Skoblin's History Blog

This blog is composed of articles and translations written by Skoblin pertaining to the Soviet Security forces, White Russian underground movements and Russian counter-revolutionary forces during the 1920s and 1930s. Skoblin can be reached at

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Katyn Documents (III)

Note from the Chairman of the KGB, A. N. Shelepin to N. S. Khrushchev regarding matters pertaining to the NKVD operation corresponding to the Politburo resolution from 5 March 1940. (3 March 1959)

Top Secret

To Comrade Khrushchev N. S.

In the Committee for State Security, Council of Ministers USSR, are stored records and other materials concerning prisoners and interned officers, gendarmes, policemen, settlers, landowners and other persons of the former bourgeois Poland, who were executed in 1940. According to the decisions of a special troika of the NKVD USSR, some 21.857 persons were executed, including: in the Katyn forest (Smolensk region) 4.421 persons, at Starobelsk camp near Khar'kov 3.820 persons, at Ostashkov camp (Kalinin region) 6.311 persons and 7.305 persons executed in other camps and prisons in the Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia.

The entire operation involving the liquidation of the indicated persons was conducted on the basis of the Resolution of the TsK [Central Committee] of the KPSS [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] from 5 March 1940.
According to the files, all these persons were condemned to capital punishment by those in charge of them as war prisoners and interned persons in 1939.

No one has divulged information regarding these files from the moment the operation was carried out, that is, since 1940, and all the records pertaining to these
21.857 persons have been sealed

These files present neither an operational interest nor a historical significance for the Soviet authorities and they hardly constitute a valid interest for our Polish friends. On the other hand, any unforeseen circumstances leading to the disclosure of the operation which was conducted may bring about undesirable consequences for our government. This is especially the case in regards those who were executed in Katyn forest, for which there exists an official story, corroborated by an investigative commission set up by the Soviet authorities in 1944, named: "the Special Commission concerning the identification and investigation of the Polish military officers executed by the German-Fascist invaders in the Katyn forest."

According to the conclusions established by this commission, all the Poles who were liquidated there were destroyed by the German occupiers. Materials relating to the investigation were widely reported in the Soviet and foreign press at that time. The conclusions of the commission are firmly established in international public opinion.

Pursuant to this, it seems expedient to destroy all files of the persons who were executed in 1940, in accordance with the described operation.

In order to adress possible questions regarding the policy of the TsK [Central Committee] of the KPSS [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] or the Soviet government, there remains the records from the meetings of the troika of the NKVD USSR, which condemned the indicated persons to be executed and documents concerning the implementation of the troika's decisions. The overall size of these documents is not large and they may be kept in a special pouch.

A draft resolution for the TsK
[Central Committee] KPSS [Communist Party of the Soviet Union] is attached.

Chairman of the Committe for State Security, Council of Ministers

A. Shelepin

3 March 1959.


Draft Resolution of the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

Top Secret

Resolution of the Presidium of the TsK KPSS


To permit the Committee of State Security, Council of Ministers USSR, to destroy all files regarding the operation conducted in accordance with the Resolution of the TsK KPSS from 5 March 1940, except the minutes from the meetings of the troika NKVD USSR.


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