ROME – An Italian parliamentary commission has concluded “beyond any reasonable doubt” that the Soviet Union was behind the 1981 shooting of
Pope John Paul II, the first time an official body has blamed the Kremlin for the failed assassination. The draft report, obtained by The Associated Press Thursday, said the pope was considered a threat to the Soviet bloc because of his support for the Solidarity labor movement in his native Poland. Solidarity was the first free trade union in communist eastern Europe.
The Italian report said Soviet military intelligence ? and not the KGB ? was responsible. Russian Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman Boris Labusov called the accusation “absurd.”
“All assertions of any kind of participation in the attempt on the pope’s life by Soviet special services, including foreign intelligence, are completely absurd,” he said, according to the Interfax news agency.
In its report, the commission said Moscow was alarmed because “Poland was the main military base of the Warsaw Pact, its main supply lines and troop concentrations were there.”
“This commission believes, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the leaders of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate the pope Karol Wojtyla,” the document said. Wojtyla was John Paul’s Polish name.
The draft has no bearing on any judicial investigations, which have long been closed. If the commission approves the report in its final form at a meeting Tuesday, it will be the first time an official body has blamed the Soviet Union. – MORE