Saturday, April 10, 2010

Poland / Katyn Massacre

President of Poland Killed in Plane Crash in Russia
By Ellen Barry, Michal Piottrowski and Nicholas Kulish
The New York Times, April 10, 2010
"A plane carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and dozens of the country's top political and military leaders crashed in a heavy fog in western Russia on Saturday morning, killing everyone aboard. Television showed chunks of flaming fuselage scattered in a bare forest near Smolensk, where the president was arriving for a ceremony commemorating the murder of more than 20,000 Polish officers by the Red Army as it invaded Poland. ... The crash came as a staggering blow to Poland, killing what may be a tenth of country's top leadership in one fiery explosion. In the numb hours after the crash, leaders in Warsaw evoked the horror of the massacre at Katyn, which stood for decades as a symbol of Russian domination of Poland. 'It is a damned place,' former president Aleksander Kwasniewski told TVN24. 'It sends shivers down my spine. First the flower of the Second Polish Republic is murdered in the forests around Smolensk, now the intellectual elite of the Third Polish Republic die in this tragic plane crash when approaching Smolensk airport. This is a wound which will be very difficult to heal,' he said.
Former president Lech Walesa, who presided over Poland's transition from communism, cast the crash in similarly historic terms. 'This is the second disaster after Katyn,' he said. 'They wanted to cut off our head there, and here the flower of our nation has also perished. Regardless of the differences, the intellectual class of those on the plane was truly great.' ... Among those on board, according to theWeb site of the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, were Mr. Kaczynski; his wife, Maria; former Polish president-in-exile Ryszard Kaczorowski; the deputy speaker of Poland's parliament, Jerzy Szmajdzinski; the head of the president's chancellery, Wladyslaw Stasiak; the head of the National Security Bureau, Aleksander Szczyglo; the deputy minister of foreign affairs, Andrzej Kremer; the chief of the general staff of the Polish army, Franciszek Gagor; the president of Poland's national bank, Slawomir Skrzypek; the commissioner for civil rights protection, Janusz Kochanowski; the heads of all of Poland's armed forces; and dozens of members of parliament. [...]"

1 comment:

Please be constructive in your comments. - AJ