I thank the organizers of this conference for the honor of inviting me to address you.
The true history of Soviet-Polish relations from 1939 to 1941 is very different from the false version promoted by Polish nationalists and by anticommunists everywhere.
I will speak briefly about the issue of Katyn.
As most of you know, I have now published two books on Katyn. My most recent, and most complete, book is Тайна катынского расстрела. Доказательства, решение (Тверь: Изд. Кормушкин, 2020), translated from English.
In this book, I examine all the evidence concerning the Katyn issue. Much of this evidence is contradictory. Some of it has to be falsification.
I discovered that ALL of the genuine evidence – the evidence that cannot be falsification – points to German, not Soviet, guilt in the mass murders of Polish prisoners known as the “Катынский расстрел”
It was the Germans – the Nazis – who planned and carried out the fabrication to blame Stalin and the Soviet leadership for shooting the Polish prisoners whom the Germans themselves had murdered.
However, the Nazis could never have convinced anyone without the help of the Polish Government-In-Exile, in London. If the Polish regime had not agreed to support the Nazis in blaming the Soviets, no one would have paid any attention to the German claim of Soviet guilt.
Likewise, if the Polish regime had said that the Germans were to blame – or even if they had said: “We do not know who is to blame” – no one would have believed the German claim of Soviet guilt.
Therefore, it is clear that from the beginning the Polish Government-in-Exile conspired with the Germans.
The Western Allies did not accept the German – Polish account until well after the end of the war, when the anticommunist Cold War had begun.
At some point before 1959, Nikita S. Khrushchev ordered that documents be forged that would blame Katyn on Stalin. Some documents from Khrushchev’s forgery plot have been preserved.
Ultimately, Khrushchev decided not to continue his plan to blame the Stalin leadership. He probably did so because Khrushchev himself was a member of the Politburo in the spring of 1940, so any plot to blame Stalin and his supporters would have also implicated Khrushchev himself.
However, some of the documents that Khrushchev had drafted were not destroyed, but were kept in a secret folder.
We know that Aleksandr Shelepin, Chairman of the KGB between 1959 and 1961, was convinced by the forged documents that Stalin had ordered the Poles to be shot. It appears that others in the Khrushchev-era Soviet leadership also believed this, though Khrushchev himself did not, of course.
Therefore, in 1988, when Gorbachev, Shevardnadze, and Falun decided to blame Stalin and Lavrentii Beria for Katyn, it is likely that they believed it.
However, they had no evidence. So they had more documents faked. These Gorbachev-era fakes were put into the same folder with the Khrushchev-era fakes. This folder was named «Закрытый пакет № 1» – “Closed Packet No.1.”
In the frenzy of accusations unleashed by Gorbachev against Stalin and the Stalin-era Soviet leadership, this folder of forgeries became the “evidence” that the Soviets had shot the Poles.
In 2010 the late Viktor Iliukhin, member of the Duma for the КПРФ, published documents and other materials that he claimed had been given to him by a member of the Gorbachev team who had fabricated the Gorbachev-era documents in “Closed Packet No. 1.”
At that time, it became clear to anyone who was interested in historical truth that neither of these document collections could be used to determine who was really guilty of shooting the Polish prisoners.
This was a blow against the anticommunist Polish nationalists, the Polish regime, and anticommunist, anti-Stalin forces within Russia such as the “Memorial” Society. These forces simply ignore the evidence Iliukhin published. So does the Russian government.
Meanwhile, more evidence has appeared since the mid-1990s that points to German guilt and/or to Soviet innocence. I studied all the evidence in my book. I will soon publish an article in and English-language academic journal that examines this newer evidence. When it is published, I will send it to my friends in Tver’. I hope they will translate it into Russian.
The conclusion is unequivocal: on the evidence, the Soviets cannot possibly have killed the Poles. Therefore, the Germans did.
For the details, I refer you to my book. I also refer you to a very perceptive review of my book by Олег Сдвижков, «Загадка Катынского расстрела» and another skillful and appreciative review by Vladimir L. Bobrov.
Despite all the evidence proving Soviet innocent at Katyn, the Polish government, along with anticommunist and anti-Stalin forces in the rest of the world, continue to blame Stalin and the Soviet leadership.
The Russian government also continues to blame Stalin and the Soviet Union.
But the evidence of Soviet innocence continues to grow. The recent excavations at Mednoe, sponsored by the Polish government and the “Memorial” Society, failed to find the bodies of the more than 6,200 Polish prisoners that are supposedly buried there.
This means that the testimony of the late NKVD officer Dmitry Stepanovich Tokarev (Дмитрий Степанович Токарёв) is false! Moreover, there are many problems with Tokarev’s testimony, which I discuss in my book. It is clear that Tokarev was threatened with some kind of punishment if he did not testify that the Soviets had shot the Poles.
In conclusion: the Russian government, together with the Polish regime and anticommunists worldwide, continue to falsely blame Stalin and the Soviet leadership of the mass murder of the Polish prisoners.
It is the citizens of Poland, perhaps more than anyone else, who have been most shamefully deceived about Katyn. The lie that the Polish prisoners were shot by the Soviets poisons the relationship between Russians and Poles. It helps the crypto-fascist Polish government fan hostility against Russia and friendliness towards NATO. In doing so, it endangers the security of all of Europe.
It is up to private citizens, such as yourselves, to wage the fight for historical truth. The Tver’-Mednoe organization is leading the way for the whole of Russia, and for the whole of the world, in this struggle.
I am very proud to play a small role in the struggle for historical truth concerning Katyn, and to stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends of Tver’.
Montclair State University, Montclair NJ USA
November 15, 2020