12 Apr 2018

One in four Poles believe Smolensk tragedy was a Russian attack

Eight years ago, a Polish plane crashed in Smolensk, Russia, killing 94 top state and army officials, including President Lech Kaczyński and his wife. Every fourth Pole believes the tragedy was not  an accident.

Zuzanna Piechowicz
Zuzanna Piechowicz Tok FM, Poland
Source: Tok FM
One in four Poles believe Smolensk tragedy was a Russian attack - NewsMavens
East News

Why this story matters:

They say that every American remembers exactly what they did on September 11, 2001. The same is true of Poles on April 10, 2010.

Although most of Poland accepts the findings of the report of the Commission on Aircraft Accidents, which thoroughly investigated the causes of the crash and concluded that it was a tragic accident, conspiracy theories still thrive.

The ruling PiS party, led by Jarosław Kaczyński, twin brother of the deceased president, has used the crash as a political tool. He and his party continually imply that the Russian government is behing the catastrophe, thus encouraging the anti-Russian sentiment of the Polish far-right.

Now, what the other side needs is a counter-narration. One that not only explains the past but also proposes solutions for the future. One can only overcome mythology by having an alternative story to offer.

And this is exactly what the Polish opposition has long lacked. No one wants to touch the explosive "Smolensk" narrative, and as a result, the conspiracy theory endures and prevails.

politics, conflict

Details from the story:

  • According to a survey by Kantar Millward Brown for TVN and TVN24, 26% of Poles believe that the Smolensk catastrophe was a Russian coup.
  • This year’s commemoration was marked with the unveiling of a monument in memory of the victims.
  • The ruling party continues its investigation, often with questionable methods. Contrary to the decision of some of the victims' families, they exhumed the bodies of their dead relatives. 
  • Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Polish PM at the time of the crash, was summoned for interrogation by the prosecutor's office in Warsaw.

Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
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