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A statement in connection with Russian attempts to distort the truth about Soviet crimes

The IPN's statement-dedicated image

In response to repeated attempts on the part of Russia, aimed at falsifying the truth about Soviet crimes, the Institute of National Remembrance reminds the following facts:

​23 August 1939  – The Soviet-German Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact prepares the ground for acts of aggression against Poland and free countries of Europe: Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Romania.

September 1939 –  Germany and the Soviet Union attack Poland, dividing its territory among themselves.

5 March 1940 – The Soviet authorities approve a plan to murder Polish Army career officers and reservists, policemen, Border Protection Corps (KOP) soldiers and prison servicemen held captive by the NKVD.

22 March 1940 –  NKVD head Beria issues a secret order that will become the basis for the murder of thousands of Poles kept in prisons in Soviet-occupied territories of eastern Poland.

April-May 1940 – Carrying out crimes on a daily basis, the NKVD murders at least 21,768 prisoners of war from the camps in Kozelsk, Ostashkov and Starobelsk, as well as from prisons in the territory of eastern Poland occupied by the USSR. At the same time, the victims' families are deported to labor camps and remote parts of the Soviet Union.

11 April 1943 –  The Germans report that graves of Polish officers murdered by the Soviets have been discovered in Katyń.

25 April 1943 – The USSR breaks off relations with Poland.

​1944 – The USSR annexes the eastern territories of the Republic of Poland.

1945 – The rest of Poland is transformed into a Soviet satellite country, where Soviet garrisons are stationed and Moscow's communist nominees are in power.

194546 – The USSR makes an attempt to convict innocent people for the NKVD-perpetrated Katyń Massacre. The Soviets themselves qualify Katyń as genocide, but when interrogations begin to reveal the false grounds of the Soviet accusations, the Russians remove the Katyn Massacre from the indictment.

1959 – At the request of the KGB head Shelepin, Khrushchev authorizes the destruction of personal files of the murdered officers.

1969 – The KGB attempts to destroy the remains of Poles buried in Piatikhhatki near Kharkiv by pouring lye into their graves.

13 April 1990 – The USSR admits in an official statement that the Katyń Massacre was committed by the Soviet NKVD.

3 November 1990 – President of the USSR M. Gorbachev orders the scientific, police and military authorities to indicate for political purposes the events that will be used against Poland in order to neutralize the international tone of the Soviet admission to the murder.

Since then, a false narrative has been recurring in the activities of Russian diplomacy and the media about Soviet prisoners of the Polish-Bolshevik war of 1920 who died in POW camps due to natural causes (similarly to prisoners of war in various European countries, including Soviet Russia), as victims of crimes. In this way, the Russians are trying to construct their anti-Katyń propaganda.

If we do not want the repeat of the WWII bloodbath, both historical education of societies and international relations ought to be based on the truth about the crimes of the Soviet and German totalitarianisms – and on their condemnation.


  • Photocopy of the first page of Beria's proposal of 5 March 1940 to execute Polish POWs
    Photocopy of the first page of Beria's proposal of 5 March 1940 to execute Polish POWs





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