Memorial "Katyn" is located 20 kilometers from the center of Smolensk, between the villages of Gnezdovo and Katyn, on the site of the tragic events of 1930–1940s, victims of which were citizens of the two countries - the Soviet Union and Poland.

The memorial complex consists of two parts: the territory where the residents of  Smolensk – the victims of political repressions are buried, and the Polish military cemetery.

The creation of the Katyn Memorial was initiated by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation "On the Creation of Memorial Complexes in the Burial Grounds of Soviet and Polish Citizens – Victims of Totalitarian Repression in Katyn (Smolensk Region) and Mednoe (Tver Region)" of October 19, 1996.

By the time the memorial was opened on July 28  2000, the Polish military cemetery was constructed, while the memorialization of the burial grounds of Soviet citizens was not completed.

In 2017, in accordance with the Concept of State Policy for perpetuating the memory of the victims of political repressions and within the framework of the Federal Program "Culture of Russia (2012–2018)" a new museum and exhibition center on the territory of the Memorial was built and the improvement of the Russian part of the burial places was started.

The  exposition "Russia and Poland. The XXth century. Pages of History" which tells  about the history of Russian-Polish relations in the XXth and the beginning of  the XXIth centuries is located in the new museum and exhibition center.   

In 2018, in the "Valley of Death" – the part of the Memorial where the mass graves of Soviet citizens are located – the sculptural composition created by the People's Artist of Russia A. N. Kovalchuk was opened, which includes the monument "Shooting" and the Memorial Wall, on which the residents of the Smolensk region sentenced to death as victims of political repression are immortalized.

Reconstruction of previously built and creation of new museum-exhibition and memorial objects was carried out by the State Central Museum of Modern History of  Russia and the Russian Military Historical Society.