News | Poland | Russia | Transportation

Polish President, First Lady, 94 Others Perish in Plane Crash


A plane carrying Polish President Lech Kaczynski, the first lady, and dozens of top government and military officials crashed in a bleak forest outside Smolensk, Russia in heavy fog as it attempted a landing. All aboard perished. The contingent from Poland was traveling to Russia to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the massacre by the Soviet secret police of thousands of Polish officers in World War II.

Lech There were conflicting reports of the number of people aboard, from 96 up to 132.

The AP reports: "The crash devastated the upper echelons of Poland's political and military establishments. On board were the army chief of staff, national bank president, deputy foreign minister, army chaplain, head of the National Security Office, deputy parliament speaker, civil rights commissioner and at least two presidential aides and three lawmakers, the Polish foreign ministry said. It was not expected to directly affect the functioning of Polish government, however: Poland's president is commander in chief of its armed forces but the position's domestic duties are chiefly symbolic. The prime minister and other top government ministers were not aboard the plane."

The plane was a 26-year-old Tupolev jet. It did not reach the runway:

"The crash site was cordoned off, but Russian media reported that the airplane’s crew made several attempts to land before a wing hit the treetops and the plane crashed about half a mile from the runway. Correspondents reporting from the scene said the plane’s explosion was so powerful that fragments of it were scattered as far as the outskirts of Smolensk, more than a mile from the crash site itself."

I have written much about Kaczynski over the past few years, as well as his twin brother Jaroslaw, the former Prime Minister who is suspected to be gay. President Kaczynski was virulently anti-gay. 

In 2008, he broadcast, without permission, a wedding video of American couple Brendan Fay and Tom Moulton on Poland's national television to illustrate a presidential address he was giving warning the nation that supporting the Lisbon Treaty, which is linked to the EU Charter of Human Rights, would mean that same-sex marriage could come to Poland.

In 2007, on a state visit to Ireland, Kaczynski came under fire for remarks he made that gays would destroy the human race. Said the President on his decision to ban a Gay Pride parade: "If that kind of approach to sexual life were to be promoted on a grand scale, the human race would disappear. Imagine what grand changes would occur in mores if the traditional links between men and women were set aside."

It was a sentiment he had expressed before, as the Mayor of Warsaw.

Izabela Also aboard the plane was Izabela Jaruga-Nowacka, who served as Poland's deputy prime minister between 2004 and 2005 and was an outspoken critic of Lech Kaczynski's homophobic policies when he was Warsaw mayor.

Pink News reports

"Kaczynski as mayor of Warsaw repeatedly banned gay pride marches from taking place within the capital. Jaruga-Nowacka spoke out at a banned event in 2005: 'We are for democracy,' she told the crowd. 'We are for protection of all human rights, not only for some groups who are in the majority in Poland. All citizens have the right to choose their own way of life.' Adding: 'I am here to express my protest against the Mayor’s decision which is a violation of the Polish constitution and of civic rights. I am here to show my respect for the Polish tradition of tolerance.' She regularly spoke at other gay rights rallies where she suffered verbal abuse from extremist nationalists and Christian groups."

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said he would personally head the investigation into the plane crash.

Watch a report on the plane crash from Russia Today, AFTER THE JUMP...

Feed This post's comment feed


  1. Sad

    Posted by: Name: | Apr 10, 2010 9:13:20 AM

  2. Bad riddance to bad rubbish.

    Posted by: Eugene | Apr 10, 2010 9:29:59 AM

  3. thank you, eugene! the man was a bigot and a homophobe, and did nothing to improve poland's image as one of the most ass-backward countries in europe. maybe now it can elect a leader that will help take a place amongst germany, france, the netherlands, spain and the scandinavian nations as a more progressive nation.

    i am sad about nowacka, though.

    Posted by: architectinberlin | Apr 10, 2010 9:59:13 AM

  4. Bastard got what he deserved. Tragic that those other souls had to go down with him...

    Posted by: ichabod | Apr 10, 2010 10:07:39 AM

  5. Dead homophobe boo hoo. Glad he's toast.

    Posted by: Alex M. | Apr 10, 2010 10:17:17 AM

  6. Fuck all you commenters for devaluing life and humanity just as much as he did. His views were atrocious but so is your reaction. Shame on you.

    Posted by: Dave | Apr 10, 2010 10:18:54 AM

  7. @Dave

    "Fuck all you commenters for devaluing life and humanity just as much as he did. "

    LOL. I guess you also think that people who had been killing Nazis were just as bad as Nazis themselves.

    Get a sense of self-respect, Dave. We all need it.

    Posted by: Eugene | Apr 10, 2010 10:37:45 AM

  8. Too soon to dance on his grave? No. Too bad his brother was not on the plane as well. I feel for the families and victims who did not share the Kacynksi's bigotry, but they were trash.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Apr 10, 2010 10:41:11 AM

  9. While Kaczynski himself is not a great loss, there were some 90 in the Polish delegation, including relatives of those murdered at Katyn (when Soviet troops killed the Polish elite en masse) and people involved with Solidarity. Imagine if something like this happened in the US: people would not be joking or taking it so lightly. But ah, they're Poles.

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Apr 10, 2010 10:47:11 AM

  10. This man was raised to believe what he did about gay people. Some people grow and change through personal experience, such as having a gay relative or friend, but sadly, some don't. For many it is just too hard to believe that everything you were told since you were a child... by your parents, your peers, your church and your state - is a lie. You have to look at this man and all like him in the same way that you would look at Thomas Jefferson, who was a slave owner in his day. They were products of their time. Fortunately for gay people, our time has come to change the world and people such as Kaczynski may slow our progress, but they will not stop it. I take no pleasure in his death and our community should show its class by extending our condolences to his family and the people of Poland. Hopefully a more progressive leader will succeed him.

    Posted by: JimSur212Jim | Apr 10, 2010 10:58:00 AM

  11. @Eugene

    Here's your first mistake: "I guess you also think..."

    Don't presume to know what I think and state that I must also be a Nazi sympathizer. It's because my identity and self respect are intact that I value humanity and don't relish the fact that 96 humans died in a plane crash.

    Posted by: Dave | Apr 10, 2010 11:14:49 AM

  12. I said my grandmother's prayer to the Virgin of Czestochowa for the dead. Very sad. Many lights were extinguished on that plane, the brightest of which was Jaruga-Nowacka.

    Posted by: Christopher | Apr 10, 2010 11:40:03 AM

  13. I don't ever want anyone to dance on my grave, so, I will hold back my feelings about this man and his awful twin.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Apr 10, 2010 11:51:12 AM

  14. So sorry, but bye bye homophobe.

    Posted by: Malo | Apr 10, 2010 11:53:46 AM

  15. Oops...

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 10, 2010 11:58:34 AM

  16. No matter what he said or did, he is still a living human being who led his country; his nation elected him and looked to him in times of crisis, and now the entire country faces a crisis with his loss.

    I am ashamed to read the comments on this post. Your lack of empathy for the loss of human life is tragic.

    Also, to whoever compared this guy's death to the death of a Nazi -- Hitler invaded Poland and did awful things to the citizens there. The next time you say or type something like that, imagine you are saying it to a Polish person, and consider the way it would make them feel.

    I'm nominating this thread for the "worst of humanity" award. While we should acknowledge his entire record on issues that relate directly to us, we should use that to downplay the tragedy of his death.

    Posted by: ajd | Apr 10, 2010 12:03:30 PM

  17. DEREK the only ones who would dance on your grave are the Tea Baggers, the Christian Right, the Nazis, and yes, Kaczynski himself.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Apr 10, 2010 12:07:13 PM

  18. "No matter what he said or did, he is still a living human being who led his country; his nation elected him and looked to him in times of crisis, and now the entire country faces a crisis with his loss."

    Is this a quote from Stalin's eulogy (press release) given by an american ambassador? LOL!

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 10, 2010 12:11:09 PM

  19. No matter what he said or did, he is still a living human being who led his country; his nation elected him and looked to him in times of crisis, and now the entire country faces a crisis with his loss.
    What he said and did was bash gays. I'm not sure why you are pining on this piece of shit, perhaps you were one of his rent boys. He hated gays, screwed his country and we are better for his being gone.

    Posted by: patrick nyc | Apr 10, 2010 12:19:25 PM

  20. Vigorously condemning a politician's negative attitudes towards gays is a laudable and necessary part of the process of seeking to end homophobia anywhere, but a post dealing with the immediate tragedy of a plane crash that killed scores of people is not the appropriate place for such comments, especially such tacky and embarrassing "ding dong the witch is dead" remarks

    Posted by: Den | Apr 10, 2010 12:26:42 PM

  21. I'm not going to celebrate this loss of life but neither am I going to pretend to be heartbroken for the loss of this hateful man. I do feel terrible sadness for so many people dying in such a tragic crash.

    I hope Poland can recover from this tragedy to become an even better country.

    A couple of things I would like to respond to.

    To JIMSUR212JIM, he DID have gay family members. His own twin brother is gay, and even more homophobic than he was.

    To AJD, you're point is correct, but so is the fact tha GAY people were also targeted victims of the Holocaust but you didn't see the Polish president feeling sympathy, empathy or solidarity with us when he was on his own campaign of hate against gay Poles. Sometimes, what goes around comes around. You give what you want to get. You know, treat others as you would like to be treated. People here, rightly or wrongly, are living up to golden rule by Lech Kaczynski's own example. He would have NO room to complain.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Apr 10, 2010 12:27:48 PM

  22. Oh please. Thousands of people day EVERY FREAKING DAY.

    And today a couple of supreme homophobes went up in flames. Their god must have hated them a lot. I'm not sorry that I feel that this is a good day - especially because the weather where I live is just beautiful today.

    Posted by: galore | Apr 10, 2010 12:31:23 PM

  23. Nothing...really? Polish...palms are sweating holding back on this one.

    Posted by: TANK | Apr 10, 2010 12:34:00 PM

  24. @JIMSUR212JIM
    Well said, man.

    Posted by: X | Apr 10, 2010 1:02:46 PM

  25. Happy that someone died a horrible death? Then you're just as ugly as a rabid homophobe.

    Posted by: Jinks | Apr 10, 2010 1:47:57 PM

  26. 1 2 3 »

Post a comment


« «Glenn Beck: Obama Will Pick a Radical 'Gay Handicapped Black Woman' Who's an Immigrant' to Fill Supreme Court Slot« «