Smolensk plane crash: new stage of investigation
After six years, Poland again starts to investigate the plane crash, killing Polish President Lech Kaczynski and other state officials
April 10, 2010 there was the largest among plane crash that killed the first persons of the country. Six years ago, near Smolensk, Polish President Lech Kaczynski and several senior Polish officials were killed in a plane crash.
Airliner TU-154M, that belonged to Polish Air Forces, was flying from Warsaw. 96 people were on the board, the Polish delegation was sent to Smolensk (Russia) to mark the seventieth anniversary of Katyn massacre.
The plane crashed while landing at Smolensk airport. All the people – 89 passengers and 7 crew members - were killed. The victims of the tragedy were Polish President Lech Kaczynski and his wife Maria, head of the Office of the President Vladislav Stasiak, head of the National Bank of Poland Slawomir Skrzypek, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Kremer, as well as representatives of the Armed Forces, a number of public and religious figures of Poland.
Poland had lost the key leaders in one day. Investigation of the disaster is still going on. From time to time, Russia and Poland make new statements on the accident, but so far the direct causes of the tragedy are unknown.
A year after the tragedy were released the reports on the investigation. In January 2011, the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) released its report on the investigation of the accident, and in July, there was a document of the Commission to investigate the state aviation aircraft accidents (Ministry of Internal Affairs of Poland). The submitted documents highlighted the adverse weather conditions, leading below the minimum height, collision with trees and as a consequence, contact with the earth, and complete destruction. Both reports indicated the wrong actions of the crew of the aircraft. The media also has repeatedly wrote about the presence of unauthorized persons in the cockpit, which could put pressure on the pilots to land the plane in bad weather conditions. Allegedly, it is a chapter of the Polish air force Andrzej Błasik.
Supreme Chamber of Control of Poland also issued a report, according to which the airport "Smolensk-Severnyi" was not included in the Polish Register of existing airfields, and Kaczynski's plane did not have to land.
In 2012, the "Law and Justice" party members released their own version of events, according to which the crash occurred as a result of the explosions. The parliamentary investigation team, headed by the deputy Antoni Macierewicz, now he is the Minister of Defense of Poland, has denied the findings of the investigation and announced the possibility of an explosion on board.
All these years the Smolensk tragedy overgrown with multiple versions, from a bomb on board of the aircraft up to the great conspiracy. Just recently, Poland resumed the investigation of plane crash near Smolensk. The investigation was reopened by the decree of Macierewicz. A commission was set up to find out the cause of the accident. The commission included 21 people. It was headed by the engineer of the "Boeing" and NASA consultant of the International Civil Aviation Organization Vaclav Berchinsky. It also includes four foreign experts: American forensic pathologist Michael Biden, the British flight engineer, a consultant in the field of flight safety, Frank Taylor, an engineer and a pilot from Denmark Glenn Jørgensen and Russian economist Andrei Illarionov.
Explaining the reasons for the resumption of the investigation, Macierewicz said that there is a need to re-examine the tragedy because of the emergence of new data. In particular, he said that the plane was destroyed at an altitude of about 15-18 m above the ground. According to him, 400 reports and information cards, which on day of the disaster were transferred to the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces, have been destroyed. He also criticized the past investigation and failure to include in the report "Russia's responsibility for what happened."
Later he told about the "terrorist attack" on the board. The head of the Ministry of Defense is sure that the action was aimed at depriving the people of Poland, who led the country to independence. In Russia, his application considered absurd. Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski also expressed the view that the crash of the plane looks like an attempt to eliminate the Polish leadership.
Closer to the memorable date there are new details about the crash. Gazeta Polska said that Russia gave Poland together with the victims of the Smolensk disaster remains of others. Here again emerges the name of Donald Tusk, who at the time was the prime minister. According to the newspaper, Tusk was informed that the Russians in the coffin of Ryszard Kaczorowski put the remains of another person.
The party "Law and Justice", whose leader is the twin brother of the deceased president Jaroslaw Kaczynski, previously vested responsibility for the disaster in the political sense on the then Polish Prime Minister Tusk.
"I am confident that the results of the investigation will help us get closer to the truth, to convey the military prosecutor's office materials and justly condemn those responsible for this terrible tragedy", - the Minister of Defense he said.
What is important is the fact that now the party is "in charge", so the issue of the investigation of the Smolensk tragedy takes on a new twist. In particular, now in Poland, there is an accent on the possible guilt of Russia. Do not forget that Tu-154 wreckage are still in the Russian Federation. Under Russian law, they must remain at the disposal of Russian investigators to complete the investigation. Russia promises to return them to Poland upon completion of the investigation.
"If the Russians hold the fragments so long, so it is an element of some political games. We want to go to Moscow and openly ask whether the Russians are going to use the aircraft wreckage in Polish politics or foreign policy towards Poland," notes Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The expert of the Russian International Affairs Council Stanislav Kuvaldin believes that the Commission of Inquiry is not so much a professional expert body as a political structure associated with the new head of the Ministry of Defense, a representative of the party "Law and Justice" Macierewicz.
"With high probability, the result of the work of the subcommittee will be the emergence of sensational alternative versions, as happened with the previous Commission of Macierewicz, who after a stormy discussion will be refuted by experts. However, for some time, all these conjectures will be drawn into a public space, becoming members of political pressure. And when these speculations will be no longer the opposition and the ruling party, that uses the state apparatus, it will definitely enhance the effect, but the situation goes too far. A large part of Polish society steady rejects the "Smolensk conspiracy". In addition, the subject is so intertwined with the domestic classifications that "Law and Justice" cannot find enough allies to its unwinding. After all, the recipient of attacks, "Law and Justice" is not so much Russia, but its political rivals of the "Civic platform"," he said.
"Civic Platform" has already stated that the resumption of the commission's work will not lead to anything good.
"There is no need to reopen the wound again and the memory of the 96 victims. The prosecutor's office could complete the investigation, to close investigations and make conclusions from it," said the chairman of the party "Civic Platform" Grzegorz Schetyna.
Publicist Michal Sutovsky of Krytyka Polityczna also thinks that the Commission will have a political purpose.
"It is worth noting that such statements inspire the opinion that this committee is not for clarifying the truth, the truth study, but rather a confirmation of some theses that sound on top. No one can influence the subcommittee to investigate the Smolensk disaster, which is part of Commission on aircraft accident investigation state aircraft. It is the prerogative of Defense Minister Antonia Macierewicz," he said.
The former Polish Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak suggested that the real reason for the resumption of the investigation might be an attempt to blame the crash of former Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk.
Some officials from the previous government are also under the sign. Relatives of the victims are suing the former head of the Office of the Prime Minister Tomasz Arabski, two employees of the Office of the Prime Minister and two employees of the Polish embassy in Moscow, who organized the visit of the delegation to Smolensk.
Whatever it was, the ruling party led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski is now beginning a new stage of the investigation, which, as recent events show, is gaining powerful speed and can provide new and important information.
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