Sunday, May 02, 2010

Acknowledging the sins of the past

Russia has made a bold (albeit symbolic?) move to acknowledge one of its darkest moments of World War II -- the massacre of thousands of Poles that was ordered by the Kremlin.

This story might have received more interest from the mainstream U.S. media if they weren't deeply involved in covering the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico (and the president's growing involvement in handling the crisis), the hearings on Capitol Hill dealing with Goldman Sachs and now the likely planned act of terrorism in New York City.

Of course, in Europe the decision ordered by the Russian president Dmitri Medvedev is big news. One newspaper -- The Guardian -- suggests the decision is symbolic but important evidence that the Kremlin is seeking better diplomatic relations with Warsaw. A Polish newspaper report says an even more relevant symbolic gesture can be seen in the decision to remove posters of Josef Stalin from various places in Moscow.

Whether the release of the Katyn-related documents is indeed a sign of a "spirit of goodwill" or perhaps indicative of an even larger political aim cannot be deciphered right now. But the openness doesn't erase the other concerns various governments have about Russia's intentions to be a full player in the international arena.

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