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Russian experts propose ways of rehabilitating victims of Katyn massacre

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Oct. 17, 2011, 4:47 p.m. | Russia and former Soviet Union — by Interfax-Ukraine

The "Katyn crime" is a term which stands for the execution in April and May 1940 of almost 22,000 Polish citizens, held in the NKVD's camps and prisons.

Russian experts have prepared proposals on how the problem of rehabilitating the victims of the execution of Polish POWs in Katyn by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, known as the "Katyn crime," could be resolved. "An interagency working group under the aegis of our commission, has mulled over various possible ways of rehabilitating the Polish nationals and drafted recommendations, which have been submitted to the presidential administration, where they have been discussed and where this work is continuing," said Mikhail Mityukov, the head of the Kremlin Commission for Rehabilitating Victims of Political Reprisals.

"Of the 183 volumes of the Katyn criminal case, 148 have been declassified," Mityukov told the Presidential Human Rights Council on Monday.

Polish lawyers argue that the Polish citizens, executed in Katyn, should be rehabilitated "by list" and they insist that the "Katyn crime" be re-qualified, an effective investigation carried out and all materials of the case declassified.

Russian Ambassador to Warsaw Alexander Alexeyev said in February that work was on to find a formula for rehabilitating the Polish officers, executed in Katyn. "I am sure a formula will be found that will be accepted by the relatives and will not be at variance with the Russian legislation," the diplomat told Interfax.

The "Katyn crime" is a term which stands for the execution in April and May 1940 of almost 22,000 Polish citizens, held in the NKVD's camps and prisons. The Soviet Union did not recognize for decades that the Poles were executed by NKVD people.

The Main Military Prosecutor's Office investigated the Katyn case, but closed it in 2004 in a secret resolution.

In June 2010, Chief Military Prosecutor Sergei Fridinsky told the press that he did not see reasons for restarting the probe into the Katyn case and for recognizing the executed Poles as victims of reprisals.

The State Duma at the end of last year passed a special statement which recognizes that the execution of Polish officers in Katyn was ordered directly by Josef Stalin and other Soviet officials.

Rights campaigners say that the rehabilitation of the Polish POWs, executed in the Soviet Union in 1940, will draw a line under the Katyn case.

"We in Russia need a solution of the Katyn problem in the first place. It is our internal problem," Alexander Guryanov, the director of the Memorial human rights society's Polish program, earlier told Interfax.
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