Poland’s Ambassador to Russia, Krzysztof Krajewski, has strongly criticized the Russian authorities following the dismantling of commemorative plaques honoring Polish victims of Soviet repression. The plaques, placed at a memorial complex on the site of a mass grave of Soviet victims in the regional city of Vladimir, were removed amidst growing tensions between the two nations.
Russian pro-government media had published articles condemning the memorial, characterizing the figures commemorated as enemies of the state. Responding to the removal, Ambassador Krajewski expressed his dismay, stating, “We observe with sadness the consistent negative policy of the authorities, which remove places commemorating Poles.” He emphasized the lack of logical explanation for these actions, highlighting the absence of respect for the deceased and the erasure of historical markers.
Among the figures commemorated was Jan Jankowski, a key figure in the Polish government during World War II. Jankowski’s conviction in the Soviet Trial of Sixteen and subsequent imprisonment symbolize the Stalinist actions that the ambassador condemned. Another notable figure, The Blessed Klemens Szeptycki, recognized for saving Jews from extermination during the war, was also remembered on the plaques.
This incident is part of an alarming trend in Russia, where historical markers related to Soviet-era atrocities, particularly those involving Poles, are being erased. In recent months, similar removals have taken place in cities like Yakutsk and St. Petersburg, with memorials dedicated to exiled and repressed Poles being dismantled.
The dismantling of these plaques is seen as a direct attack on the shared history between Russia and Poland, further straining diplomatic relations. The erasure of these memorials not only disregards the suffering of the victims but also undermines the importance of acknowledging past atrocities for building a reconciled future.
Uroczystość we Włodzimierzu nad Klaźmą na miejscu zniszczonego pomnika.— PLinRussia 🇵🇱 (@PLinRussia) October 22, 2023
22 października 2023 r. Ambasador Krzysztof Krajewski z Małżonką oraz współpracownikami uczcił pamięć J. S. Jankowskiego, Prezesa Krajowej Rady Ministrów Polski Podziemnej. pic.twitter.com/EJOXOs1swz