New Polish government takes down findings on Russian air disaster
Thursday, November 26, 2015
The Law and Justice Party of Poland, which took power last week, this week removed web pages featuring the results of an investigation into the in Russia in 2010. The cause of the crash, which killed Polish President , is disputed.
The flight was carrying high-profile political figures to attend a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the, when thousands of Polish prisoners of war and civilians were killed by the . All 96 on board died. Amongst the dead were First Lady , several members of the lower parliamentary house known as the , Deputy Foreign Minister , head , and , the last President of the .
The Law and Justice Party was in power at the time, led then as now by Lech Kaczynski's identical twin brother. Jaroslaw was himself Prime Minister of Poland from 2006 to 2007. Jaroslaw contested the vacated Presidency later that year but was defeated by of the . Lech and Jaroslaw co-founded Law and Justice.
Russian and Polish investigations deemed the crash an accident. Edmund Klich, head of the Polish air accident investigatory body, said in 2010 the Polish military pilots of thewere determined to get the dignitaries through dense fog so they could attend the ceremony. He said the pilots were insufficiently trained and put safety second, whilst Russian should have diverted the aircraft away from . Passengers entered the cockpit during the final stages of the flight.
Government spokesman Elzbieta Witek yesterday said, a former Prime Minister, should be prosecuted before the , although Witek said this was a personal view and not government policy. Jaroslaw and allies have insinuated Russia purposefully brought the plane down.
Law and Justice accuse Tusk, Prime Minister from 2007 to 2014, of failings before and after the crash. He is accused of not ensuring the President was safe, of not establishing an international investigation, and of allowing Russia to maintain possession of the wreckage.
Russia'sperformed its own investigation blaming solely Poland's pilots and exonerating the controllers. Upon receiving the first draft of their report in 2010 Tusk branded the contents "unacceptable", the findings "without foundation", and the overall result a breach of the , an international regulatory document on air travel.
Tusk resigned last year to take thePresidency until 2017. Witek said he had "given away" investigative control. Polish minister has previously called for Tusk's prosecution after his European duties conclude, saying he has "a lot to answer for" over the disaster.
Polish conspiracy theorists have been spurred on by Russian refusal to accede to Polish requests to return wreckage, which the Russians claim to still be investigating.
The new Prime Minister is Law and Justice's. Asked on Tuesday about one disappearing website containing investigative findings, Szydlo told press "the website has been closed and will simply remain closed."
- "'Unacceptable' and 'without foundation': Poland rejects Russian air crash report" — Wikinews, December 20, 2010
- "Bronislaw Komorowski sworn in as president of Poland" — Wikinews, August 10, 2010
- "Investigation into Polish air crash reveals passengers in cockpit" — Wikinews, May 19, 2010
- "Poland: Around 100,000 people attend public memorial for victims of plane crash" — Wikinews, April 18, 2010
- "Polish president and first lady lie in state ahead of funeral" — Wikinews, April 13, 2010
- "Polish President Lech Kaczyński dies as his plane crashes in Russia" — Wikinews, April 10, 2010
- "Smolensk air crash: Poland's Tusk targeted by new government" — , November 25, 2015
- Vanessa Gera (AP). "New Polish Gov't Reopens Questions About 2010 Plane Crash" — , November 25, 2015