Memory of Smolensk Air Disaster is part of our identity: Jarosław Kaczyński

“We want to pay tribute and preserve the memory of the Smolensk Air Disaster, as it is part of our national identity,” deputy PM Jarosław Kaczyński, leader of Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party, said on the 12th anniversary of the Smolensk crash. He added that the common knowledge about the incident "had nothing to do with the truth" and that further concessions to Russia made by the West may result in similar situations as currently in Ukraine.

Poles commemorate the 2010 presidential plane disaster

see more

"What happened in Ukraine could have happened in Paris, Berlin and Rome as well. Cowardice and stupidity always lose, and in Moscow they are able to take advantage of it," Mr Kaczyński said, referring to the Western approach towards the Kremlin before the outbreak of the war in Ukraine.

“Whenever we are here we think of paying tribute, of remembering all those who died in this particular, as it used to be said, disaster, accident,” he stated.

Mr Kaczyński recalled that from the very beginning he had spoken of “a great need for truth and striving to answer the question of what really happened.”

“There was indeed a catastrophe. But was it just an ordinary catastrophe, or an accident, or a coincidence?” he asked.

“Many of us in our minds and in our hearts had great doubts. Very many knew, in fact, that it was not true, that the whole story we heard officially had nothing to do with the truth. But to have a hunch, to have even the deepest conviction, and to have evidence and a closed, consistent answer to the question of what led to this tragedy is a great difference,” he pointed out.

On April 10, 2010, at 8:41 a.m., President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and dozens of senior government officials and military commanders were killed in the air disaster near Smolensk, Russia. The delegation was on its way to nearby Katyn to attend events marking the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyn Massacre, in which close to 22,000 Polish POWs, mainly army officers, policemen, and administration staff, were murdered at the hands of the Soviets.