Dating starobelsk

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On 5 March 1940, pursuant to a note to Joseph Stalin from Beria, six members of the Soviet Politburo — Stalin, Vyacheslav Molotov, Lazar Kaganovich, Kliment Voroshilov, Anastas Mikoyan, and Mikhail Kalinin — signed an order to execute 25,700 Polish "nationalists and counterrevolutionaries" kept at camps and prisons in the occupied western Ukraine and White Russia.

It has been suggested that the motive for this terrible step [the Katyn massacre] was to reassure the Germans as to the reality of Soviet anti-Polish policy.

According to a report from 19 November 1939, the NKVD had about 40,000 Polish POWs: 8,000-8,500 officers and warrant officers, 6,000-6,500 officers of police, and 25,000 soldiers and non-commissioned officers who were still being held as POWs.When the London-based Polish government-in-exile asked for an investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross, Stalin immediately severed diplomatic relations with it.The USSR claimed that the victims had been murdered by the Nazis in 1941 and continued to deny responsibility for the massacres until 1990, when it officially acknowledged and condemned the perpetration of the killings by the NKVD, as well as the subsequent cover-up by the Soviet government.The NKVD took custody of Polish prisoners from the Red Army, and proceeded to organise a network of reception centres and transit camps, and to arrange rail transport to prisoner-of-war camps in the western USSR.The largest camps were located at Kozelsk (Optina Monastery), Ostashkov (Stolobny Island on Lake Seliger near Ostashkov), and Starobelsk.

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