The Truth of the Gulag

15-04-2013, by Nikita Petrov,

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.

Historiker wegen Forschung zu Russland-Deutschen angeklagt

24-11-2011, ed. Der Standard

Russische Staatsanwaltschaft argumentiert mit Verstößen gegen das Persönlichkeitsrecht

Moskau – Wegen seiner Forschungsarbeit über das Schicksal von Russland-Deutschen unter Sowjetdiktator Josef Stalin hat die russische Staatsanwaltschaft eine Verurteilung des Historikers Michail Suprun gefordert. Der Wissenschaftler habe mit seiner Datensammlung für das Deutsche Rote Kreuz in München und den Historischen Forschungsverein der Deutschen aus Russland mit Sitz in Nürnberg gegen russisches Persönlichkeitsrecht verstoßen. Suprun solle deshalb zu einer Geldstrafe von umgerechnet 3.600 Euro verurteilt werden, teilte die Staatsanwaltschaft in Archangelsk im Norden Russlands am Freitag nach Angaben der Agentur Interfax mit. >More

We are appealing to the UN and the EU humanitarian agencies to help African refugees

We are appealing to the UN and the EU humanitarian agencies to help African refugees

Sunday, October 18, 2011. 
The situation of the sub-Saharan refugees is becoming increasingly desperate: in Sudan, Egypt, Libya and all the other countries they are forced to take refuge in, in the hope of later reaching a country where they can apply for international protection or political asylum. The United Nations are playing an important role, particularly when it comes to setting up refugee camps. However, much more needs to be done and the interventions are not effective enough against these serious humanitarian tragedies. What is more, the UN and the EU institutions are not working alongside human rights defenders – except in rare cases – but rather with charities and humanitarian associations closely linked to governments, or too large to take completely independent and courageous steps. For years EveryOne Group has been appealing to the UN and the EU to set up a network of associations that could save lives and address the major challenges of civilization. We are not giving up. Here are the most recent appeals we have sent – alongside other humanitarian organizations – to the UN High Commissioners, the European Commissioner for Human Rights and other international humanitarian organizations. We are talking about serious cases, but where it is possible to avoid injustice and the killing of innocent people. We have also provided international authorities with the full names, mobile phone numbers and geographical references of both victims and perpetrators. We know that in some cases the High Commissioners and the European Commissioner are taking action to save the people reported by us. In other cases, unfortunately, nothing has not been done to prevent injustice and unfair treatment. However, we have great confidence in Mr. Guterres,  Mrs. Pillay, and Mr. Hammarberg. We are appealing to them to make a further effort to emerge from this bleak period together, where the lives of refugees, the marginalized and the poor seem of little importance. > More

Medvedev denounces Stalin for « mass crimes against the Russian people »

08-05-2010, by Tony Halpin, ed. TimesOnLine

“The Great Patriotic War was won by our people, not by Stalin or even the generals,” Mr Medvedev said. “Their role was undoubtedly very serious but, at the same time, the people won the war at the cost of great efforts and a huge number of lives.

“Stalin committed mass crimes against the people. And despite the fact that he worked a lot, despite the fact that under his leadership the country achieved successes, what was done to his own people cannot be forgiven.” -> More

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Game Changer – FSB’s Surprising New Information About The Fate of Swedish Diplomat Raoul Wallenberg

05-05-2010, by Susanne Berger and Vadim Birstein, ed. ETC

Since 2001, Dr. Vadim Birstein  and Susanne Berger have maintained a regular exchange with the archives of the Russian Federal Security Services (FSB) about still pending questions in the case of Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg who disappeared in the Soviet Union in 1945. For decades Soviet and later Russian authorities have claimed that Wallenberg died in Lubyanka prison in Moscow on July 17, 1947.  The most recent discussions focused mainly on documentation that remains heavily censored. Among this material are the interrogation registers for Lubyanka prison for 1947. This past November, FSB archivists stated that they now believe that a Prisoner No. 7 who was interrogated on July 23, 1947, « with great likehood » was Raoul Wallenberg. If true, it would mark the first time Russian officials have publicly admitted that all previous statements about Wallenberg’s fate were incorrect.

The new information provided by the FSB Archives in November 2009  is two things for sure: Utterly surprising and at the same time maddeningly incomplete. People have repeatedly asked us: What difference do six days make? What does it matter that, according to FSB archivists, Raoul Wallenberg may have been alive six days after July 17, 1947, the day that Soviet and Russian authorities for five decades have claimed to be  his almost certain death date?

Well, if indeed confirmed, it matters quite a bit. Yes, the  revelations may ultimately turn out to postpone Wallenberg’s presumed death only by six days, but they also potentially cast the case in a whole new light.

For one, it opens up the conversation about Wallenberg’s fate that has been essentially dormant since 2001, when the Swedish-Russian Working Group, that had investigated the Wallenberg question from 1991-2001, presented its final report. While the Swedish side stressed that plenty of unresolved questions remained about what exactly happened to Raoul Wallenberg in Soviet captivity, especially when and how he had actually died, the Russian side took a much stronger position: Circumstantial evidence, it declared in its  conclusions,  left no other possibility than that of Wallenberg’s death  on July 17, 1947. The only concession made by Russian officials at the time was that Wallenberg death was in all likelihood not attributable to natural causes, but to secret execution.

The new information provided by FSB now offers important additional avenues of exploration, in part by elucidating older facts in the case.  As prisoners under official investigation, Prisoner No. 7 (Wallenberg?) and Vilmos Langfelder, Wallenberg’s driver were subjected to 16 long hours of interrogation on July 23, 1944. Langfelder claimed his personal possessions, including his money, the next day. So far we do not know if Prisoner No. 7 (Wallenberg?) did the same. This would be a most important indication that he too survived.

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Begär klarläggande

05-05-2010, by Susanne Berger,

Under decennier har sovjetiska och därefter ryska myndigheter hävdat att Raoul Wallenberg dog i Lubjankafängelset i Moskva den 17 juli 1947. Men i november 2009 uppgav arkivarier vid den ryska Federala säkerhetstjänstens FSB att de nu tror att en Fånge nummer 7 som förhördes den 23 juli 1947 ”med stor sannolikhet” var Raoul Wallenberg.

Sedan 2001 har vi, dr Vadim Birstein och Susanne Berger, regelbundet korresponderat med den ryska Federala säkerhetstjänstens (FSB) arkiv angående frågor som ännu är ouppklarade när det gäller den svenske diplomaten Raoul Wallenberg, som försvann i Sovjetunionen år 1945.
De nya uppgifter som FSB:s arkiv förmedlade i november 2009 kan åtminstone sägas vara två saker: ytterst förvånande men också högst ofullständiga.

Vad spelar det då egentligen för roll att Raoul Wallenberg, enligt arkivarierna vid FSB, kan ha varit i livet sex dagar efter den 17 juli 1947, det datum som sovjetiska och ryska myndigheter under femtio år har angett som hans förmodade dödsdag?

Om saken verkligen skulle kunna bekräftas betyder det faktiskt en hel del. Visserligen skulle kanske dessa avslöjanden i sista hand bara senarelägga Wallenbergs död med sex dagar, men de skulle också kunna kasta helt nytt ljus över fallet.

För det första öppnar det åter upp den diskussion om Wallenbergs öde som mer eller mindre legat i dvala sedan 2001, då den svensk-ryska arbetsgrupp som undersökt Wallenbergfrågan under perioden 1991–2001 presenterade sin slutrapport. De nya detaljer som förmedlats av FSB gör det möjligt att närma sig fallet utifrån andra viktiga utgångspunkter, bland annat därför att de klargör en del tidigare fakta.-> More

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Raoul Wallenberg and his killers

04-04-2010, by Vladimir Abarinov, ed. Svobodanews

Google translation from russia. Rearranged by Maribeth Barber.

Raoul Wallenberg. Was prisoner number 7?

Radio Liberty published a letter from independent researchers Vadim Birstein and Suzanne Berger, a qualitatively new turn in the case of Raoul Wallenberg. Additional details of the case – in a conversation with one of the authors of the letter Vadim Birstein.

Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg saved the lives of tens of thousands of Hungarian Jews in 1944 by issuing  protective passports to so-called « Swedish subjects » awaiting repatriation to their homeland. After the capture of Budapest by Soviet troops, he was arrested and taken to Moscow, where he was kept in the MGB inner prison in the Lubyanka. For many years, Stockholm unsuccessfully tried to discover the prisoner’s fate. In February 1957, Moscow officially made it known to the Swedish government that Wallenberg had died of a myocardial infarction on July 17, 1947, in Lubyanka Prison.  In support of this version the Soviets presented a document–a report from the chief of the medical unit inside the prison, Smoltsov, addressed to Interior Minister Viktor Abakumov. This version did not satisfy the Wallenberg family, which holds high social status in Sweden.

In 1990, Vadim Birstein and current chairman of the Memorial Society, Arseny Roginsky, gained access to some of the archival collections of the MGB-KGB. In April 1991, I, as editor of the international department of the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, published an article by Vadim Birstein « The Mystery of the Prisoner number seven« , which presented the preliminary results of the study and questioned the official Soviet account of Wallenberg’s death. Subsequently, Moscow and Stockholm agreed to continue the work of the bilateral commission. However, in 2001, the Commission concluded that the search ended in a stalemate, and ceased to exist.

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31-03-2010, by S. Berger, V. Birstein,

Dear Mrs. von Dardel, dear Marie and Louise,

We are writing to you to share the information enclosed below. As you know, over the last few years, we have continued an often slow but productive exchange with the archives of the Federal Security Services of the Russian Federation (FSB). The latest round of discussions, in November 2009, have yielded a resounding surprise. In a formal reply to several questions regarding Russian prison interrogation registers from 1947, FSB archivists stated that « with great likelihood » Raoul Wallenberg became « Prisoner No. 7″ in Moscow’s Lubyanka prison some time that year. The archivists added that « Prisoner No. 7 » had been interrogated on July 23, 1947 which – if confirmed – would mean that the Soviet era claims of Wallenberg’s death on July 17, 1947 are no longer valid. Never before have Russian officials stated the possibility of Raoul Wallenberg’s survival past this date so explicitly.

The Swedish Ambassador, Tomas Bertelman, and his staff responded quickly to the new information. In a letter addressed to Yuri Trambitsky, head of the FSB’s Central Archive, dated December 9, 2009, Bertelman asked Mr. Trambitsky for clarification, writing that « if this hypothesis is confirmed, it will be . . . almost sensational. »

We have also sent a detailed follow-up request to FSB officials, asking for more precise information about « Prisoner No. 7, » including procedural details pertaining to the assignment of numbers to prisoners under investigation, as well as possible steps to be taken to verify « Prisoner No. 7’s » identity and his fate after July 23, 1947. So far, Russian officials have not presented any additional information for their claim that « Prisoner No. 7 » could be identical with Raoul Wallenberg.

We stress that an in-depth verification of the new information has to take place before any final conclusions can be drawn, but if indeed confirmed, the news is the most interesting to come out of Russian archives in over fifty years. > More

In response to those who killed

24-03-2010, by Izvestia, ed. Izvestia

Google translation from russia. Rearranged by Maribeth Barber.

Swedish businessman and diplomat Raoul Gustav Wallenberg was born on August 4, 1912 to one of the wealthiest families in Sweden. He studied at the University of Michigan (USA), where he received his diploma in architecture. In 1936 he went to work in Haifa (then part of Palestine).

He returned to Sweden in 1939 and became a partner in Kalman Lauer’s Hungarian export-import firm. In the summer of 1944, as the first secretary of the Swedish Mission, Wallenberg went to Budapest. Hungary, in March 1944, had been invaded by German troops. Taking advantage of his diplomatic immunity, Wallenberg saved, according to various sources, from 20 to 100 thousand Jews by issuing them Swedish passports. He placed them in specially purchased houses that were proclaimed as Swedish property, and thus were protected by international law. He also bribed German and Hungarian officials, promising ample supplies in exchange for Jewish lives.

On January 13, 1945, Wallenberg was arrested by the Soviet patrol in the International Red Cross building in Budapest. (In another version of the story, he came to the location of the 151st Infantry Division and asked for a meeting with the Soviet command. According to a third account, he was arrested at his apartment.) After being questioned, he was sent under guard to Debrecen for a meeting with the commander of the Second Ukrainian Front, Rodion Malinovsky, who wanted to speak with him. On the road he was again detained and arrested by military intelligence (in another account, he was sent to the headquarters of a group of Soviet troops after being arrested in his apartment).

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Moscow plans posters honoring Stalin

23-03-2010, by Jim Heintz, ed. Associated Press Writer

« ….MOSCOW – Posters of Josef Stalin may be put up in Moscow for the first time in decades as part of the May 9 observance of Victory Day — the annual celebration of the defeat of Nazi Germany.
This year, the 65th anniversary of Germany’s defeat, a contingent of U.S. troops is expected to march on Red Square, a striking sign of vaunted « reset » of American-Russian relations.
But Moscow city authorities may be preparing a less-welcome kind of reset with the posters, an honor denied since the Soviet dictator’s crimes were publicly exposed more than half-a-century ago.
The poster proposal for Victory Day, Russia’s most emotionally charged secular holiday, has raised a storm of controversy in state-controlled media and once again opened the never-healed wound of Russia’s Soviet past.
The debate comes amid rising concern that Stalin is being quietly rehabilitated as memories of his reign of terror fade. Last year, old Soviet national anthem lyrics praising Stalin were restored to a rotunda in a Moscow subway station » -> More
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