Prisoners of the Red Army in the Polish camps

The voluminous volume “The Red Army soldiers in Polish captivity in 1919-1922” was prepared by the Federal Archival Agency of Russia, the Russian State Military Archives, the State Archives of the Russian Federation, the Russian State Archives of Social and Economic stories and the Polish General Directorate of State Archives based on a bilateral agreement of December 4 of 2000. This is the first joint work of Russian and Polish historians and archivists about the fate of the Red Army soldiers who were captured in Polish during the 1919-1920 war. - 85 years ago. The public interest in such a long-standing problem, revived 15 years ago, is inextricably linked to the Katyn problem - so much so that the question of Red Army soldiers who died or died in Polish captivity is often called “Anti-Katyn” or “Counter-Katyn”. It is probably difficult for many to accept the recognition of the USSR’s responsibility for Katyn, and therefore I want to find some counterexamples. Without stretching it can be said that the revival of interest was supported or even initiated by the leadership of the USSR. The investigative group of the USSR Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office in its work on Katyn was based on the order of the USSR President M.Gorbachev from November 3 1990 following the visit of the Polish Foreign Minister to the Soviet Union - this order instructed the USSR Prosecutor’s Office to “speed up the investigation about the fate of Polish officers held in the Kozelsky, Starobelsky and Ostashkov camps ”. But the last point of the order read as follows: “The USSR Academy of Sciences, the USSR Prosecutor’s Office, the USSR Ministry of Defense, the USSR State Security Committee, together with other departments and organizations, should conduct a 1 research work on 1991 in April to identify archival materials concerning events and facts from Soviet-Polish bilateral relations, which resulted in damage to the Soviet side. The obtained data should be used when necessary in negotiations with the Polish Party on the issue of “white spots” ”(highlighted by me. - A.P.).

Perhaps the only such event is the 20 monthly Soviet-Polish war of 1919-1920, the captured Red Army men in the Polish camps and their subsequent fate. Due to the lack of exhaustive data in the Soviet archives, Russian historians, publicists and politicians cite a variety of information about the number of Red Army men who died in Polish captivity: figures published from the beginning of 1990 х in mass publications range from 40 to 80 thousand people. For example, in the newspaper “Izvestia” (2004, 10 and 22 Dec.), the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Federation Council, Mikhail Margelov, and after him the governor of the Kemerovo Region, Aman Tuleyev, talk about the thousands of Red Army soldiers who died in the Polish camps, referring to Russian historians . On the other hand, the best-known Polish study of the 80 problem refers to 1-16 thousands of dead (dead) in the camps.

The more important is the first joint attempt by historians of the two countries to find the truth on the basis of a detailed study of the archives, first of all Polish, since the events took place mainly on Polish territory. Joint development of the topic is just beginning, there is still enough disagreement in the analysis of documents, this is evidenced by the presence in the collection of two separate prefaces - Russian and Polish. However, I would immediately like to note for the first time the agreement reached by researchers on the number of Red Army men who died in the Polish camps - who died of epidemics, famine and severe conditions of detention. Prof. VG Matveev, author of the preface of the Russian side, notes: “If we proceed from the average,“ ordinary ”mortality rate of prisoners of war, which was defined by 1920% by the sanitary service of the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs in February 7, then the number of people who died in Polish captivity Red Army soldiers would be about 11 thousand. With epidemics, mortality increased to 30%, in some cases to 60%. But the epidemics lasted for a limited time, they were actively fought with them, fearing that infectious diseases would leave the camps and working teams. Most likely, 18-20 thousand of the Red Army men died in captivity (12-15% of the total number captured) ”. Prof. Z.Karpus and prof. V.Resmer in the preface of the Polish side writes: “Based on the above documentary data, it can be argued that for the entire three-year stay in Poland (February 1919 - October 1921), no more than 16-17 thousand Russian prisoners of war died in Polish captivity about 8 thousand in the Strzalkow camp, up to 2 thousand in Tucholi and about 6-8 thousand in other camps. The statement that they died more - 60, 80 or 100 thousand, does not find confirmation in the documentation stored in the Polish and Russian civil and military archives. "

These consistent documentary assessments, together with other materials presented in the collection, in my opinion, close the possibility of political speculations on the topic, the problem goes into the category of purely historical - as, probably, it should be for the 85 events of the summer prescription.

338 documents from 187 are extracted from Polish archives, 129 - from Russian, and 22 documents from previous editions. In total, over two thousand documents were studied by Polish and Russian researchers, the vast majority of which were never published. Some materials from the Russian archives were specifically declassified for this publication - for example, documents from the NKID and NKO USSR on the state of military burials in Poland in 1936-1938.

The documents presented in the collection can be conditionally classified as follows:

- various instructions governing the operation of the camps, military orders and directives, government notes, sanitary rules for the camps, etc .;

- operational reports of the Red Army's casualties (prisoners often fell into the category of missing persons) and Polish operational reports on prisoners of war;

- Reports and letters on the status and verification of camps, including by foreign commissions;

- materials on assistance to prisoners of war through the Red Cross, etc .;

- all sorts of information about the Russian anti-Bolshevik formations, which actively attracted Red Army prisoners of war into their ranks;

- documents on the exchange of prisoners;

- materials - including modern photographs - about the graves of captured Red Army men in Poland.

The documents are arranged in chronological order, so it is easy to trace the evolution of the state of the camps and the general attitude of the military and state authorities to the problems of prisoners of war. In addition, the collection is equipped with an extensive (125 pages) scientific reference apparatus relating to the organizations and military units mentioned in the collection, as well as institutions and establishments for prisoners of war. There is an index and a list of publications by Polish and Russian authors about Red Army soldiers in Polish captivity (87 positions).

The first combat clash between Polish and Red Army units occurred in February 1919 on the Lithuanian-Belarusian territory, and on the same days the first prisoners of the Red Army appeared. In mid-May 1919, the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs distributed a detailed instruction for prisoner of war camps, which was subsequently revised and refined several times. The camps built by the Germans and the Austrians during World War I were supposed to be used as stationary camps. In particular, the largest camp in Strzalkow was designed for 25 thousand people. All prisoners were supposed to be taken away. weapon, tools (which could have been used during the escape), plans and maps, compasses, newspapers and books of “suspicious political content”, money in excess of one hundred marks (one hundred rubles, two hundred crowns). The selected money was deposited at the camp’s cash office, and could be gradually used to make purchases at the camp buffet. Ordinary prisoners were entitled to a small amount of money, and to officers - five to six times higher monthly salaries (50 marks), the prisoners could use this money at their own discretion. In the camps, handicraft workshops were organized for the repair of clothing and footwear, the camp commander could allow a reading room for the prisoners, an amateur theater and a choir to be organized. Any gambling (cards, dominoes, etc.) was forbidden, all attempts to smuggle alcohol into the camp were “strictly punished.” Every prisoner could, once a week, send (for free) one letter and one postcard - in Polish, in Russian or in Ukrainian. On the basis of a “motivated request,” the camp commander could allow civilians to meet with prisoners of war. Whenever possible, prisoners should be “grouped into companies according to nationality”, avoiding “mixing prisoners from different armies (for example, Bolsheviks with Ukrainians)”. The camp commander was obliged to "try to satisfy the religious needs of the prisoners."

The prisoners ’daily food ration included 500 g of bread, 150 g of meat or fish (beef four times a week, horse meat two times a week, dried fish or herring once a week), 700 of potatoes, various seasonings and two coffee servings. In the month of prisoners supposed 100 g of soap. If desired, healthy prisoners were allowed to be employed at work — initially in the military department (in garrisons, etc.), and later in state institutions and from private individuals; it was possible to form working teams from prisoners to replace civilian workers in jobs requiring a large number of workers, such as railway construction, unloading products, etc. ”. Working prisoners received a full soldier's ration and a cash allowance. The wounded and sick should “be interpreted on a par with the soldiers of the Polish Army, and the civilian hospitals pay as much for their upkeep as they were for their soldiers.”

In fact, such detailed and humane rules for the detention of prisoners of war were not respected, conditions in the camps were very difficult, dozens of collection documents testify to this without any embellishment. The situation was aggravated by epidemics that were raging in Poland during that period of war and devastation. The documents mention typhus, dysentery, Spanish flu (flu), typhoid fever, cholera, smallpox, scabies, diphtheria, scarlet fever, meningitis, malaria, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis. In the first half of 1919, in Poland, 122 thousand diseases with typhus were reported, including about 10 thousand fatalities, from July 1919 to July 1920 in the Polish army there were about 40 thousand cases of illness. POW camps did not avoid infection with infectious diseases, and often were their hotbeds and potential breeding grounds. At the disposal of the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs at the end of August 1919, it was noted that “the repeated dispatch of prisoners to the interior of the country without complying with the most basic requirements of sanitation led to the infection of almost all camps of prisoners of infectious diseases.”

I will cite several quotes from the report on the visit in October by 1919 of the camps in Brest-Litovsk by the representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the presence of a doctor of the French military mission. The number of prisoners of war placed in four camps in the Brest Fortress at that time was 3861 people:

“From the guardrooms, as well as from the former stables in which prisoners of war are stationed, a nauseous odor emanates. Prisoners chilly huddle around an improvised stove, where several logs burn, is the only way of heating. At night, hiding from the first cold, they are packed in close rows in groups of 300 people in poorly lit and poorly ventilated barracks, on boards, without mattresses and blankets. The prisoners are mostly dressed in rags ...

Complaints. They are the same and boil down to the following: are we starving, are we freezing when we are released? It should, however, be noted as an exception, confirming the rule: the Bolsheviks assured one of us that they would prefer their present fate to the fate of soldiers in a war.

Findings. This summer, due to the crowded spaces that are not habitable; the close living together of healthy prisoners of war and contagious patients, many of whom died immediately; malnutrition, as evidenced by numerous cases of malnutrition; edema, hunger during the three months of stay in Brest, - the camp in Brest-Litovsk was a real necropolis.

Transformations were planned and implemented from September - evacuation of part of prisoners to others, with better organization, camps, release of prisoners, improvement of equipment, diet (still insufficient) and handling of prisoners ... Successful and effective intervention of various foreign missions should be emphasized in particular, France and especially the United States. The latter put underwear and clothing for all prisoners of war ...

Two of the strongest epidemics devastated this camp in August and September - dysentery and typhus. The consequences were aggravated by the close cohabitation of the sick and the healthy, the lack of medical care, food and clothing. The medical staff paid their tribute to the infection - out of the 2 doctors infected with dysentery, 1 died; of 4 medical students 1 died. 10 nurses who had typhus recovered, recovered, and out of 30, the nursing sufferers 1 died. In order to save the medical staff, former patients are recruited to the staff, using their acquired immunity. The mortality record was made in early August, when 180 people died of dysentery one day.

September 7 to September 7 mortality: dysentery - 675 (1242 cases), typhus - 125 (614 cases), relapsing fever - 40 (1117 cases), depletion - 284 (1192 cases), total - 1124 (4165) E.e. mortality - 27% of the number of cases). These figures, in fact, confirm the accuracy of the list of the dead, compiled by a group of prisoners, according to which in the period from July 27 to September 4, i.e. on 34 of the day, 770 of Ukrainian prisoners of war and internees died in the Brest camp.

It should be recalled that the number of prisoners imprisoned in the fortress in August gradually reached, if there is no error, 10 000 people, and October 10 was 3861 people. Such a reduction is due, in addition to high mortality rates, to the release and evacuation of prisoners to various camps. ”

Later, due to improper conditions of detention, the camp in the Brest Fortress was closed. But in other camps the situation was no better. Here is an excerpt about the camp in Bialystok from a memorandum from the head of the sanitary department of the Polish Ministry of Military Affairs (December 1919):

“I visited the camp of the prisoners in Bialystok and now, under the first impression, I dared to turn to Mr. General as the chief doctor of the Polish troops with a description of that terrible picture that appears before everyone arriving at the camp ... Again the same criminal neglect of all the duties the camp of organs brought shame on our name, on the Polish army, just as it did in Brest-Litovsk. In the camp, at every step, dirt, untidiness, which cannot be described, neglect and human need, appealing to heaven for retribution. In front of the doors of the barracks there are heaps of human excrements, the patients are so weakened that they cannot reach the latrines ... The barracks themselves are crowded, among the "healthy" there are a lot of patients. In my opinion, there are simply no healthy prisoners among 1400. Covered only with rags, they huddle together, warming each other. The stench from dysenteric patients and gangrene affected, swollen from hunger of the legs. In the hut, which should have been released, among the other patients, two especially seriously ill patients lay in their feces, dribbling through the upper ports, they no longer had the strength to rise, in order to overflow to a dry place on the bunk ...

Prisoners of the Red Army in the Polish camps

So prisoners of war died in Siberia, Montenegro and Albania! Two barracks are equipped for hospitals; one can see the effort, one can see the desire to correct the evil - unfortunately, it was taken late for it, and there are no means and people to do the work that you could easily manage a month ago ...

The lack of fuel and dietary nutrition makes any treatment impossible. The American Red Cross gave some food, rice, when this is over, there will be nothing to feed the sick. Two English-female nurses closed in one barrack and treat dysentery patients. One can only marvel at their inhuman self-sacrifice ...

The reasons for this state of affairs are the general plight of the country and the state after a bloody and exhausting war and the resulting shortage of food, clothing, shoes; overcrowding; sending healthy along with patients from the front straight to the camp, without quarantine, without disinsection; finally - and let the guilty in this repent - this is the sluggishness and indifference, neglect and non-fulfillment of their direct duties, which is a characteristic feature of our time. Therefore, all efforts and efforts, any harsh and hard work, full of self-sacrifice and burning, work whose Golgotha ​​is marked by numerous, not yet grassed doctors' graves that fight against the epidemic of typhus in prisoner camps have lost their lives in the line of duty. ..

Victory over the epidemic of typhus and sanitation of the camps in Strzalkovo, Brest-Litovsk, Wadowice and Dбеbie - but the real results at the moment are minimal, because hunger and frost are gathering victims saved from death and infection. ”

To solve the problems, it was proposed to convene a meeting and appoint an emergency commission of representatives of the Ministry of Military Affairs and the High Command, which would carry out all the necessary, “regardless of labor and costs”.

The report of the sanitary department to the Minister of War on the plight of prisoners of war in the camps and the need for urgent measures to improve it (December 1919) also cited numerous examples from reports describing the state of the camps, and noted that the deprivations and tortures of prisoners leave an “indelible stain on the honor of the Polish people and the army. " For example, in the camp in Stshalkov “the fight against the epidemic, apart from such reasons as the non-functioning of the bathhouse and the lack of disinfectants, made it difficult for two factors to be partially eliminated by the camp commander: a) permanent taking of the prisoners' linen and replacing it with companies of protection; b) the punishment of the prisoners of the whole detachment by the fact that they were not released from the barracks for three or more days ”.

The decisive steps taken by the Ministry of Military Affairs and the Supreme Command of the Polish Army, combined with inspections and tight control, led to a significant improvement in the supply of food and clothing for prisoners to the camps, and to the reduction of abuse by the camp administration. Many reports on the verification of camps and work teams in the summer and autumn of 1920 showed good food for prisoners, although in some camps prisoners were still hungry. As VG Matveev points out in the preface of the Russian side, “for Poland, which revived its statehood in November, the problem of its international image as a civilized democratic state was very important, and this to a certain extent depended on the attitude to prisoners.” There are “numerous reliable evidences not only of the plight of the prisoners, but also of the measures taken by the Polish military authorities, including at the highest level, to improve it”. In the order of the High Command of 1918 on April 9, it was stated that it was necessary to “be aware of the responsibility of military bodies before their own public opinion, as well as before the international forum, which immediately picks up any fact that can diminish the dignity of our young state ... Evil is necessary resolutely eradicate. The army must, above all, guard the honor of the state, observing military legal instructions, as well as tactfully and culturally treating unarmed prisoners. ” An important role was played by the help of the allied military missions (for example, the United States supplied a large amount of underwear and clothing), as well as the Red Cross and other public organizations - especially the American Christian Youth Association (YMCA). Again quoting the Russian preface, “these efforts were especially intensified after the end of hostilities in connection with the possibility of the exchange of prisoners of war. In September, an agreement was signed between organizations of the Polish and Russian Red Cross in Berlin on the provision of assistance to prisoners of war of the other party on their territory. This work was led by prominent human rights activists: in Poland - Stephania Sempolovskaya, and in Soviet Russia - Ekaterina Peshkova ”. Relevant documents are also listed in the collection.

I note that even from the above quotations, in my opinion, the incorrectness of a frequently occurring in the media comparison of questions relating to the fate of the captured Red Army soldiers (“Counter-Katyn”), with the actual Katyn problem, obviously follows. Unlike Katyn, there are no documentary grounds to accuse the Polish government and military commanders of the time of pursuing a deliberate policy of exterminating Russian prisoners of war.

Russian publications in the media about the fate of prisoners of the Red Army often mention the largest (up to 25 thousand prisoners) camp in Strzalkowo and camp in Tucholi. At least a dozen materials from the collection deal in detail with the difficult situation of the prisoners in these camps and the real measures to correct the situation. The camp in Tucholi in mass publications is called the “death camp”, indicating that about 22 thousands of Red Army soldiers died in it. However, the documents do not confirm this. As Z. Karpus summarizes, “in this camp Bolshevik prisoners of war were kept only from the end of August 1920 until the middle of October 1921. The authors do not think about whether it is possible that so many prisoners die in such a short period of stay in Tucholi. The situation there was difficult, the prisoners were placed in dugouts, many of which were destroyed and required repairs. The repair, however, was not completed until several thousand Red Army soldiers were sent there in the late autumn of 1920 (most of 1921 of thousands of Russian prisoners of war were in Tucholi in March). The appearance of such a large number of prisoners caused an outbreak of an epidemic of contagious diseases (typhoid, cholera, dysentery, influenza). For this reason, many prisoners of war died, most of all in January 11. - more than 1921 people. In the following months, the situation in the camp improved dramatically. ” In her report on the activities of the ORD (the Russian-Ukrainian delegation to the Russian-Ukrainian-Polish Mixed Repatriation Commission established to implement the decisions of the 560 Riga Peace Treaty on the repatriation and exchange of prisoners), its chairman E.Ya.Abaltin refers to an official certificate of morbidity and mortality in Tucholi from February to 1921 in May 15, according to the camp infirmary. During this time, about 1921 epidemic diseases (typhus, relapsing and typhoid fever, cholera, dysentery, tuberculosis, etc.) were recorded in the camp, and 6500 patients died. In the same report (its text completes the main part of the collection) it is noted that “according to inaccurate information collected from prisoners of war themselves, in Strzhalkovo [Strzalkowe] camp alone, our prisoners of war died 2561”. This is roughly consistent with Polish data. For example, according to the MFA sanitary department certificate in the collection, in the period from 9000 to 16 in November 22, in Strzalkow, 1920-50 died of infectious diseases per day. In addition to epidemics and poor supply, which was typical of all camps, the camp in Strzalkowo was marked by abuse and cruel treatment of prisoners by the camp administration. As a result, his commandant, Lieutenant Malinovsky, was arrested and put on trial.

There are significant differences among historians regarding the total number of captured Red Army men (and this is also related to estimates of the number of people who died or died in captivity). There are no complete data, because the records were not always kept systematically, and also because part of the archives over the past decades has been lost or lost, especially during World War II. Z. Karpus in the Polish preface and in his other publications speaks about 110 thousands of Russian prisoners of war at the time of the end of hostilities in mid-October 1920 of the year. At the same time, about 25 thousands, shortly after captivity, succumbed to active agitation and joined the anti-Bolshevik formations that fought on the Polish side: the formation of Stanislav Bulak-Bulakhovich, 3 and the Russian army of Boris Peremikin, the Cossack formations of Alexander Salnikov and Vadim Yakovlev and the army of Simon Petlyuk Part of these troops was subordinate to the Russian Political Committee, which was headed by Boris Savinkov. Z. Karpus notes that most of the entrants were guided not by ideological considerations, but simply wanted to leave the prisoner of war camps as soon as possible - and many, being on the front, went over to the Red Army. VG Matveev in the Russian preface criticizes the calculations of Z. Karpus and estimates the total number of Red Army soldiers captured during 20 months of the war in approximately 157 thousand. I note that the largest number of Red Army soldiers were captured during the lost battle for Warsaw in August 1920: 45-50 thousand people according to Polish and Russian data.

On the 24 1921 February agreement on repatriation between the RSFSR and the Ukrainian SSR, on the one hand, and Poland, on the other, 1921 75 of the Red Army returned to Russia in March-November 699, according to the RKKA Headquarters mobilization department. According to Z. Karpus, this number made 66 762 people, including 965 prisoners sent home at the beginning of 1922, first they were left in Poland as a guarantee that the Russian side would return Polish prisoners. The Russian preface discussed the question of those 62-64 thousands of people who did not die in captivity (the qualitative agreement between the Russian and Polish estimates of the number of people who died in the Red Army camps - 18-20 and 16-17 thousand people) was mentioned above, but not returned for repatriation. Of these, as VG Matveev notes, the fate of about 53 thousand prisoners can be considered more or less known: some of them got into the anti-Bolshevik formations fighting on the Polish side, some were released during the Red Army counter-offensive in the summer of 1920, from Western Belarus and Western Ukraine - was released or ran home, a number of prisoners were set free for propaganda purposes (quoting 16 April order from 1920 of April 9: “... these prisoners should be well fed and supplied with proclamations about a thousand people did not want to return home, about a thousand citizens of Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Finland and some other countries mobilized into the Red Army returned to their countries. Of the thousands of prisoners remaining with 11-1920 with an unclear fate, some may still fall into the categories listed above, and some could be “mobilized for the needs of the Western Front by peasants with wagons in the Warsaw cauldron in August XNUMX”.

When discussing the question of Red Army men who died or died in captivity, one cannot ignore the question of the execution of prisoners without trial. Such facts took place at the front during the period of combat operations, and in some cases in the camps. However, nothing can be said about their scale, since there are practically no documents about this, basically there are separate eyewitness accounts. I managed to find some references to the execution of prisoners only in eight documents of the collection (for accuracy I will list the numbers of these documents - 44, 51, 125, 210, 268, 298, 299, 314). Thus, in an operational summary of the command of the 5 Army of the Polish Army of 24 on August 1920, it was noted: “In retaliation for the 92 soldiers and 7 officers who were brutally murdered by the Soviet cavalry corps and 3, today were executed on the spot of execution [of our correct) penalty] 200 soldiers captured Cossacks from the Soviet 3 of the go cavalry corps. ” Another document refers to the bullying of a detachment of Latvians mobilized into the Red Army, who voluntarily surrendered to captivity, moreover, two prisoners "were shot without any reason." I note that from the Soviet side, in all likelihood, there have been cases of brutal extrajudicial killings of prisoners of war - evidence of this is, for example, the “Konarmeysky diary” by Isaac Babel.

Several additional materials of the collection (including modern photographs) relate to the graves of captured Red Army soldiers in Poland. These are mainly 1936-1938 documents received from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as reports from Soviet diplomats on the condition of the graves and on measures to put them in order, in cases where it was necessary. As of 1997, in Poland there were 13 burial sites for servicemen and prisoners of war of the Red Army during the Soviet-Polish war, in which 12 035 people were buried. As Z. Karpus and V. Rezmer note, “those who died in the camps were buried in separate cemeteries located nearby. Throughout the interwar period, they were under the tutelage of the Polish military and civilian authorities. Cemeteries were fenced, put in order, they installed modest monuments and crosses. Some of them have survived to the present day, and if necessary, the exhumation of Russian prisoners of war interred there can be carried out. ”

It is impossible not to mention the related issue of the collection, which was mentioned at the end of the Polish preface and related to the fate of Polish prisoners: “... during the Polish-Soviet war 1919-1920. martial law on the fronts often changed. In the first period of the war, the Poles occupied Vilna, reached Berezina, and then captured Kiev. In the summer of 1920, the Red Army reached the Vistula and threatened Warsaw. The victories won by both sides of the conflict resulted in the capture of many soldiers of both the Polish Army and the Red Army. After the end of the conflict with Soviet Russia, the Polish military authorities summed up the balance of their own losses. It follows from it that more than 44 thousand soldiers of the Polish army fell into Soviet captivity. As a result of the exchange of prisoners of war, only about 26,5 thousand people returned to Poland, so there is an urgent need to clarify the fate of those who did not return home. ”

The collection contains many tables and various digital data. When publishing such reports, typos are inevitable, the total number of which, however, turned out to be very small. As an example, I’ll note a statement about prisoners returning from Poland according to 1 data on November 1921 G.: the total number of prisoners arrived at that time was 73 623, not 82 623 people, as mistakenly stated.

In conclusion, it remains to quote the statement of the chairmen of the Russian and Polish editions of the collection - Head of the Federal Archival Agency of Russia Vladimir Kozlov and Director of the General Directorate of the State Archives of Poland Darya Nalench: “The joint work created by Polish and Russian scientists is another contribution to the disclosure of poorly studied pages of the history of Russia and Poland XX c., contributes to the further humanization of relations between our countries. "

The Red Army soldiers in Polish captivity in 1919-1922 Sat documents and materials. Moscow - St. Petersburg, “Summer Garden”, 2004. 912 with. 1000 ind.

Post scriptum

Many years ago, in their programmatic statement, the founders of Memorial stated, it would seem, the obvious: that the past cannot be the property of any political camp. Proceeding from this, Polish and Russian researchers have been dealing with the difficult issues of our common history for the first year, relying not on transient political conjuncture, but on documents.

Thus, a book appeared which is reviewed by Alexey Pamyatnykh.

Unfortunately, politicians do not want to read the works of historians, as this could cloud their black and white view of history. As if to confirm this, shortly after the book was released, Deputy Secretary of the Security Council of Russia Nikolay Spassky stated in an interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta from October 5:

“We told the truth about the crimes of Stalinism and about innocent victims, including foreign citizens. Some other countries, in particular Germany and Italy, did this. But not all. For example, Japan and the same Poland can hardly reconcile with their own past

It's one thing to recognize and tell the truth. Another thing is to constantly apologize for your own past. In that case, let's all apologize to each other for everything. Then let Poland apologize for the 1605 — 1613 intervention and for the death of tens of thousands of Red Army soldiers who died in Polish concentration camps in the 1920-1921 years. Let England ask for forgiveness for the occupation of the Russian North during the Civil War, and the United States and Japan for the occupation of the Far East. ”

Someone who, as the representative of such a serious authority, must know the facts and the scientific works devoted to them. He can argue with them if he has documents indicating that the situation was different. But writing about “Polish concentration camps” instead of prisoner of war camps is outrageous negligence.

It is difficult to agree with Nikolai Spassky and when he claims that the truth about the crimes of Stalinism was uttered, since in recent years the process of its disclosure was clearly stalled, as evidenced by at least the impasse in the Katyn investigation.

Let's discard demagogy and do not make empty statements on the ashes of the twentieth century. And yet - we will talk to each other.


On September 7, the traditional Person of the Year and Organization of the Year awards were presented at the XV International Economic Forum in Krynica-Zdruj, which were awarded to leading politicians, businessmen, public figures and cultural figures, as well as public organizations of Central and Eastern Europe. The public organization of the year was recognized by the Memorial Society, marked as “an organization whose activities contribute to the mutual understanding of Central and Eastern Europe.” The “Person of the Year” Prize was awarded to the head of the Solidarity movement and the first popularly elected President of Poland, Lech Walesa.


1Zbigniew Karpus. Jency i internowani rosyjscy i ukrainscy w Polsce w latach 1918-1924. Torun, 1991. In Russian, see the articles of Z. Karpus in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (2000, 19 Oct.) and “New Poland” (2000, No. 11). The theme of the Soviet-Polish war 1919-1920. and, in particular, questions about the fate of prisoners of the Red Army were repeatedly discussed in “New Poland”, see for example. interview with Boris Nosov (2000, # 11); Bogdan Skaradzinsky (ibid.); Natalia Podolskaya (ibid. And 2004, №3); Andrzej Novak (2005, #4); Jerzy Pomianovsky (2005, No. 5). Statements by Russian historians on the issue can be found, for example, in Nezavisimaya Gazeta (these articles are also available in the newspaper’s electronic archive on the Internet): Vladimir Daines, 3.11.2000; Irina Mikhutina, 13.01.2001; Vladimir Grivenko, 22.03.2001. I will note another important article concerning the total number of captured Red Army men: Gennady Matveyev // “Questions of History”, 2001, No. XXUMX, p. XXUMX-9.
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“Non-profit organizations, unregistered public associations or individuals performing the functions of a foreign agent,” as well as media outlets performing the functions of a foreign agent: “Medusa”; "Voice of America"; "Realities"; "Present time"; "Radio Freedom"; Ponomarev Lev; Ponomarev Ilya; Savitskaya; Markelov; Kamalyagin; Apakhonchich; Makarevich; Dud; Gordon; Zhdanov; Medvedev; Fedorov; Mikhail Kasyanov; "Owl"; "Alliance of Doctors"; "RKK" "Levada Center"; "Memorial"; "Voice"; "Person and law"; "Rain"; "Mediazone"; "Deutsche Welle"; QMS "Caucasian Knot"; "Insider"; "New Newspaper"