Russia: plaques commemorating victims of Katyn massacre might be removed

Russian media reported about the possible removal of plaques commemorating victims of the Katyn massacre in Tver, former Kalinin, Russia.

The plaques are attached to the wall of the Medical University. "There is no evidence that Poles were shot here," Russian prosecutors argue.

A group of local prosecutors wrote a letter to the head of the Medical University in Tver in which they claim that there is no evidence that Poles were murdered in the region. According to Russian Radio Svoboda, the media were alerted by historians from the "Memorial" association known for its research and commemorating Stalinist crimes.

Studies by Russian and Polish historians, including exhumations of mass graves, indicate that in Kalinin, the NKVD murdered and later buried at least 6295 officers of the Polish police, Border Guard and military at the cemetery in Miednoje.

The head of the Polish section of the "Memorial" association Aleksandr Gurianow pointed out that to this day some Russian politicians and historians say that at the cemetery in Miednoje it was not the Poles who were buried, but Red Army soldiers who died in the fight against Nazi Germany.

The Katyn massacre was a series of mass executions of about 22,000 Polish military officers, doctors, policemen and other public servants carried out by the Soviet Union in 1940.

Though the killings also occurred in the Kalinin and Kharkiv prisons and elsewhere, the massacre is named after the Katyn Forest, where some of the mass graves were first discovered.

After a half-century of cover-up by the Soviet government, Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of the Soviet Union, admitted in 1990 that the NKVD ("People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs", the Soviet secret police) was responsible for the massacre.

In November 2010, the Russian State Duma approved a declaration blaming Stalin and other Soviet officials for ordering the massacre.