Posted 12 апреля 2023,, 09:06

Published 12 апреля 2023,, 09:06

Modified 12 апреля 2023,, 11:03

Updated 12 апреля 2023,, 11:03

Question of the day: who shot the Polish officers in Katyn?

Question of the day: who shot the Polish officers in Katyn?

12 апреля 2023, 09:06
The Russian state media again raised the question of the involvement in the shooting of more than 20 thousand Polish prisoners of war in the Smolensk village of Katyn in the autumn of 1941.

Russian historians and human rights activists were concerned about the publication in the state agency RIA Novosti that allegedly, according to new data, Polish officers in Katyn were shot not by Stalinist turntables, but by German Nazis, as it was claimed in Soviet times: "It's not us, but the Germans" — this was the official version until 1990.

Katyn has become a bargaining chip in a political game

Meanwhile, back in 2010, the State Duma recognized this execution as a crime of the Stalinist regime.

Now the agency reports that the Germans were involved in these events back in 1945, a participant in the burial of the murdered Poles, later a fighter of the German battalion "special purpose" Arnaud Dure, testified, saying: "During the day we slept, and in the evening and at night we worked – we dug holes. SS units brought people in cars and dumped them into a moat 15-20 meters deep".

He also told how in 1943 he came home on vacation and saw a photo of this huge grave in the newspapers.

"Under the picture it was written that the Russians did all this. I told my mother that it wasn't the Russians who did it, but the Germans, but my mother didn't believe me", - Dure said.

Meanwhile, according to the Polish newspaper "Myśl Polska", Katyn is in the game against Russia: "On April 7, 2010, then Prime Minister Vladimir Putin laid wreaths and flowers at the Katyn Cemetery. He said: "In front of these graves, in front of people who come here to honor the memory of their loved ones, it would be hypocritical to say: "Let's forget everything." From a formal point of view, nothing has changed since 2010. It is not true that lies about Katyn are spreading in Russia.

The voices heard in various circles, mostly communist, denying the responsibility of the USSR is not the official position of the Russian authorities, but no one cares about it. Russia has disclosed documents on this issue, providing them to the Polish side, Russia has opened military cemeteries on its territory, including in Katyn. However, Katyn has become, unfortunately, a card in the game against modern Russia".

However, Russia does not remain in debt: in the summer of 2022, the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation decided to remove the Polish flag from the memorial dedicated to the Katyn shooting, justifying its decision by the fact that Russia and Poland are no longer in friendly relations, and the flags located nearby played the role of a unifying symbol between the countries. However, now, according to the Russian Federation, the Polish authorities have taken a hostile position.

Propaganda "forgot" to report that Dure had recanted his testimony

However, journalist Mikhail Edelstein does not agree with the revision of the Katyn case:

"So, RIA Novosti reported a sensational find - the testimony of a German soldier of the Second World War, Arnaud Dure, allegedly proving that the Poles in Katyn were shot by the Nazis, and not by NKVD officers.

In fact, Dure's testimony has been known exactly from the moment he spoke with them at the so-called Leningrad trial Dec 1945 - Jan 1946. The trial was open, and foreign journalists reported about Dure's interrogation at the same time. Now the St. Petersburg FSB has simply transferred the materials of the process to the Central State Administration of St. Petersburg.

The trial in Leningrad was held in parallel with the Nuremberg trial, where the Soviet side was going to push its version of the Katyn execution. Dure was prepared as a witness, but in the end it did not grow together. Here is what the authors of the long-standing book "Katyn syndrome in Soviet-Polish and Russian-Polish relations" write about this:

"Arnaud Dure, who shot people with a machine gun in several villages, escaped the death penalty because, answering leading questions from the prosecutor, he confirmed that he allegedly participated in the burial of 15-20 thousand Polish prisoners of war in Katyn. For this, the security authorities left the "eyewitness" alive (he received 15 years of hard labor), but still did not dare to use him as a witness in Nuremberg: he failed to properly play the role assigned to him. Dure gave absurd answers to many questions of the prosecutor and the court, which clearly exposed the false plan. For example, giving free rein to fantasy, he claimed that the Katyn forest is located in Poland, that the depth of the moat in which the Poles were buried was 15-20 m, that they reinforced the walls of the moat with tree branches, etc. Later, in a statement dated November 29, 1954, Dure retracted his testimony about his participation in the burial of Poles in Katyn and stated that he was forced to say so at the investigation".

In general, a little more illiteracy from Russian propaganda. A perfect trifle, but nevertheless".