Putin Observes Anniversary of Katyn Killings - NYTimes.com: "Some Russian leaders have continued Soviet responsibility for the murders, even though Russia released archival documents in 1992 showing that Stalin's politbureau ordered the massacre in March 1940. Russia’s Communist Party chastised Mr. Putin on Wednesday for “going to Katyn to apologize.” In a statement on its Web site, the party said, “You can apologize as much as you want about the so-called Soviet guilt, but no one can hide the fact of German responsibility for the shootings of Polish soldiers.”"
Well, Putin did not give an official apology and said that the Russian people were not at fault. It was 22,000 people that vanished. It seems like this is not significant compared to the 25m Russians that died during the war. Hitler did not factor in such a sacrifice.
Not so well known in Sweden and perhaps most of all a Polish tragedy, the massacre was first blamed on Germany because the Soviets were allies with the West against them, then later allies against Japan. Today Russia has laid formal evidence on the table and Putin's gesture of going there might have new meanings in the present axis of Germany-Poland-Russia described by Joschka Fischer, a former foreign minister of Germany, recently in an article on DN.se. Such a formation is going to put divisional stress on Poland. There will be German friends and Russian friends and no friends at all.
So, it is a little hard to see whether Vladimir Putin is mildly remorseful towards Poland or if he is signalling responsibility towards Germany. In the best of worlds it could be a sign of rapprochement between Poland and Russia that the old Communists apparently tease Putin about with their reference to Canossa. In the worst case Putin is just saying I can go this far but not longer.
The gesture might, however, be enough to smoothen the Russia-EU ties which are often hampered by Polish-Russian animosities. It follows the September 2009 condemnation of the Nazi-Soviet pact that led to the partition of Poland in 1939. Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, has also indicated the importance of good ties with their neighbor Poland. Studio Ett on the Swedish public radio claims that Polish media saw the meeting between Putin and Tusk, the Polish PM, as a Polish propaganda victory.
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