Controversial plaque installed in Katyn, Russia
PR dla Zagranicy
A controversial plaque has appeared next to Polish graves in Russia, suggesting that Red Army soldiers held captive by Poles during the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) suffered inhumane conditions and 75,000 of them did not return home.
Polish Cemetery in Katyn. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/Kapsuglan.
The plaque is located a few dozen metres away from the mass graves of some 4,500 Polish victims of the Katyn massacre of 1940.
According to the plaque, some 175,000 Red Army soldiers were taken captive in the Polish-Soviet War, but 75,000 did not return home.
“These figures are false and the fact that the plaque was placed in the cemetery in Katyn is outrageous,” said Aleksandr Gurjanov of Memorial, a Russian historical and civil rights association.
The plaque was installed by the Russian Military-Historic Association which is headed by Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky.
Medinsky has in past referred to POW camps used by Poles in the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1921) as “concentration camps”.
Meanwhile, according to Vladislav Kononov of the Russian Military-Historical Association, the plaque announces the establishment of an exhibition centre, which is to be built by the end of the year.
Following the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939, thousands of Polish officers were deported to camps in the Soviet Union.
Some 22,000 Poles – chiefly officers and reserve officers – were executed in April 1940 by the NKVD, a forerunner of the Soviet Union's secret police organisation the KGB.
The killings took place at various points across the then Soviet Union, among them the Katyn Forest. The site, today in western Russia, is where over 4,400 Poles were buried in mass graves, each victim having been shot in the back of the head. (vb/pk)