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English Section

Poland marks decade since presidential air crash

10.04.2020 10:20
Poland's top officials on Friday morning attended events to mark the 10th anniversary of a fatal presidential plane crash in Russia—a disaster that scarred the national psyche.
Polands ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński (left) takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Warsaws Piłsudski Square on Friday.
Poland's ruling party leader Jarosław Kaczyński (left) takes part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Warsaw's Piłsudski Square on Friday.Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka

Friday marked exactly a decade since a Polish plane carrying President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and 94 others, including top political and military figures, crashed near Smolensk, western Russia, killing all those on board.

Due to safety precautions amid a coronavirus epidemic, this year’s anniversary events were less high-profile than in previous years.

Officials followed social distancing rules as they laid wreaths at a statue commemorating President Lech Kaczyński in central Warsaw and at a separate monument unveiled in 2018 to honour all 96 victims of the disaster.

Meanwhile, President Andrzej Duda paid tribute to the late presidential couple in the crypt at Wawel Cathedral in the southern city of Kraków where they are laid to rest.

A raft of other ceremonies were scheduled for later in the day, with physical attendance limited due to social distancing precautions prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jarosław Kaczyński, the head of Poland’s governing Law and Justice (PiS) party and the late president’s twin, told Polish Radio on Friday morning that his brother was "a central figure" in Polish politics and a driving force behind some of the key changes in the country.

His legacy carries on “even though he is no longer with us,” Jarosław Kaczyński said.

Polish Radio remembers

Public broadcaster Polish Radio was on Friday paying tribute to the victims of the national tragedy a decade ago.

To mark the 10th anniversary of the plane crash, the names of all 96 victims were read out in a special roll call of honour on all Polish Radio stations beginning at 8:41 a.m., the exact time of the crash on April 10, 2010.

At 4:00 p.m., all Polish Radio stations and the polskieradio.pl website were due to air a special symphony concert in tribute to the victims of the tragedy.

Polish Radio has issued two CD albums to mark the anniversary of the air disaster.


Source: IAR