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The Polish Air Crash of 2010 Posted by on Apr 25, 2011 in History, News

Well, «дорогие читатели» [dear readers], this is going to be a depressing post. It is about «авиакатастрофа в Смоленске 10 (десятого) апреля 2010 (две тысячи десятого) года» [the plane crash in Smolensk on April 10, 2010]. It made headlines at the time and a year later, people are still talking about it. Why? Read on to find out. 

«10 (десятого) апреля 2010 (две тысячи десятого) года» [On the 10 of April 2010], «президент Польши Лех Качиньский» [the president of Poland Lech Kaczynski] was flying to «Смоленск» [Smolensk]. He and a Polish delegation were going to take part in a commemoration of «Катынский расстрел» [the Katyn massacre]. The entire delegation was aboard one plane, «Ту-154» [a Tupulev Tu-154].

In the airport where they were supposed to land, there was «сильный туман» [heavy fog]. Because of this, the plane could not land and crashed. «Восемьдесят девять пассажиров и семь членов экипажа погибли.» [Eighty-nine passengers and seven crew members died.] «В их числе — президент Польши, его жена и почти всё вышее военное командование.» [Among them were the president of Poland, his wife, and almost all of the military high command.]

Of course, this was a terribly tragic event and Poles mourned in Warsaw that evening. (There were some very moving pictures of a candlelight vigil in Warsaw on the BBC website.) But very soon after, people started to question what happened and ask who was at fault. Some said (and still say): «Россия виновата» [Russia is guilty]. Others said it was simply an accident. There was an investigation. «По результатам расследования, все системы самолёта работали нормально.» [According to the investigation, all the airplane’s systems were working fine.]

The whole event is controversial–I’ve heard that some Poles reject the investigation’s findings. For what it’s worth, I attended «семинар в Оксфорде» [a seminar in Oxford] at which Norman Davies, a renowned historian, said that he thinks the whole thing was just an unfortunate accident.

«После авиакатастрофии» [After the air crash], Poland held elections for a new president. The man who won is named Bronislaw Komorowski and I’ve heard that his detractors have nicknamed him Komoruski because of his (alleged) sympathies towards Russia. (I say “alleged” because I really do not know that much about the man.)

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About the Author: Natalie

I'm Natalie and I love the Russian language and sharing my knowledge with others. I graduated from university with a dual degree in Russian language & literature and history.