Page last updated at 12:18 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 13:18 UK

'Stalin victims' found in Belarus

Belarus map

The remains of more than 20 suspected victims of Joseph Stalin's secret police have been found in the basement of a church in northern Belarus.

Soviet bullets were found with the remains at Glubokoye, a village which had been in Poland but fell into Soviet hands in 1939.

A youth group discovered the remains earlier this week, reports say.

Local historians said the victims had most probably been shot by the NKVD secret police between 1939 and 1941.

"I think we can all but rule out any suggestion that these people were shot by the Germans during the occupation," historian Igor Kuznetsov told Reuters.

"First, there are the cartridge cases from Soviet weapons. Second, the Germans carried out public executions and these people were killed in secret, in a manner typical of the NKVD."

Soviet forces occupied eastern Poland in 1939 after the signing of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact. Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941.

In 1940, more than 21,000 Polish army officers and intellectuals were executed on Stalin's direct orders in the Katyn Forest near the city of Smolensk, in western Russia.

For decades, the Soviet authorities blamed Nazi Germany for the Katyn massacre.

Print Sponsor

Russia acts against 'false' history
24 Jul 09 |  Europe
Stalin's new status in Russia
27 Dec 08 |  Europe
The whitewashing of Stalin
10 Nov 08 |  Magazine
Film reopens Poland's Katyn wound
05 Oct 07 |  Europe
Russia to release massacre files
16 Dec 04 |  Europe
Stalin's Polish victims mourned
03 Sep 00 |  Europe


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2018 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific