In 1943, a German radio broadcast announced that a mass grave was discovered in the Katyn Forest area, just outside of Smolensk, Russia. The victims of the massacre were believed to be those of Polish Officers taken captive in the 1939 Russian Invasion of Poland. Stalin immediately denied the accusations, claiming that this was just a German tactic to make him and his government look like the bad guys. When this news reached the Polish Government in Exile, the new government founded after Poland was captured by Germany and the Soviet Union, they called for an investigation by the International Red Cross to determine its legitimacy as a claim. Once Stalin found out that there was a call for an investigation, he cut off all ties with the Polish Government in Exile and the International Red Cross. Although the majority of people believed that Stalin ordered the execution of thousand of Poles in 1940, the official truth was not announced until 1990, when Gorbachev made a statement confirming that Stalin ordered the Secret Police (NKVD) to execute all the Poles that they had imprisoned from the 1939 invasion.
Stalin rationalized the initial invasion of Poland by saying that he was liberating Ukraine and Belarus citizens from oppressive Polish landowners, officials, and officers. The Soviets took thousands of prisoners, but quickly realized that taking care of them would prove to be more expensive then beneficial. Therefore, Lavrentii Beria, the People’s Commissar for Internal Affairs, was given the go ahead to execute almost all of the Polish prisoners they had simultaneously at all the different location they were keeping them.
To this day, Russia and Poland remain divided on the event as to what it should be classified as and if further reparations are necessary. Poland sees it as an act of Genocide while Russia sees it as an event that took place during war. This debate will most likely go on for quite awhile without an official agreement or solution.