Foreign Policy Blogs

Poland Mourns the Loss of its Leaders

Poland Mourns the Loss of its LeadersPoland and Poles worldwide of all political stripes are grieving the death of President Lech Kaczynski and his entourage and fellow passengers following the plane crash near Smolinsk, Russia that has claimed over 97 victims of Poland’s elite. Some of Poland’s most important leaders and political figures were on their way to a memorial for the victims of the Katyn massacre where Soviet secret police killed many Polish prisoners of war and dumped them in unmarked graves in 1940.

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The 97 dead included the army chief of staff, the head of the National Security Bureau, the national bank president, the deputy foreign minister, the deputy parliament speaker, the civil rights commissioner and other members of parliament. Also aboard the plane were war veterans and surviving family members of Poles killed by the Soviets. There was 90-year-old Ryszard Kaczorowski, Poland’s last “president-in-exile” during the Soviet years. And Anna Walentynowicz, the shipyard worker whose dismissal in 1980 sparked the Solidarity union protests that eventually led to the collapse of Polish communism. Kaczynski’s wife was also one of the victims of the crash two days ago.

The reason for the crash has not yet been revealed, but it is assumed that weather and perhaps miscommunication by the small airport and aircraft may have lead to the crash which happened on approach to landing. Global outreach to Poland and its temporary leaders in this crisis has been strong. Poland plans to move up elections marked for October to help continue to have a legitimate and functioning government. Kaczynski’s twin brother may play a major role in the upcoming elections for his party.



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Richard Basas

Richard Basas, a Canadian Masters Level Law student educated in Spain, England, and Canada (U of London MA 2003 LL.M., 2007), has worked researching for CSIS and as a Reporter for the Latin America Advisor. He went on to study his MA in Latin American Political Economy in London with the University of London and LSE. Subsequently, Rich followed his career into Law focusing mostly on International Commerce and EU-Americas issues. He has worked for many commercial and legal organisations as well as within the Refugee Protection Community in Toronto, Canada, representing detained non-status indivduals residing in Canada. Rich will go on to study his PhD in International Law.

Areas of Focus:
Law; Economics and Commerce; Americas; Europe; Refugees; Immigration


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