Poles increasingly confused over Smolensk disaster

Poles increasingly confused over Smolensk disaster

Just under half of respondents have told an opinion pollster they do not know who to believe as to the cause of the April 2010 Smolensk air disaster.

Birch tree near Smolensk airport which official report says was struck by TU-154 before crashing; opposition claims it was damaged on 5 April, five days before disaster: photo - wikicommons

Birch tree near Smolensk airport which official report says was struck by TU-154 before crashing; opposition claims it was damaged on 5 April, five days before disaster: photo – wikicommons

The poll by TNS Polska found that 45 percent answered „don’t know” when questioned as to what caused the plane crash which killed President Lech Kaczynski and 95 others in western Russia, an increase of 11 percent since a similar poll was taken in April this year, on the third anniversary of the tragedy.

The poll’s results are published in a week where the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) have continued to claim that evidence suggesting that the TU-154 hit a tree before crashing to the ground in heavy fog near Smolensk airport is false.

Law and Justice, led by the late president’s twin brother Jaroslaw Kaczynski, has long claimed that official investigations by both Russia and Poland – which found human error to be at the centre of the causes of the crash – covered up vital evidence, which the party claims shows that the disaster was not an accident but a deliberate attempt to kill the president.

The TNS Polska poll finds that 36 percent accept the official version of events, as presented in the Polish report prepared by former interior minister Jerzy Miller, with just 14 percent believing claims by Law and Justice’s MP Antoni Macierewicz, who has led an opposition parliamentary committee into the causes of the Smolensk air crash.

Five percent said they believe the report by Russia’s investigative committee (MAK).

MP Macierowicz recently led a conference, which was streamed online, though its location was not disclosed, which presented a series of accusations by witnesses, such as Stefan Bramski from the state Institute of Aviation, who claimed „terrorists” had planted a bomb on the plane carrying President Kaczynski to a 1940 Katyn massacre memorial service.

Chris Cieszewski, a professor from the University of Georgia claimed that a birch tree, which the official report found had broken off part of the wing of the TU-154 on impact before crashing to the ground, was, in fact, damaged five days before the disaster and not during the crash.

The Polish government has dismissed the accusations as being anti-Russian conspiracy theories by an opposition party determined to implicate the Civic Platform-led government in the causes of the disaster.

(pg)

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