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SPK Logo-smOn November 26, 2010, the Soviet parliament admitted that Stalin was directly to blame for the Katyn massacre. We can only hope that all aspects of the Soviet Union's aggression of 1939-41 and 1944-89 and culpability in the atrocities committed during those years, will be as plainly admitted in the coming years.


It is said that "The victor writes the history books." This has certainly been true of the Soviet Union (and the Soviet-dominated Polish communist government). The Soviet version of World War Two history glorifies the Soviet triumph over Nazism but completely ignores Soviet culpability and atrocities. The current Russian government has inherited the old Soviet attitude toward its history and continues to deny, deflect and minimize blame. In turn, western politicians and historians have rarely scratched below the surface of the Soviet version of events. Insensitive officials in the United States have allowed the erection of a monument to the memory of the soldiers of the Red Army (West Hollywood, California) and a bust of Stalin in a D-Day memorial (Bedford, Virginia).

The members of the Polish Combatants' Association would like to make it perfectly clear that we bear no animosity toward the Russian people who have suffered greatly since 1917 and continue to suffer today. Our argument is only with the political machine that was the former Soviet Union, its leaders, and the elements of the current Russian government.

More than seventy years have passed since the Soviet invasion of Poland on September 17, 1939. The Polish veterans and survivors of the Soviet occupation of Poland (1939-1989) wish to put this history behind them, but they cannot. Until the current Russian government admits, and comes to terms with, the profound crimes against humanity committed by the Soviet government, the secret police (NKVD/KGB), the Red Army, and Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, during the course of the second World War, it would be an insult to the victims to let the matter rest.

Was the Soviet Union an ally of Canada during World War Two? Was the Soviet Union an ally of the West? Yes, in the sense that its armies fought the Germans on the eastern front from June, 1941 to May, 1945 (and saved a lot of Canadian lives in the process), but no on all other counts. Listen to the victims. They know the simple truth.

The Soviet Union:

Invaded Poland in September, 1939: for revenge for the loss to the Poles in the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-20; to spread communism; and to gain territory, labour for the gulags, and resources;

Was not a signatory to the Geneva Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war;

Was a willing and supportive ally of Germany until June 1941;

Also invaded Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland, Bessarabia and northern Bukovina;

Proceeded to murder and deport for slave labour, Polish citizens, immediately following the September 1939 invasion of Poland;

Instantly and easily switched sides and became an ally of the West after Germany attacked it in June, 1941;

Invaded Poland for a second time in 1944 on the way to Berlin;

Bullied the Western Powers into allowing it to keep Poland;

Plunged Poland into decades of Soviet domination; a period marked by police terror, poverty and despair, and always a relentless attack of lies and propaganda.

Was the Red Army the saviour of Europe? It kicked the Nazis out of eastern Europe. That is all.

At the start of World War Two, the Red Army was a brutal aggressor. Towards the end of World War Two, the Red Army liberated eastern Europe from the Nazis but by doing so, occupied eastern Europe on behalf of the Soviet Union. One oppressor was replaced by another. While we fully understand that hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of common soldiers were conscripted into the Red Army against their will, the Red Army unleashed a terror against the Polish population equal to that of the Wehrmacht. It was also the primary organ of subjugation by the Soviet Union for much of Europe and was always seen as an enemy occupying force.

The current Russian government, sadly, has continued the habitual lying, deflection of blame and intense, negative propaganda of the former communist regime.

While it acknowledges the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, which secretly divided Poland (and eastern Europe) between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, today's Russian government considers that pact to be just another treaty, of the type that came and went on a regular basis during the interwar years, despite the fact that it was signed, with specific short-term goals, on the eve of war.

Today's Russian government still does not accept blame for its role in starting World War Two, choosing instead to blame it on everyone else, including, amazingly, the Poles themselves. It does not accept that it annexed the Baltic countries against their will. It does not accept that it initiated war with Finland. And, it certainly does not accept the fact that its post-war Soviet dominated Polish government and Poland's post-war Soviet dominated educational and military institutions, plunged the country into decades of ignorance, terror, poverty and despair.

It must be remembered that the Soviet Union was never a true ally of the west. In fact, when the Red Army invaded Poland in September 1939, it was a full and willing ally of Nazi Germany, and was to remain so for almost two full years, until it itself was invaded by Germany in June, 1941. Furthermore, the Soviet Union was not a signatory to the Geneva Convention (on the treatment of prisoners of war) and so, during the invasion of Poland, the Red Army, without any constraints, humiliated, tortured and murdered many Polish POWs. During the subsequent twenty-two month period of occupation, the secret police (NKVD or KGB) took over and hundreds of thousands of civilians were murdered, mostly by the slow death of deportation to slave labour camps. The genocide was directed against the cream of Polish society in an attempt to crush all leadership potential.

Today's Russian government acknowledges the mass murders it committed at Katyn. However, it blames the secret police, not Stalin, and rather than admit that these men (and women) were slaughtered in one of the most unique genocidal massacres ever committed, it chooses to find the 21,000 or more Polish officers guilty of being spies and, therefore, justifiably executed.

Today's Russian government continues to contend that it saved Europe, that it liberated Poland. This is nonsense. The Soviet Union merely replaced a fascist terror with a communist one.

The Polish Combatants' Association will continue to defend the truth on behalf of all of the Polish victims of Soviet communism. There has been some thawing of Russian attitude in the wake of the April 10, 2010 Smolensk air crash tragedy, but it remains to be seen whether the Russian government will significantly and sincerely change its outlook in the long term.




























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