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US Historian: Stalin Not Guilty of Major War Crime Blamed on Him (Katyn)

Revisionist historian Grover Furr makes the case that the infamous Katyn massacre, in which 14,000 Polish soldiers, mostly officers, were supposedly executed by the KGB, was a Nazi hoax.

The subject of this article, American Professor Grover Furr, is a controversial figure in the world of Russia watching, because his basic position is that Stalin was not the monster that accepted wisdom thinks he was, and that he was unfairly maligned by the Soviet leaders who succeeded him for their own political reasons, with the rest of the world gladly jumping on the bandwagon.  

We don't know if this is valid or not, but we publish this here because this revisionist view is increasingly popular in Russia.  Want to understand Russia?  Here is what a lot of people think.

<figcaption>An American professor says the Russians never did this</figcaption>
An American professor says the Russians never did this

While Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski continues to point the accusing finger at Russia, blaming it for the Katyn massacre of 1940, facts on the ground prove the opposite, an American professor revealed.

During a speech devoted to the execution of Polish officers at Katyn in 1940, Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski once again slammed the Soviet Union for the massacre and even went so far as to say that "the 20th century knows no comparable crime." But what if the crime had never taken place?

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"In April 1943 Nazi German authorities claimed that they had discovered thousands of bodies of Polish officers shot by Soviet officials in 1940. These bodies were said to have been discovered near the Katyn forest near Smolensk (in Western Russia), which is why the whole affair including executions and alleged executions of Polish POWs elsewhere in the USSR came to be called the Katyn Massacre," narrated Dr. Grover Carr Furr, an American professor, author and prominent expert in Soviet history, in his book "The "Official" Version of the Katyn Massacre Disproven?"

Professor Grover Furr has called into question the "official" narrative that puts the blame for the Katyn massacre on the Soviet Union, in accordance with the version propagated by Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany, in 1943.

The author has debunked the most common misconceptions surrounding the Katyn tragedy and highlighted that the evidentiary basis for the "official" viewpoint is astonishingly "thin." It should be noted that many researchers usually refer to the "Closed Packet No. 1," handed by the Yeltsin administration to Polish authorities in 1992. It contained documents which, if genuine, could prove the guilt of the USSR in the Katyn mass murder.

However, the document's authenticity raises questions. 

"In October 2010 a credible case was made that the "smoking gun documents" ["Closed Packet No. 1] are forgeries. The materials adduced by [Russia's] Duma member Victor Iliukhin in October 2010 constitute the strongest evidence so far that these documents may well be forgeries," Professor Furr pointed out.

Indeed, Victor Iliukhin revealed that the core document of the "Closed Packet No. 1" --- Lavrentiy Beria's note, demanding the capital punishment for 14,000 of Polish POWs and civilians, signed by Joseph Stalin in 1940 --- was fabricated in late 1980s. The Duma member suggested that the prominent "Perestroika" figures such as Alexander Yakovlev, Dmitri Volkogonov, Rudolf Pikhoya and others could have been behind the falsification.

But let's put aside the "smoking gun documents," the professor noted, pointing to the latest discoveries made by a joint Polish-Ukrainian archaeological group in 2011-2012 in the Ukrainian town of Volodymyr-Volynskiy, directly related to the Katyn massacre incident.

The group discovered a mass grave site identified by the specialists as a typical mass grave of "German manufacture." Citing Dr. Dominika Siemińska, the head of the Polish archeological team, Professor Furr underscored that the victims buried in the mass grave were murdered no earlier than late 1941 or 1942. 

Furthermore, 98.67 percent of shells found on the site were of 1941 German manufacture, according to the Polish report. Remains of women and children had also been found in the mass grave.

But the most astonishing fact was that the Polish researchers had also unearthed the remains, metal badges, epaulettes and buttons which belonged to the Polish policemen believed to be killed in a so-called "Katyn massacre" in 1940.

It should be noted that German ammunition was found at other sites related to the Katyn case. 

Remarkably, Joseph Goebbels wrote in his Diaries on May 8, 1943: "Unfortunately, German ammunition has been found in the graves at Katyn… It is essential that this incident remains top secret. If it were to come to the knowledge of the enemy the whole Katyn affair would have to be dropped." 

Professor Furr has analyzed a number of other important documents and facts, which are presented as "ample evidence" of the Soviets' guilt by the proponents of the "official version." He showed that many assumptions based on these documents fall apart under careful scrutiny.

However, Professor Grover Furr stressed that it is probable that the Soviets could have executed a number of Poles for military crimes conducted by the Polish armed forces during the Russo-Polish war of 1920-21 and the Polish occupation of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine. "Somewhere between 18,000 and 60,000 Red Army POWs had died in Polish captivity. There is good documentation that they were treated brutally, starved, frozen, and many of them murdered outright," the professor pointed out.

Still, "there is no evidence that the 14,000+ Polish POWs who were transferred out of Soviet POW camps in April and May 1940 were in reality being sent to be shot," the author concluded, "The discoveries in the mass graves at Volodymyr-Volynskiy constitute a lethal blow to the "official version" of the Katyn Massacre."

"I have gone back and reviewed the evidence many times since I published that article. I am still surprised that such an important story rests on such a thin basis of evidence. The only "real" evidence is the documents from "Closed Packet No.1," Professor Grover Furr told Russia Insider.

"In any case the finding of those Polish policemen in the mass grave at Volodymyr-Volynskiy demolishes the "official" version. And there is no other version! Therefore, the only way to "rescue" the official version is to suppress the results of the V-V [Volodymyr-Volynskiy] excavations. And the Polish and Ukrainian officials have done that. Plus, to keep pointing at the documents from "Closed Packet No. 1," which means suppressing Viktor Iliukhin's exposure of them," he added.

Professor Furr bemoaned the fact that senior Russian officials and mainstream media continue to support the "official version" of the Katyn Massacre.

"Katyn is the best documented "crime of Stalinism." If they admit that the "official version" of Katyn is a lie, what else might turn out to be false? And then, what is the ideological justification for the dissolution of the USSR?" Professor Grover Furr asked.

The Katyn Massacre story, currently being used as a propaganda tool by both Warsaw and Washington, sparks a lot of controversy in Russia and the West. Lots of questions remained unanswered and only a new comprehensive investigation into the Katyn case could finally expose the truth and restore justice.

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