The Polish War Cemetery in Mednoye was set-up between 1999-2000 on the initiative of the Council for the Protection of Struggle and Martyrdom Sites. The opening ceremony took place on 2 September 2000.
Before that, in the course of archeological works carried out at the cemetery in August 1991 and continued in 1995, experts discovered 25 mass graves with the remains of the prisoners of war from the Ostashkov special camp murdered in Kalinin (now Tver) in 1940. After the executions, the Soviets transported the bodies of the murdered about 30 km away and brough them in the vicinity of the NKVD resort.
In 1991 archaeologists excavated the bodies of 246 prisoners of Ostashkov. Among more than 400 artifacts there were: filed flasks, briefcases, belts, cups. Even candles were found in the pockets of the murdered. Father Zdzislaw Peszkowski – a Soviet prisoner in 1940, initiated a prayer at one of such lighted candles, in the presence of other team members.
Historians found the exhumations in Mednoye particularly dramatic, due to difficult terrain, hostile attitude of the local population and events in Moscow (the coup of Gennady Yanayev aimed at toppling Mikhail Gorbachev). Alexei Pamiatnykh of Memorial, a great advocate of the fight for the truth about Katyn, recalls: „We watched the suppression of the coup and Gorbachev’s return directly in the forest, in a large military tent on a portable TV. And we clapped our hands…”. However, there were also some Russian researchers and politicians who questioned the results of the research in Mednoye and demanded the liquidation of the Polish War Cemetery.