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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Poles Request More Details on Their Communist Past

A delegation of Polish historians met with the head of Russia's archives in Moscow on Wednesday in search of the truth about dark moments in relations between the two countries.

Marian Wojciechowski, the delegation's leader, and chief director of the nation's state archives, handed Rudolf Pikhoya, his Russian counterpart, a letter from President Lech Walesa of Poland addressed to President Boris Yeltsin, Itar-Tass reported.

Walesa's letter lists key periods of history that the Poles would like to see clarified, including the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981, the Soviet Union's reaction to the Polish revolt in Warsaw in 1945, the severance of relations between the Soviet Union and the Polish government in exile in London in 1943, and the activities of the Moscow-based Politburo of the Polish Communist Party.

The Polish PAP news agency said Tuesday that Wojciechowski would be handed copies of KGB security police and presidential documents pertaining to these events.

In the letter, Walesa also thanked Yeltsin for "a historic gesture" in handing over documents last month revealing how Josef Stalin had ordered a massacre of some 15, 000 Polish officers in and around Katyn Forest in 1940, Itar-Tass said.

The gesture raised Polish hopes that Russia would unearth other secret documents about events that cast a shadow over relations long before Poland ended Communist rule in 1989.

Details of a protocol signed by Soviet and German foreign ministers Vyacheslav Molotov and Joachim von Ribbentrop that preceded the Nazi and Soviet invasions of Poland have long been kept secret.

An aide to Yeltsin said last week the original version of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and other documents had been discovered in Soviet Communist Party files.