Poland’s Smoleńsk Sect Defies Logic, Demanding Faith in False Idol Over Facts

When Poland’s government hired Antoni Krauze as spin doctor for the Smoleńsk Sect, they unwittingly gave the world a blow by blow account of how a very Polish conspiracy theory was propagated. Today, on the seventh anniversary of the air accident, the same government that has been ripping open the coffins of those who should be left to rest in peace has hammered down the nails in that of its own paranoia.

poland_comment_kaczynski smolenskLast week, Poland’s deputy chief prosecutor Marek Pasionek announced that charges would be brought against Russian air traffic controllers alleged to have “deliberately” brought about the April 10 2010 air accident that killed then Polish President Lech Kaczyński by giving misleading instructions about a landing that was attempted in thick fog and very likely under pressure.

Today, on the seventh anniversary of the accident, an investigation commissioned by Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party – headed by the late President’s twin brother and backbench MP Jarosław – has announced that the plane had already started breaking up before crashing into trees. The investigation presentation on April 10 2017 states: “As a result of experiments, we can say that the most likely cause of the explosion was a thermobaric charge initiating a strong shockwave, which destroyed obstacles encountered, ruptured the hull of the aircraft, threw out seats and the bodies of the victims, and ripped off their clothes. Is this what happened in Smoleńsk on 10 April 2010?”

That same “maybe?” was a tool exploited in Mr Krauze’s Smoleńsk to the embarrassment of the Polish film industry when his movie was released in 2016. But it’s not the only issue with the Smoleńsk mythology that has been disseminated over the past months.

The most obvious problem with the conclusions published this week and last is, why were Russian air traffic controllers giving misleading instructions to the crew of a plane that a) had already exploded or b) they knew was going to explode imminently?

The fact is, this didn’t happen. We have the recordings from the cockpit, verified by the military prosecutor in Poland, to prove this.

There’s an underlying issue too, and one that is potentially more destructive: why, in the face of the evidence, does PiS insist that this could not have been an accident – even more so, that it must have been assassination? Why does this government, driven from behind the scenes by party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, require that the Smoleńsk crash was an attack on Poland?

Mr Kaczyński lost his twin brother in the Smoleńsk accident. That, anyone must accept, is a personal tragedy – especially for one who has demonstrated such obvious problems in forming relationships beyond the maternal and fraternal. He is a man in perpetually suspended grief, unable to move on from anger and finger pointing towards acceptance. Perhaps this is because accepting the Smoleńsk crash as an accident would be accepting it as force majeure, an act of god; it’s easy to see how Mr Kaczyński, a Pole of Mickiewicz’s “Christ Among Nations” mindset, might find it far more desirable that his beloved brother’s death was brought about by the will of Vladimir Putin, rather than the will of God.

A man guided by such grief and anger is clearly unfit to lead a country. And in fact, although he is head of the Law and Justice party, Mr Kaczyński is in the Polish machinery of state a backbencher, with no legal authority or responsibility greater than any other ordinary MP. Yet at the same time he has created for himself the role of eminence grise, and knowingly or not he uses this position of dominance to channel things he personally cannot come to terms with to Polish society as a whole. And there are Poles who do and will follow him, blindly and without question, as a false idol. In this little man, this backbencher, this useful idiot, we see a personality hell bent on splitting Poland in the service of his own personal grief – a man determined to propagate a vision of what happened, regardless of the truth.