, a weak legal human right position. Were they POWs, there was no state of war between Poland and USSR, (Poland forget to declare) and the Polish state, was had no control of their own territory, because the Polish government/Beck/Rydz left for exile in Paris/London.

      Due to: Statiev, 2009 (Soviet counterinsurgency in the western borderlands) , there wasn´t just he Polish elite. Most of the victims, were, polish wardens, policemen, border-guards, etc., those probably didn´t want to cooperate with the NKVD, by no means. Not all Polish prisoners were thereby shot.

      Due to Haslam (The Soviet union´s cold war), this people were the ones, that had for the Soviet´s been a menace since 1920´s Polish-Russian war, and during the pro-German policy, (pact) followed by Poland since 1934, when Hitler cheated the Poles, to support German rearmament, against Germa´s support for the Polish minority-policy in the East, and against the Polish Jews. 200.000 Poles settled in all the big estates in the Belarus/ Ukraine-areas captured by the Poles, 1920, nothing was left for the natives, all schools were shut, and ” polonished”.

      If it was a revenge for those Russian, Red armymen that died as Polish POWs, 1920/21, some 60.000 by typhus etc., Stalin´s warfare, it´s a bit far-fetched.

      It could be, some reaction of the Polish troops,(brigade) participating in the West´s invasion in Norway, of April/May/June 1940, to move over Sweden, to help Finland,
      that war ended the 13th of March, 1940. This Polish troops, was deployed inNorthern Norway against the Soviet border. Probably this Western/Polish troops, aimed at attacking Sweden, to take the iron-fields in the North, and closed the Luleå city ore- harbor, by that doing exact what the Poles, denied the Red army, in the 1939 Paris/ London/Moscow- negotiations. Deploy – and stay behind ! The Finns demanded to use some Polish destroyers, in Britain, to strike against Petsamo/Pechenga-area, together
      with France.

      Do you know anybode who could have stopped the Bush/Blair war against Iraq 2003 ?
      No, you don´t and it was based on lies, and was unlawful. (And Poland participated, with some other U.S. lackeys, of today.) Not even the Russians could do that, the same problem with the 1939 aggressor, Hitler, and then he attacked country neighbor to Russia. So Russia can´t be blamed of 1939, due to present standards, concerning Iraq.
      If some nation decids to attack, another Iran/Iraq/ name it…no one can prevent that, (only Russia, then, as usual) (Hitler couldn´t prevent Stalin from attacking Finland 1939,
      or the Baltic States 1940, biting the sour apple, but pretended neutral.)

      The same time when the Katyn-victims , was discovered, in April 1943, the Polish Jews in Warzaw made their rebellion against Wehrmacht/SS, The only Ghetto that made arm-ed resistance. The Poles Armija Krajowa, didn´t support them with any guns, “Jews-Communist-Traitor” ! , was the Armija Krajowas message, or ” Let the Krauts killing the Kikes ! ” Outside the Ghetto, Polish children in a carousel, enjoyed themselves, celeb-rating the Catholic Eastern, when the massacres of the ´Jews, went on. (Kazimiera Ing-dahl. ” Icke helt och hållet skall jag dö “/Carlsson 2013/ Dagens Nyheter. 12.4.2013.rec. Katrine Kielos)

      The man responsible for the massacre of the Warzaw Jews,CiC, for the whole SS police in Poland, Obergruppenführer ,Friedrich W. Krüger, (together with SS-major Jürgen Stroop ) was later taking, 1943, command over the WaffenSS 6th Division, based in Finland, against the Sovietunion, and in the north of Finland, General der Artillerie, the Austrian Franz Böhme, the hangman from Serbia 1941, awarded with Finnish Freedom Cross, 1943, later German Highest commander in Norway, 1945, listed for Nürnberg.

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