“Russia killed Polish president” – Kaczynski family

The family of the late Polish president have blamed Russia for the plane crash that took the lives of Lech Kaczynski and 95 of the country’s top officials, in denial of the official international investigation and the final report of the IAC.

Marcin Dubieniecki, the son-in-law of Lech Kaczynski, claims the crew of the plane which crashed in Russia in April 2010 was deliberately misinformed about the aircraft's altitude.

He told the Polish TV channel TVN24 that Moscow planned the assassination to get revenge on Kaczynski for his support of Georgia during the conflict in South Ossetia, in August 2008, and to avoid his reelection.

The late president's twin brother Jaroslaw, for his part, has called the official investigation report “a mockery of Poland.”

Meanwhile, Poland’s Interior Ministry says that Russian air traffic controllers were involved in the plane crash that killed Lech Kaczynski. The statement is the first step toward a new report on the tragedy which is due to be presented in February, and is expected to reveal the results of Poland’s own investigation.

The report, drawn up by the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) and dismissed by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, includes a reconstruction of the plane’s last minutes according to the aircraft’s flight recorders.

It suggests the main reasons for the crash were an error by the inexperienced Polish crew, a lack of preparation for the bad weather, and pressure from highly-ranked passengers.

Earlier on Tuesday, Interfax news agency cited a source in Russian aviation circles who dismissed the assassination theory of the Polish president’s plane crash as “fantasy”.

Despite this, the Russian Investigation Committee plans to question an eyewitness of the plane crash once again in the presence of Polish prosecutors in February. The Polish delegation will visit Russia seeking answers to questions their side may still have.

The political aim of blaming Russia for the death of the Polish president is to keep the Law and Justice Party of the Kaczynski brothers alive after its defeat at the last elections, believes Dmitry Babich, a political analyst from RIA Novosti news agency.

“For Jaroslaw Kaczynski and his people, reminding [Polish] people of this disaster and blaming Russia is just a way of political survival.”

The investigation cannot be divided into investigation from the ‘Polish side’ and from the ‘Russian side’, said Babich.

“It is obvious that what happened is just the result of misconduct of highly placed officials, in Poland and probably in Russia,” he said, because if Kaczynski’s plane had not been allowed to land in Smolensk he would have made a huge international row out of it.

“It is just an indicator of how bad Polish-Russian relations were at that moment.”

The new investigation initiated by the Polish side would not move the issue forward “because there is no percentage [of guilt] that would satisfy both sides.”

“In Poland and in Russia there are nationalists who think that the fault is 100 per cent on the other side.”

­Eugeniusz Smolar, Senior Fellow at the Center for International Relations, says there will always be some people in Poland who will question Russia's actions.

“The Kaczynski party is trying to mobilize its members under a slogan of traditional Polish-Russian strife, conflict and lack of confidence. There is about eight per cent of the Polish population that does believe that this tragic accident was not an accident at all,”
Eugeniusz Smolar points out, adding that anyway, any statements of Marcin Dubieniecki who is a private person, do not have any political significance.

Discussing Poland’s accusations Anton Bespalov from the Voice of Russia radio station suggests that Poland’s history of constant crisis in relations with Russia makes the Polish party search for something they believe is missing in the IAC’s report.

In fact, the Polish investigation and Polish society in general, probably, even at the highest levels, are looking for a missing link which is a presumed order from Moscow to the Smolensk air-controllers to give the clearance, because they believe Moscow will be embarrassed if the Polish president had to fly elsewhere,” he says.