OnSeptember 1st, 1939, partsoftheWehrmachtcrossed the border with Poland and began its occupation; on September 17th the Red army crossed its eastern borders. September 1939 marked the beginning of the national tragedy for Poland. The central symbol of this tragedy was the Katyn massacre – a mass execution of 22 thousand captive Polish officers carried out by the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs (NKVD), the Soviet secret police, in the Katyn forest in Russia. After the division of “spheres of influence” in Europe between Stalin and Hitler the majority of Ukrainian and Belarussian territory was annexed to the USSR.
According to the norms of international law actions of the USSR were considered as aggression. In order to legitimize annexation of the western Ukrainian and western Byelarussian territory to the world community and local people, the administration of the USSR voiced its concern as to the security of the brotherly Ukrainian and Belarussian peoples. The so-called “reunion” of the Western Ukraine with the USSR called for legal legitimization. The Bolsheviks arranged everything in such a way as if the initiative to “reunite” was coming from local Ukrainian people and it was them who addressed the authorities with the request to accept them as a part of the USSR. With this purpose on October 22nd, 1939, the Soviet government organized in Western Ukraine “elections” to the People’s Meetings. Propaganda in the USSR proclaimed democracy of the election process, while only one surname (usually of a loyal to the government person) was listed on the ballot paper. Elections were held according to the plan of Bolsheviks. As a result the winners were candidates from the Bolshevik party. On October 26-28, 1939, at the People’s Meeting, the Declaration on annexation of Western Ukraine to the USSR was signed.