Russia and Poland in bitter row over nationality of Auschwitz's victims

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The Nazi death camp of Auschwitz is at the centre of a bitter dispute between Russia and Poland, with Moscow accused of seeking to inflate the figures for Soviet wartime victims and Warsaw charged with trying to rewrite the history of the second world war.

The authorities -- in charge of the camp where around 1.5 million people, overwhelmingly Jewish, were murdered on an industrial scale -- are blocking the re-opening of the permanent Russian exhibition at the site because it classifies innumerable Polish, Jewish and other Auschwitz victims as "Soviet citizens".

The row between Russia and Poland over the second world war is also poisoning relations between Moscow and other parts of central Europe previously under Soviet control. Senior Russian politicians are calling for a boycott of Estonia because of plans to remove a memorial to the Red Army troops who routed the Germans in 1945, while a petition movement in Hungary is gaining ground also demanding the demolition of the Soviet war memorial in Budapest.

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