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16 Jul, 2010 18:17

Conspiracy theories over Kaczynski plane crash persist

Although the Russian investigation into the deadly crash of Lech Kaczynski’s presidential plane has been completed, rumors and conspiracy theories remain despite the fact Poland is said to be satisfied with the findings.

When the plane, carrying polish president Lech Kaczynski and 95 other state officials came down in the Smolensk region, killing all on board, Russia and Poland united in grief. Moscow showed it was willing to go out of its way to make sure the investigation was both open and swift. But some took the tragedy a lot more personally than others.

Understandably, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the brother of the late president and a leader of the Law and Justice party was one of them, voicing concern with how the case is being run.

“The progress of the investigation is to say, at least, minimal – it is stalled. Polish investigators haven’t received important documents from Russia on what has happened yet. This situation causes suspicion,” Jaroslaw Kaczynski said at the time of the presidential campaign.

However, specialists in flight safety see no flaw with the conduct of the investigation.

“It didn’t have to cut any corners because really, the causes of this accident were very straightforward,” said David Learmount, Operation and Safety Editor of Flight International Magazine. “I mean that it’s the kind of accident which has happened many times in the history of aviation. It is the most common type of fatal accident in aviation history.”

Those, who worked with Russian investigation teams say laying the blame on them is not fair.

“There was a joint investigation which I think was very wise for both sides,” believes John Cox, Chief Executive Officer from Safety Operating Systems based in Washington. “I know that there have been an ongoing series of conversations and efforts – because we do need to understand what happened to that plane.”

So where does the doubt in the transparency of the investigation and the causes of the crash come from? Some believe politics could be at play.

“There is a strong media coverage of this issue and there is a political fight between parties using this crash,” said Elzbieta Kaca, project coordinator and Researcher from Poland’s Institute of Public Affairs.

As often happens, it was a tragedy that broke the ice between two people. Lech Kaczynski’s death brought Moscow and Warsaw closer than they've been in decades. Now that relationship will have to withstand conspiracy theories, too.