|Combo photo shows some of the prominent victims of the crash of Poland’s presidential plane. It includes Maria Kaczynska, 66, Poland’s first lady; Gen. Franciszek Gagor, 58, army chief of staff; Vice Admiral Andrzej Karweta, 51, navy chief commander; Gen. Tadeusz Buk, 49, land-forces commander; Slawomir Skrzypek, 46, president of the National Bank of Poland; Aleksander Szczyglo, 46, head of the national security office; Piotr Nurowski, 64, head of Poland’s Olympic Committee, and so on.|
As Poland mourns the death of their President Lech Kaczynski, the world has suddenly come once again to know or to understand Poland. It’s indeed a tragic accident that an ageing Soviet era airliner carrying high level delegation of Poland had crashed on Russian soil, just few kilometers away from Katyn graves. Many see this as a doubtful incident and even go further to call this as a conspiracy or staged accident by the Russians. The Polish people unlike the many post Soviet states always distance themselves from politics, given the understanding that they hate politics more then rest of the world. However, despite the less political affection by the Polish masses, they have always come up with some extreme characters who defied the odds of the imperial world. Nonetheless, patriots like Lech Walesa, Pope John Paul II, Lech Kaczynski and many others have been notable in their reformation of Poland as a strong economic state in Europe.
Kaczynski joined Lech Walesa’s Solidarity in the 1980s and became an important leader of the anti-communist movement as he spent time in jail on the charges that he had worked in illegal union activities. Later, in 1990, the Kaczynski brothers became the driving force behind Walesa’s election as president, when Poland held its first free election after the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. As Walesa put Poland on the path of post-communism reconstruction in the early 1990s, the Kaczynski brothers fell out with the Polish president over the issue of Solidarity leadership and found themselves outside mainstream politics. Not used to lying low, the brothers who shot to fame at the age of 12 as stars in the film ‘Two boys who stole the moon’, founded the Law and Justice party, which stresses the traditional values of the Roman Catholic Church, in 2001. Completely different from Walesa in style as well as substance, the Kaczynskis often called for radically transforming the post-communist Poland, called the “Third Republic”, into a “Fourth Republic”, based on social justice and a strong state.
While he remained popular at home with his conservative policies, Kaczynski became a controversial figure on the world stage with his unusual rhetoric. During an October 2009 ceremony to sign the European Union’s reform treaty into law, Kaczynski stressed that the EU remained a union of sovereign nation states and said it must remain open to new members, including countries in the Balkans and Georgia. Known for his anti-Russian stand and strong support of the Bush administration’s missile shield plan, Kaczynski agreed in 2009 to allow a small US base equipped with SM-3 interceptors on Polish soil which would target short and medium-range missiles.
Since then he was in the bad books of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Its ironic that Kaczynski perished on the Russian soil just before he was to attend a ceremony to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre — where Russian forces killed more than 20,000 Polish people during World War II.
After the loss of such top brass officials, Economists, Politicians & leaders in this planes crash, the fate of Poland lies once again in the hands of some pro-Russian leaders who would re-shape the political situation of Poland. What scares me most is if the replacement leaders, officials will continue to work on the same strategies of the former or will they place Poland on the plate of Russia and making Poland weaker economically & politically. It will only be now the common Polish people would have to really step into the serious mode of country and some younger generation to involve into political scene of Poland. It was indeed one of my best observations of Poland that this country last year was not ravaged by the world financial crises; this was the only European country that was not affected by recession. If it was not for such leadership roles of many like Lech and others, Poland too, would have been on the brink of the financial disaster like other countries.
I hope that this country of brave people who have always been like the wall between the west and east or Europe continue to be as strong as they were few centuries ago. Any Russian involvement will only retard the country. Therefore, the next one year is going to be very crucial for Poland’s growth. I believe that President Lech’s policies were what a proud yet insecure Poland needed to emerge as a political voice between Western Europe and the former Soviet states.