Russian Communists claim 'Nazis behind Katyn massacre'

20th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia's Communist Party said Wednesday there was "irrefutable" proof the Nazis were behind a wartime massacre of Polish officers, rejecting Moscow's recent admission Soviet forces were responsible.

About 22,000 Polish officers were executed by the NKVD Soviet secret police at Katyn, in western Russia, in 1940 and a number of other sites in a crime that long strained Moscow-Warsaw relations.

For decades, Moscow blamed the Katyn massacre on Nazi Germany, until Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev finally admitted in 1990 that the Polish officers had been executed by Stalin's NKVD secret police.

"There are irrefutable documents and material proof showing that the executions of Polish officers were not carried out by the NKVD in spring 1940 but Nazi occupation forces in autumn 1941," said a declaration signed by the the party's leader Gennady Zyuganov and posted on its website.

"We insist that the head of state orders a painstaking report into the falsification of documents," he added.

One document cited by historians as proof of Soviet guilt is a memorandum from Lavrenty Beria, the head of the NKVD, to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin proposing the thousands of Polish prisoners be shot.

The document is personally signed by Stalin.

But the Communists claimed that this document was "made up in the 1990s by the entourage of (former president Boris) Yeltsin"

Former Polish president Lech Kaczynski was heading to Katyn for a ceremony marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre when his plane crashed in April, killing all 96 people aboard.

The tragedy led to a warming of ties between Poland and Russia and President Dmitry Medvedev has emphasised that Soviet troops were responsible for the massacre.

"Our Communist party is trying to disprove the conclusion of the commission on the Katyn Case. Here I don't have a comment. I have already given my comment," he said at a meeting with Western security experts Wednesday

© 2010 AFP

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