Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attempted to improve relations between his country and Poland by addressing some wrongs committed by the Soviet Union—and later Russia—against its Baltic neighbor in recent decades. He offered an apology in an article he penned for the Polish paper Gazeta Wyborcza that ran Tuesday. —KA
Mr Putin described as immoral the non-aggression pact between Russia and Nazi Germany at the outset of the Second World War. He also acknowledged that the massacre of thousands of Polish officers by the Red Army at a forest near the village of Katyn had stirred powerful emotions in Poland, amid continued anger at modern Russia’s attitude towards the crime.
In a piece in the same newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski highlighted the lack of freedom in Poland during the Soviet period. Meanwhile, Russian commentators welcomed Mr Putin’s conciliatory remarks as bringing hope of better ties with Poland, but at least one writer felt the Poles should be grateful to the Soviets.