Russian MPs’ statement condemns Stalin’s crimes
On November 26, the Russian State Duma (the Parliament’s lower house) adopted a statement “On the Katyn tragedy and its victims”. This is Russia’s first document that officially assesses the mass shooting of Polish nationals in the Katyn forest in western Russia, which was carried out by Soviet secret police in 1940 an act of lawlessness of a totalitarian regime. Russian MPs expressed deep condolences to the families and friends of the Katyn martyrs
The Chairman of the Duma’s committee for international affairs Konstantin Kosachyov is convinced that the adoption of this document was absolutely logical.
“For the State Duma, this week was marked by historical themes. Several days ago, we discussed the outcomes of WWII and the Nuremberg trial. During this discussion, the Communist party faction put forward an interpretation of the Katyn events which, in my opinion, is totally false. This false interpretation moved us to adopt a statement in which we express our own assessment of the Katyn tragedy.”
“It is up to scientists to further investigate the events of these old days. However, a moral assessment of this tragedy can already be given today – and it must be given. It is in both Russia’s and Poland’s interests to dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s. The two countries have quite a number of joint projects – but they can be efficient only if we stop telling lies about the crimes of Stalin’s regime.”
“The statement that was adopted by the Duma openly recognizes that the massacre in Katyn was initiated by the then Soviet top leaders, including Stalin himself. This is a dry fact which can be confirmed with documents from secret archives of the Soviet Communist party which are no longer secret now – and it is only strange that today’s heirs of Soviet Communists don’t want to recognize this fact. However, the time of the Communists is in the past for good – whether they like this or not.”
The editor-in-chief of the magazine “Rossiya v Globalnoy Politike” (“Russia in Global Politics”) Fyodor Lukyanov expresses his view.
“The Duma’s statement on Katyn is not accidental. It is an official confirmation of a real warming in Russo-Polish relations.”
“The first signals of Russia’s resolve to have warmer relations with Poland appeared a little more than a year ago – and they were gladly met by Poles. Vladimir Putin’s visit to Poland on the 70th anniversary of German Nazis’ invasion of Poland was another sign of this warming. During that visit, Mr. Putin invited Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk to take part in the ceremony devoted to the 70th anniversary of the Katyn tragedy. Mr. Tusk accepted this invitation, and the two Prime Ministers commemorated the martyrs in the forest which saw the gory tragedy 70 years ago.”
“In April 2010, the world was shocked by another tragedy in the same forest – the crash of an airplane with Poland’s top statesmen, including President Lech Kaczyński. After that, President Medvedev flew to Krakow to take part in the funeral of Lech and Maria Kaczyńskis. I believe that Poles appreciate this Mr. Medvedev’s action.”
“Now, the Russian Duma has adopted a document that officially names Stalin and his clique as the main initiators of the Katyn massacre. This declaration had been long awaited by Poland.”
“Recently, the incumbent Polish President Bronisław Komorowski has said that it would be naive to believe that all the former misunderstandings between Poland and Russia can be dispelled with a flick of the fingers, but now, the dialogue between the two countries is developing at a speed that seemed unreal only a couple of years ago. This is the only normal way of relations.”
In December, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will pay an official visit to Poland.