After the crash – Poland prepares to bury a president
WARSAW’s candles are short and thick, and protected from the wind by little lanterns made of red or yellow glass. Each evening, thousands of them are left outside the presidential palace. The visual effect is of a sea of lava. On a chilly spring night they create a warm breeze that welcomes pedestrians on Krakowskie Przedmiescie, one of the city’s main thoroughfares.
Thousands have walked here to add their flame: second world war veterans in uniform; young career women in heels and suits; tattooed, thick-necked heavies in leather jackets; children being taught history by their fathers; angelic nuns, in spectacular clothing; punks.
By morning the street resembles a gigantic bottle bank. Loud crashes of glass accompany the clean-up. Firemen check the scene for safety. Street sweepers scrape wax off the pavement. Then street vendors begin to turn up for another day of business. They open the backs of vans, set up makeshift tables and wheel in supermarket trolleys packed with fresh lanterns.
T-shirts, mugs and even stitch-on “Katyn” badges are already available for purchase. Stalin was right when he said communism would never really take off in Poland. The Smolensk air crash, again, is demonstrating this country’s unique blend of mysticism and resourcefulness.
Religion plays a complicated role in Poland. The country has plenty of devout believers, who go to confession and pray at night. But most of the people leaving candles at the palace probably aren’t especially good Catholics.
Many Varsovians are as liberal, cosmopolitan and agnostic as Londoners or New Yorkers. But in moments of tragedy, like this, Poles turn to religion for hope and for unity…
Receiving sympathy from international statesmen matters to Poles, who feel that throughout history they have been let down and even betrayed by the West… “What a curse,” says an old lady. “God is angry.”
Exchanged tubes after Tu-154 crash (English)
Gazeta Prawna (English Translation)
Atmospheric conditions at the airport in Smolensk, where the Polish plane landed there, the presidential Tupolev Tu-154M, were not difficult, but the extreme – informs on Thursday, the daily Kommersant, citing a source in the committee to investigate the causes of the disaster.
“The likelihood of a disaster with such a landing was very high. The pilot of the presidential machine knew this perfectly well. Nevertheless, he went to justifiable from the standpoint of all flight instruction and elementary common sense risk” – Russian newspaper quoted an anonymous expert.
“Kommersant” reported that when the Polish plane landing on the airport, hung a thick mist, which the lower border ran just 30 meters above the ground, and with visibility in the fog was only 200-400 meters.
“Such a distance down to the landing aircraft clears within seconds, because – as experts say – Presidential pilots descend in a literal sense to blindly” – writes the daily.
According to “Kommersant”, installed in the Polish Tupolev Tu-154M navigation system, capable of identify glide trajectory, in this case could not be helpful, because the airport in Smolensk is not equipped with a suitable landing systems (Instrument Landing System, ILS).
Military airport in Smolensk has only a primitive system of TSO, signaling the pilot only a passing various landmarks. For landing with TSO direct visibility must be 1800 meters, and the lower cloud ceiling may be higher than 120 meters above the ground.
Russian newspaper says that in the time approaches to Smolensk the men investigators crew that landing is impossible and suggested departing aerodrome in Minsk or Moscow, insisted on descending to the point of making decisions which in the case of the Tu-154M is 100 meters above airport.
HOW MANY APPROACH LIGHTS WERE OPERATIONAL?
NO ADDITIONAL NAVIGATION EQUIPMENT FOR PRESIDENTIAL LANDING?
Before the scheduled landing of the presidential plane from an airport near Smolensk probably removed additional navigation equipment that was installed there when the machine landed with Vladimir Putin and Donald Tusk – said, “Moscow Times.
O takiej możliwości pisze na łamach “Moscow Times” znana rosyjska komentatorka Julia Łatynina.
Such a possibility writes in “Moscow Times, Russia’s famous commentator Yulia Latynina.
Kilka dni wcześniej, przed planowaną wizytą Lecha Kaczyńskiego w Katyniu, byli tam także szef rosyjskiego rządu Władimir Putin i premier Donald Tusk.
A few days earlier, before the planned visit of Lech Kaczynski in Katyn, there were also the head of the Russian government Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Donald Tusk.
Wtedy na lotnisko pod Smoleńskiem, gdzie lądowali szefowie obu rządów sprowadzono dodatkowy sprzęt nawigacyjny.
Then at the airport near Smolensk, where he landed the heads of both governments were brought additional navigation equipment.
Według rosyjskiej komentatorki, został on potem usunięty. According to Russian komentatorki, it was later removed.
Informacja taka pojawiła się po raz pierwszy na specjalistycznym forum zajmującym się problematyką lotniczą aviaforum.ru.
Such information appeared first in the specialized forum dealing with issues of air aviaforum.ru.
W czwartek to forum zostało zamknięte. On Thursday, this forum has been closed.
“I tak o nim nie wiedzieli” “And so they did not know about it”
Jednak zdaniem polskich pilotów i ekspertów lotnictwa, nawet jeśli jakiś dodatkowy sprzęt nawigacyjny został zamontowany na czas przylotu Putina, to nasi piloci i tak o nim nie wiedzieli.
However, the Polish pilots and aviation experts, even if some additional navigation equipment was installed at the time of Putin’s arrival, it is our pilots, and so did not know about it.
Pułkownik Bartosz Stroiński, dowódca Tupolewa, którym 7 kwietnia do Smoleńska poleciał premier Tusk powiedział RMF FM, że załoga podchodziła do lądowania, wykorzystując standardowe wyposażenie tamtejszego lotniska wojskowego.
Bartosz Stroiński Colonel, Commander of the Tupolev, which on April 7 to Prime Minister Tusk flew Smolensk RMF FM, said that the crew approached the landing, using standard equipment of the local military airport.
Przyznał, że jest ono dość ubogie. He admitted that it is quite poor.
TVN24 Poland (English Translation)
Landing attempt was only one – said the head of the Russian Interregional Committee on Aviation, Tatiana Adodina. Explicitly rejected in this way earlier reports that the presidential Tupolev Tu-154 approached the landing of three or even four times. On Thursday, the Polish hit one of the three black boxes of the aircraft.
– About three or four trials are false – Adodina clearly stated. It also stressed that one should not trust the information media, which refer to sources close to investigators. It also stated that after the completion of the work the committee will present its findings to the public.
According to investigations Adoniny all details are checked carefully together with the Polish party.
Black box already in Poland
On Thursday afternoon she returned to the Polish black box from the plane of the government, which crashed near Smolensk – Colonel George Artymiak confirmed with the Chief Military Prosecutor’s Office. He added that the box arrived on board the aircraft Globemaster – the same who had brought 34 bodies of victims of the disaster. Polish experts also came back from the accident investigation, cooperating in an investigation.
Research boxes have yet to begin on Thursday at the Air Force Institute of Technology and will last several days. Artymiak explained that the contents of the mailbox must be tested in Poland because it is a Polish product, and only with us, you can read it. The research will be attending the Russian member of the commission investigating the accident. – That the event is tangible proof of the Russian investigation, the future of the Polish side, on the basis of agreement on legal assistance, ask for a formal transfer of the evidence – added Artymiak.
In Saturday’s disaster, the government Tu-154 in Smolensk killed 96 people. So far managed to identify 67 bodies. Coffins with the bodies of the victims, whose names have already confirmed the family returned to the country.
Sydney Morning Herald – MIRANDA DEVINE
… For the first time last week, Russian television aired the award-winning movie Katyn, by the Polish director Andrzej Wajda, whose father was massacred. It was replayed to an even bigger audience three days later, the night of the plane crash.
For many Russians, it was a revelation, because for almost 50 years, the truth about Katyn had been suppressed. It was not until 1990 that Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet communist leader, admitted culpability, but in the West it was played down as an inconvenient artefact of history.
In 1943, when Katyn’s mass graves were discovered, the Soviets blamed Nazi Germany, exhuming the bodies, falsifying records, threatening witnesses and forcing families of victims to remain silent. Poland’s allies, Britain and the US, were told the truth but accepted the Soviet version, as they depended on ”Uncle Joe” Stalin to win the war in Europe.
”There is no use prowling morbidly round the three-year-old graves of Smolensk,” Winston Churchill said at the time. It was a messy compromise that would set the stage for the Cold War, as the English historian Norman Davies wrote in No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939-1945.
For many Poles, Katyn has come to symbolise all the injustices since 1939, when Russia and Germany combined to invade Poland. The war didn’t end in 1945 for Poland, which just went from one oppressor to another, betrayed, maligned, and misunderstood despite its courageous resistance.
Kaczynski and allies were at the forefront of moves to correct the lies but they hadn’t expected to sacrifice their lives. This tragedy has happened at a time when Poland is stronger than it has been since the 16th century. Its economy was the only one in Europe to grow last year and it is tipped to overtake Germany as Europe’s industrial powerhouse. When I was in Warsaw last year, cranes filled the skyline, and many of the million young Poles who had left to work in London were flocking home to plentiful jobs.
But Poland is riven by a concentrated form of the culture wars, with two sides vying for the nation’s future. Kaczynski, from the opposition Law and Justice party, and most of those on board the ill-fated Tupolev jet, represented old Poland: patriotic, devoutly Catholic and anti-communist; many, like Kaczynski, jailed during the communist era, had formed the backbone of the Solidarity movement, were opposed to free-market reforms, remained deeply suspicious of Russia, and were devoted to the US alliance.
They were ”the most patriotic of the political elites … who remained faithful to the ideals of Solidarity, not only in the difficult times of communism, but also in more difficult times of liberalism … who are not afraid to clash with [post-communist foes],” …]
The military ground close to the area where Polish President’s plane crashed in Smolensk was used for testing electromagnetic weapons, which can affect any kind of engines and electric devises, agency Romanian Global News reports based on the information released by the Polish Defense Ministry.
In the article dedicated to the issue, the agency suspects that the tragedy, which took lives of Poland’s almost all anti-Russian top officials, might have been a staged special operation by Russian Special Services.
According to the edition, President Kaczynski’s pilot was one of the best ones, while the plane had no technical problems, and was even equipped with the modern gears, which makes the catastrophe absolutely inexplicable.
“There have never been Russia’s so many enemies in just one plane, so close to the military base, and former “KGB”- Putin could not help jumping into the opportunity.
For FSB, “GRU” (Main Intelligence Directorate), and foreign intelligence that might be a routine operation, which using technical terminology could be titled “destruction of the military political leaders of the enemy country,” Romanian Global News writes.
Following a source of the agency, the official Moscow counted on presence of the President’s brother – Jaroslaw Kaczyński – onboard, although the latter could not attend the president due to the worsened health condition of their mother. “This mistake will cost Russia much.
The accident became uncorrectable mistake for Russia, and a chance for Poland. Supposedly, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who is aware of the real nature of the tragedy, will become Poland’s next president,” the Romanian agency assumes.
Romanian Agency News: Moscow Times: Putin and Tusk, Kaczynski involved in his death?
Statesman – Adam Chmielewski and Dennis Dutton, SPECIAL TO LOS ANGELES TIMES
Many in Poland are mourning the catastrophic plane crash in a forest near Smolensk, Russia, that killed the nation’s president, his wife and 94 other senior members of the Polish political elite. The officials were on their way to a ceremony commemorating the 70th anniversary of the execution of as many as 22,000 Polish officers and intellectuals by the Soviet secret police
But beyond their grief, the Polish people are asking an unavoidable question: What caused the crash?
The plane itself, as has been noted, was far from modern. A Russian-made Tupolev, it had flown in the service of the Polish government since 1972, but officials have said it was carefully serviced and in good condition.
The safety of the airport, which is opened only for special occasions, has been questioned. But Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk flew there without problems only three days earlier to meet Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at the Katyn graves of the Polish and Russian victims of Soviet terror.
Attention has also focused on the dense fog covering the ground around Smolensk in the early hours of the fatal day. The airport was not equipped with technology to allow planes to land safely in fog.
All of these factors are likely to have contributed to the catastrophe, but none alone is likely to have caused it.
It may well be that an underlying and more human contribution to this tragic drama was President Lech Kaczynski’s feeling that he had been left out of the ceremonies that had taken place in Katyn three days earlier between the Polish and Russian prime ministers. According to news reports, Kaczynski had trouble reconciling himself to the fact that Tusk, his political archrival, had stolen the show in commemorating the mass murder at Katyn, and he was eager to reclaim some of the limelight.
During the Soviet era, the executions in Katyn Forest were officially blamed on the Nazis. For generations, Poles had to live with the knowledge of this historic atrocity, at the same time enduring official denial of responsibility by the real perpetrators. This year’s ceremonies were intended to both commemorate the deaths and begin the healing. Now, instead of final resolution, the anniversary has brought Poland an almost unthinkable tragedy…]
This second Katyn offers a message of hope for a country that has won its place as a free fatherland
Guardian – Timothy Garton Ash
… The Poles are mourning another national tragedy as only they know how, with those flickering forests of flowers and candles, with the flags, the church services, the old hymns. In the past, under foreign occupation, when they struck up the patriotic hymn God, Who Protects Poland, they would sing “Return to us, O Lord, a free fatherland”. Now they all sing, without hesitation, “Bless, O Lord, the free fatherland”. For no one doubts that Poland is today a free fatherland.
Even more remarkable is the contrast between the international reaction then and now. This time round, the British party leaders fall over each other to join the US president and the chancellor of a democratic Germany in sending messages of condolence.
The first Katyn catastrope was concealed for decades by the night and fog of totalitarian lies; the second was immediately the lead item in news bulletins around the world. Most extraordinary has been the reaction of the former KGB officer Vladimir Putin, who has gone to exceptional lengths to demonstrate Russian sympathy, repeatedly visiting the crash site, announcing a national day of mourning today, and ordering Andrzej Wajda’s film Katyn (which spares you nothing of the cruelty of the KGB’s forerunners) to be shown on primetime Russian TV.
In 1943, confessing that “in cowardly fashion” he had turned his head away from the scene at Katyn, the head of the British Foreign Office wondered in an internal memorandum “how, if Russian guilt is established, can we expect Poles to live amicably side by side with Russians for generations to come? I fear there is no answer to that question.” But history may even now be producing a most unexpected answer, out of a second Katyn disaster.
Let us, however, have no illusions: it is Poland, with the spirit of all those Poles who have died at Katyn – then and now – which has won itself that answer, and the wider international recognition of its loss, through its own exertions to secure its place as a free fatherland, anchored in Europe and a wider community of democracies. History helps those who help themselves.
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36th Special Aviation Regiment: 36 SPLT
Added Universal link – end