Russia honours Polish director Wajda

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Russia has awarded the Order of Friendship to acclaimed Polish director Andrzej Wajda whose film about a 1940 Soviet massacre of Polish soldiers was banned for decades, the Kremlin said Tuesday.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev honoured four-time Oscar nominee Wajda, 84, for his cinematic contribution to Russian-Polish relations.

Wajda's 2007 film "Katyn" is based on the WWII massacre of thousands of Polish soldiers by Soviet forces in a forest in western Russia. Until 1990, Russia accused Nazi Germany of being responsible for the murders.

In his film, Wajda -- whose father was killed at Katyn -- points the finger at Soviet Russia, portraying how it brutally punished those who dared to doubt Stalin's authority.

The film by Wajda, who in 2000 won an honorary Oscar for his contribution to world cinema, was banned in Russia until the 70th anniversary of the massacre in April.

Even today, the Katyn massacre is a source of conflict between the two countries with the Polish government demanding that Russia hand over documents pertaining to its investigation into the mass murder.

But Russian and Polish relations have improved since the April plane crash death of Polish president Lech Kaczynski and other senior Polish officials as they travelled to attend a ceremony in memory of Katyn's victims.

© 2010 AFP

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