April 11, 2010
A Plane Crash Changes PolandBy Jane Jamison
Katyn Forest in Russia carries its curse on Poland forward again in the new millennium.
A plane crash in the Katyn forests near Smolensk, Russia has killed the president of Poland, a true patriot of Eastern Europe, and the top tier of his leadership. The crash removes, in one fell swoop, a freedom-loving president who jut-jawed communists, and many of those who sympathized with him and might have replaced him. The incident could impact politics in the region for decades to come.
The death of Lech Kaczynski, his wife, Maria, and dozens of others is heavy with historical Polish/Soviet irony due to the location of the crash and the timing.
Not only was the Polish president killed in the crash, but so were many of his deputies, military leaders, anti-communist activists, and Poles who have ties to the victims of Katyn.
As noted by the Times, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin held a ceremony noting the 70th anniversary of the massacre at Katyn Wednesday. He invited Polish Prime Minister Tusk to attend, but he did not invite the Polish president. President Kaczynski decided to lead his own delegation to a separate Polish-sponsored ceremony.
This would have been the first "ceremonial" acknowledgment to the world of Russia's evil hand in the assassination of Poland's World War Two leadership.
Though the Polish president's plane apparently tried to land four times in dense fog near Smolensk, there is speculation, and rightly so, about whether this was an accident.
Conservative British journalist Daniel Hannan puts some of the elements together in the UK Telegraph:
Many of those killed by the Russians seventy years ago with the Polish leaders were Jews.
The Jerusalem Post notes Kaczynski's close ties to Israel and the Jewish people:
Lech Kaczynski has been such a prickle in the paw of the Soviet Union that it is hard to believe that he was a welcome visitor this week or anytime.
As noted by the New York Times, Kaczynski was a stubborn advocate for the independence of former Soviet satellites Georgia and Ukraine, he lobbied hard for the anti-ballistic weapon systems promised by the Bush administration which were recently canceled by President Obama, and despite that setback, had vowed to host American surface-to-air missiles in his country.
The ceremony at Katyn was to be a cathartic "coming together" of supposedly repentant Russians with the Polish people, yet the Polish president was somewhat of a "rogue" party-crasher, as he was not recognized by the earlier "official" Russian ceremony.
A foe of communism, a friend of freedom, a friend to Israel, and intending to defend his country with military might, Polish President Lech Kaczynski was no friend to Russia, and now he is gone. Prime Minister Tusk, who was cozying up to his Russian counterpart Putin of late, survives.
There is much to learn about this plane crash. Why would the pilot repeatedly insist on trying to land in dense fog on Russian soil when it was suggested that he turn back? The "official" Russian investigation is going to be handled by Russian Prime Minister Putin, who is also the former head of the Soviet KGB.
The plane crash which has removed the plucky Polish president and his top leadership may be found to be an unfortunate accident. If so, it is certainly a very convenient coincidence for Vladimir Putin.
Jane Jamison is editor of the conservative news/commentary blog UNCOVERAGE.net.