p-ISSN 2956-2589, e-ISSN 2956-2570
List of articles
From State Terror to International Conflict. A place of memory: Katyn as a foreign policy tool of Putin’s Russia
25 May 2021
This text discusses the transformations of the Katyn memorial site near Smolensk in western Russia, where, in 1940, the mass murder of more than 4,000 Polish military officers who were prisoners of war occurred. After the Soviet Union’s admission of guilt in 1990, it seemed for two decades that Katyn could also serve as a place for mutual reconciliation between post-communist Poland and post-Soviet Russia. However, in the period of increasing tension between Russia and Poland after 2010, the monument in Katyn became an object of Russian–Polish confrontation. The author concludes that the Katyn memorial complex today illustrates the tendency to patriotize and detraumatize Soviet crimes, whereby the positive events of the Soviet era – especially the victory over Germany in World War II – are “Russified” and newly politically traumatized in parallel with the trivialization and marginalization of murder and crimes against human rights. The new form of memory in Katyn reflects an increasingly firmly dictated line from above that combines Russian nationalism, Orthodox faith, and a sentimental view of the period of Communist rule.
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