Vladimir Ryzhkov makes a rather convincing point about President Medvedev’s efforts to prevent the “falsification” of history – that the best way to do this would indeed be to fully open up the Soviet archives. Sure, one could imagine that there would be some unpleasant revelations along with the exonerations – as there would be for almost any government – but fears of exposing the conduct of Russia’s secret service forebearers is not sufficient reason to keep the archives under lock and key. As it currently stands, this secrecy imparts some sort of sense of guilt or shame over what resides in the archives, instead of the confidence of openness and the perspective that the Russian Federation cannot be responsible for the past conduct of the Soviet Union.
Most of the documents connected with the 1940 execution of more than 20,000 Polish officers at Katyn, which was carried out by the NKVD under direct orders from Stalin, also remain locked away. After Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and Yeltsin officially acknowledged the massacre and released many related documents from government archives, then-President Putin decided to do an about-face. The chief military prosecutor recently closed the investigation into the tragedy, and even the decision to halt criminal proceedings was deemed classified. The Kremlin’s decision to sweep the matter under the carpet raises the question whether Russia really wants to break with Stalin’s bloody past or whether it has a sick attachment to it. (…)
Itis absurd that documents regarding the famine deaths of millions ofpeople in 1932 and 1933 in southern Russia and Ukraine are stillclassified. Interestingly enough, Russia never tires of accusingUkraine of falsifying history when Kiev claims that the Holodomor, orfamine, was an act of Soviet (read: Russian) genocide against theUkrainian people. Moscow maintains that Stalin’s policy of seizing foodsupplies was directed against all the agricultural regions of theSoviet Union — mainly Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan — regardless ofethnicity. If that is the case, why doesn’t the Kremlin immediatelydeclassify those documents and expose Stalin’s decisions? In this way,the Kremlin warriors for historical truth could pull the rug out fromunder Ukraine’s allegedly “brazen attempt to falsify history.”