The revision of tragedy: why Poland is revising the version of the death of Kaczynski


“Victims of terrorism”

The plane crash Polish President Lech Kaczynski near Smolensk (crash occurred on 10 April 2010) the Minister of defence of Poland Antoni Macierewicz called an “act of terrorism”. This official statement made on Saturday, but in Moscow it was noticed only two days later.

“It is worth remembering that we were the first victims of terrorism in the 1930-ies, and in Smolensk, we can say we were the first victim of terrorism in modern conflict that is unfolding before our eyes”, — quotes the Polish TV channel TVN24, the statement of the Minister on anti-terrorist conference in Warsaw. According to Mazarevica, there is no doubt that what happened in Smolensk, was aimed to deprive Poland of leadership, “which led the nation to independence”.

During all six years since the tragedy of Mazurewicz was a staunch supporter of the version that the President’s plane exploded in the air, and are not destroyed in the collision with the ground. In 2011, Mazurewicz, then the member of Parliament who was in the opposition party “Law and justice” (PiS), headed the Commission of the diet on investigation of the causes of the disaster. Its findings confirmed the version of Mazarevica, but contrary to the official investigation, which led authorities of Poland. After the victory of PiS in the parliamentary elections in October of last year, Macierewicz took the post of defense Minister and almost immediately announced that it would seek a review of the results of the work of the government Commission. In February, the investigation was reopened, and in April, the sixth anniversary of the tragedy, the results should be made public.

Three investigations of the same accident

The presidential plane Tu-154 crashed during landing at the airport Smolensk-North. On Board were 96 people, they all died. Among the victims of the crash were President kaczyński and his wife, representatives of the higher military command of Poland, members of Parliament, representatives of the government, public and religious figures, who flew to Katyn on the occasion of the remembrance events dedicated to the 70-th anniversary of the NKVD shooting of captured Polish officers.

After the crash to conduct an independent investigation into the causes of the incident the Russian and Polish parties, was chosen by the interstate aviation Committee (IAC). According to conclusions the POPPY, the cause of the crash of the presidential plane was the refusal of the crew to choose another place to land, even though the captain had prior information about bad weather conditions. In addition, MAC has established that in the cockpit was commander of the Polish air force Andrzej Blasik who allegedly demanded the crew to land in Smolensk.

In Poland a study of the circumstances of the disaster took over the national Committee for accident investigation led by internal Affairs Minister Jerzy Miller. In July 2011, the Committee Miller presented a report stating that the cause of the crash was the descent of the aircraft below the minimum permitted altitude, causing the plane crashed into a tree and fell to the ground. In its conclusion the Commission stressed that the explosion on Board the plane.

The parliamentary Commission under the leadership of Mazarevica such a conclusion did not suit its experts concluded that the damage one of the wings of the aircraft could not be obtained from the collision with trees. The Commission expressed the hypothesis according to which on Board before hitting the ground could cause an explosion in the fuselage, the victims of which became most of the passengers. Another explosion — in the President’s cabin — by the Commission of Mazarevica, occurred after the plane hit the ground. This hypothesis, in their opinion, confirmed traces of high temperature on the wreckage, as well as the location of the wreckage at the crash site.

In August 2011 the investigation into the crash at Smolensk was restored. In April 2014 the head of the district Prosecutor of Warsaw Ireneusz Selong exclude that on Board Tu-154 had been explosives, and in March 2015 the military Prosecutor’s office of Poland brought in absentia charges against two dispatchers of the airport of Smolensk in the “unintentionally bringing before the crash”. But then the Polish side noted that the main cause of the accident were the actions of the crew.

Political version

The return to power of supporters of Kaczynski meant a revision to the official version. Back in February when resuming the investigation of Macarevich, citing data from the State investigative Committee, said that the plane has collapsed at a height of approximately 15-18 feet above the ground. Brother of the deceased President and leader of PiS Jaroslaw Kaczynski demanded not only the investigation of the accident and investigate the causes of “errors” allegedly committed by the Miller Commission. The Chairman of the new Commission Vaclav Barcinski stated that the previous examiners had used only those materials that fit into their final report. Then the authorities of Poland have announced plans to appeal to the European court of human rights in order to force Russia to pass on the Polish side of the wreckage.

Moscow itself partly provoked the emergence of alternative versions of the crash, handing the Polish side of the wreckage of the plane, says a senior researcher of the Institute of Slavic studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vadim Volobuev. The Russian authorities explain why the fragments of the fuselage and transferred to the Polish side, the fact that the investigation of circumstances of accident in Russia is still not finished, and the Polish experts were able within six weeks to work with the debris. The last time the issue of transfer of fragments of the hull of the aircraft was raised this January. “If the Russians are holding on to the wreckage for so long, so this is an element of a political game,” — said the Minister of foreign Affairs of Poland Witold Waszczykowski. On the Russian foreign Ministry responded with a statement in which it was stated that “the investigating authorities of the Russian Federation continues investigation of criminal case initiated on the fact of the crash, in which fragments of the airliner are material evidences”.

According to Volobuyev, Macierewicz since his appointment as head of the parliamentary investigation Commission was convinced that the plane was blown up, and the results of the Commission’s work of Miller for him didn’t matter. Addressed to experts working in the Commission of Mazarevica, in Poland sounded criticism — in particular, due to the fact that they were not at the crash site and only studied the materials collected by their colleagues. However Volobuev believes that the Polish authorities should wait for further steps to investigate and perhaps attempt to involve European structures. In any case, positively on the relations between the two countries statements such as this the words of the Polish Minister, will not affect, the expert concludes.

Macierewicz has already received from the Russian Investigative Committee with the title “new leader” in the “race for the most ridiculous and stupid statements”, as the press-Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov called the Minister’s statements “sweeping”. Press Secretary of the Polish Embassy in Moscow Bartosz Cichocki unable to comment on the statement by the head of the defense Ministry of the country.