We must fight ‘distortion of history’: President Duda on Katyn crime

“For 80 years the victims and their families have never seen justice meted out for the Katyn crime,” Polish President Andrzej Duda said on Sunday in a statement published on social media. “I will demand that this case be settled before international courts” he announced, stressing that “this crime must be finally judged, and perpetrators named.”

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As the president emphasised, “the Katyn Massacre has come to be inextricably associated with the Smolensk Air Disaster whose 12th anniversary we commemorate today. The greatest tragedy in the post–war history of Poland.”

“Very much like in Katyn, in Smolensk the Polish elites lost their lives… Often they were different–minded, they came from different backgrounds, but what brought them together was their love of Poland and their wish to commemorate our compatriots murdered in Katyn,” he explained.

The unpunished crime

“In 1940, by the order of Joseph Stalin, almost 22 thousand of our compatriots were brutally murdered: soldiers of the Polish Army, policemen, border guards, but also many civilians – representatives of the elites of the Second Polish Republic. This was a crime of genocide committed by the Soviets on completely defenceless victims,” the President said.

“It was never punished,” he stressed.

As Andrzej Duda pointed out, Poles encountered the ‘Katyn lie’ instead. “Telling the world that it was not Soviet Russia who was responsible for this horrific crime, but Nazi Germany. Against facts, against logic. With full premeditation. And so on for several dozen years,” the president stated.

“In the early 1990s under President Boris Yeltsin, it was finally admitted that the ‘Stalinist authorities’ were responsible for the Katyn crime. However, no further actions would follow. The investigation… was dropped, no perpetrator was ever punished. Whereas [Vladimir] Putin's Russia has been glorifying Stalin and the Soviet Union again for years. The Katyn lie has again got the upper hand,” he stressed.

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We must fight the ‘distortion of history’

“Forgotten, unpunished war crimes, crimes against humanity, are fuelling the sense of impunity among the perpetrators,” the President pointed out, emphasising that “we can see how a lie is employed to justify Russian crimes on civilian population” and adding that “many representatives of the western world have only now come to discover the scale of Russian manipulation and hypocrisy.”

As he stressed, it is necessary to “fight decisively against the distortion of history, the reversal of the roles of executioner and victim.”

“For 80 years the victims and their families have never seen justice meted out for the Katyn crime. Genocide has no statute of limitations. Therefore, I will demand that this case be settled before international courts. We will submit appropriate motions in the near future. This crime must be finally judged, and perpetrators named,” Andrzej Duda emphasised.