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31 July 201715:53

Comment by the Information and Press Department on refusal to include Russia in the international renovation project of the Museum of the Former Sobibor Nazi Death Camp

1429-31-07-2017

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The Foreign Ministry is disappointed with Warsaw’s refusal to include Russia in the international renovation project of the Sobibor museum and memorial.

It should be pointed out that Russia was invited to participate in the renovation project in 2013. Under the initiative of Poland, Israel, the Netherlands and Slovakia there are plans to build a new memorial, a visitor centre, as well as to provide the necessary infrastructure. Russia responded to the invitation in the affirmative and expressed willingness to be actively involved in the commemoration of the extermination camp victims, including participants of the heroic 1943 revolt organised by Soviet prisoners of war and led by Red Army officer Alexander Pechersky. In addition to this, Moscow offered to make a significant financial contribution to the development of the memorial.

However, any further discussion of Russia’s involvement in the project with Poland was of no effect. Under various pretexts, Warsaw dragged out its final decision conditioning Russia’s participation on yet more terms which still have not been communicated to Russia. Finally, this July, Warsaw sent an official message stating that at a meeting on June 12−13, 2017, the project’s International Managing Committee decided to continue collaboration in the same composition that has existed for several years.

We see this decision as unethical in terms of the historical truth. It is hard to deny that Russia’s involvement in building a new Sobibor memorial and museum is absolutely justified. There is no rational explanation for ignoring historic facts and this must not go unnoticed by the global community. The intention to prevent Russia from participating in the project is part of Warsaw’s openly demonstrated anti-Russia sentiment and Poland’s attempts to impose its own understanding of history by belittling the Soviet Union’s and the Red Army’s role as liberators during WWII.

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