From 18 to 21 May, a meeting of the Polish-Kazakh Historical Commission was held in Gdańsk and then in Białystok.
Among others, the Chair of the Commission from the Kazakhstan side, professor Ziyabek Kabuldinov, Director of the Cz. Walichanow Institute of History and Ethnology at the Science Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Almaty came to the meeting.
On Sunday, May 21, taking advantage of the presence of Kazakh historians in Białystok, the delegation from the Vilnius Genocide Research and Resistance Movement Center of Lithuanian Citizens, which runs the Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius, came to the capital city of Podlasie.
The Center is one of the signatories of the agreement on creating a network of museums of Central and Eastern Europe, which was signed on the initiative of the Sybir Memorial Museum in December 2022 in Białystok by representatives of centers from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and the Białystok facility. All these museums tell the story of the Soviet occupation, repressions and deportations that the nations of Central and Eastern Europe experienced at the hands of the Soviet Union.
As part of the cooperation network, they will prepare joint projects, including research, exhibitions, and educational activities. One of the first effects is giving an international dimension to the initiative of the Sybir Memorial Museum, i.e. Memorial Peloton, which takes place in August and reminds us of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact, which approved the division of Europe into the German and Soviet spheres of influence. In 2023, the Peloton will also take place outside of Poland for the first time.
In the presence of the Director of the Sybir Memorial Museum, Professor Wojciech Śleszyński, and delegations from Lithuania and Kazakhstan, an agreement was signed between the Cz. Walichanow Institute of History and Ethnology at the Science Committee of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan in Almaty, represented by its director — Professor Ziyabek Kabuldinov, and the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of Lithuanian Citizens, represented by its director, Arunas Bubnys, PhD.
The agreement provides for research, education and popularization cooperation.
For Lithuanians, accessing Kazakh documents on deportations from the Soviet era is as important as it is for us, Poles. Lithuanians were deported to the Kazakh SSR in the 1940s, both during and after World War II.
As Russian archives are closed to European representatives, historical sources from Kazakhstan become all the more important.