Kosicki Piotr H. - The Katyń massacres of 1940

Author : Kosicki Piotr H.
Title : The Katyń massacres of 1940
Year : 2012

Link download : Kosicki_Piotr_H_-_The_Katy_massacres_of_1940.zip

Decision-Makers, Organizers and Actors. The instigators of the Katyń Massacres were the members of the All-Soviet Union Communist Party Central Committee Politburo, and the chief instigator was Lavrentii Beria, People‟s Commissar for Internal Affairs. Beria authored the NKVD orders establishing camps for Polish officers and functionaries. These documents suggest that his original plan was to prosecute all of the prisoners, beginning with the 6,200 at Ostashkov, under Article 58-13 of the Soviet Penal Code, that is, for having “taken up arms against the international workers‟ movement” (Paczkowski, 1997: 428). Given the professions of the internees – all had sworn loyalty to the Polish State – convictions would have been virtually guaranteed, followed by five to eight years in penal labor camps. Nonetheless, Beria opted instead on March 5, 1940 to draft a proposal to the Politburo that its members approved in full (Materski, 1993: 10-11). In his introduction, drafted as a note to Stalin, Beria repeated again and again that the Polish officers, functionaries, and prisoners were “counter-revolutionary” agents attempting to “continue their c-r (counter-revolutionary) activity, and are conducting anti-Soviet agitation.” According to Beria, “All of them are bitter enemies of the Soviet power, filled with enmity for the Soviet system.” Beria went on to list the total number of prisoners for each category before recommending that the NKVD USSR “apply towards them the punishment of the highest order – shooting. ... The matter is to be looked at without summoning the arrested and without the presentation of evidence.” The proposal charged three high-ranking officers of the NKVD with direct supervision of the action: deputy commissars Bogdan Kobulov and Vsevolod Merkulov, as well as Leonid Bashtakov, head of the NKVD‟s 1st Special Section (Materski, 1993: 23-25) (in the original proposal, Kobulov‟s name appears in Stalin‟s handwriting over the crossed-out name of Beria himself, indicating that Stalin made this substitution personally). Below the proposal is Beria‟s signature; the first page of the recommendation features the signatures of Stalin, Kliment Voroshilov, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Anastas Mikoyan, with additional notes indicating that Mikhail Kalinin and Lazar Kaganovich – both of whom were absent that day – were nonetheless “for” Beria‟s proposal. This extraordinary document identifies both instigators and perpetrators, as well as the manner in which instigators delivered orders to perpetrators: through the NKVD troika of Kobulov, Merkulov, and Bashtakov, who reviewed and authorized each execution in advance of the massacres themselves (cf. Zawodny, 1962: 146). ...

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