The 2010 Katyń Families Association

Since the first moments after the crash, various efforts were made to cloud the truth about the causes and the course of events of the crash. Here's a brief list.

Please note the translation below is of a list dated January 2012. The text has been edited and translated from source: niezależ original author: Artur Dmochowski


Since the first moments after the crash, various efforts were made to cloud the truth about the causes and the course of events of the Smolensk crash. These efforts most often took form of stubs; that is alleged leaks blaming the late pilots, general Błasik and the president. These lies were often born in the Russian media, whereas in Poland – in TVN24, “Wprost”, RMF and “Gazeta Wyborcza”, to be repeated later by other main media. They appeared pretty regularly (and still do) – in the first months after the crash every few days, then a little less frequently. In accordance with the principles of psychological war, there were a lot of them, they often contradicted each other, sometimes they contained fragments of true facts, largely however they were a total figment of someone's imagination. It was intended to create chaos, to convince the society that it is not possible to get to the bottom, to disorient and tire the society out. Let us recall some of them. Unfortunately, the list is very long, and the one below is dated January 2012

1. Tu-154M came in to land four times, despite the fact that the air traffic controllers insisted that it should fly away to the reserve airport (all the main media repeated this on 10/04/2010). In reality, today we know, that the plane made one approach; the crew descended the plane to a 100m and decided to circle around the airport with the use of the autopilot. The crew began this manoeuvre. This process is reflected in the flight trajectory recorded in TAWS and FMS data, as also in the cabin voice recordings, where the command to circle the airport around was given to stop descent and the landing approach in the manner generally accepted, appropriately according to regulations. The Russian control tower operators asked the Polish crew captain Major Protasiuk to descend to the height of 50 meters, breaching regulations. This information alone contradicts both Russian and Polish official governmental investigation reports into the crash. Both claimed that the controller did not allow the airliner to descend lower than 100 meters.

The total falsification of the Russian MAK report cannot be proven better than by the fact it is based on the stenographic records, which omitted the command “We go around” given by the pilot at the appropriate height.

2. The president Lech Kaczyński was to pressure the crew to land regardless of the conditions. “The pilot could not make his mind up about coming in to land four times in such difficult conditions with such persons on board” wrote Roman Kuźniar on 10 April, insinuating that pressure was exercised by the President (“Kultura Liberalna”, 10/04/2010). As the stenographic records showed, there was no trace of any interference in the work of the cabin crew. The current adviser to B. Komorowski was one of the first people to talk about the alleged pressure put on the pilots.

3. General Błasik was in the cockpit during the final minutes of the flight – this stub was made by Edmund Klich (in a TVN programme “Teraz My”, 24/05/2010). A claim that the Polish accredited to the Russian investigation is still defending (TOK FM radio, 13/01/2012), even after Kraków-based expert witnesses invalidated it having analysed the voice recordings of the cabin. The voice, previously attributed to the general, actually belonged to the second pilot, major Robert Grzywna. It has been proven that General Błasik was never in the cockpit and never did any evidence exist pointing to the contrary. Klich did admit that during the investigation there was tendency to point to pilot error and tilt towards pressure on pilots.

4. “The fatal landing was led by the head of the Polish Air Force” wrote the “Izvestia” daily a day later, elaborating on the Klich's presumption (25/05/2012). “Komsomolskaya Pravda” went one step further stating that general Błasik was controlling the plane. In Poland, theses Russian claims were spread by TVN24 (26/05/2012).

5. “General Błasik has a habit of walking into the pilot's cabin and to take their place, controlling the plane” such statements were to prove and maintain the presumption about the blame of general Błasik, were repeated in the media for many months (TVN24, “Dziennik”, “Polska - The Times” – 14/10/2010).

6. “The ground at the place of accident was dug up to the depth of 1 m with due diligence and it was riddled very carefully” said minister Ewa Kopacz in the Parliament (28/04/2010). Not only no care was paid to the remains of the deceased, but also the wreckage and the place of the crash were destroyed using heavy equipment and the traces were covered up. Fragments/debris of the plane can be picked up by tourists to this day.

7. The crew did not know Russian and did not understand the commands from the control tower. Quite the opposite – the pilots knew the language perfectly, as until recently, learning Russian was obligatory in the Polish military air force. Captain Protasiuk flew 30 times to Russia and the Ukraine.

8. “If I don't land, he will kill me” TVN stated that “such utterance was to be said before the crash of the presidential Tu-154 near Smolensk by captain Protasiuk” (14/07/2010) Fakty TVN. No crew member said such a thing, after analysis of the voice cabin recordings.

9. “Look how the best land” was the phrase to be uttered by the Tu-154 pilot, when he learnt about the awful weather (“Polska - The Times”, 17/07/2010). Captain Protasiuk said no such thing.

10. The disintegration of the plane into thousands of pieces is due to the fact that the plane hit the ground upside down (e.g. “Gazeta Wyborcza”, 02/11/2011). The flight parameters do not indicate that Tu-154 turned upside down. Most importantly, it is not true that the roof of the plane is significantly less durable than its bottom. It is rare for a plane to disintegrate into pieces the way it has and rare for there to be no survivors at all in crashes. The plane structure is based on elliptical, thick frames made of duralumin, which are equally durable throughout its perimeter. A plane's fuselage, contrary to the car's body, ensures protection against pressure or impacts from all sides.

11. “He will get furious if...” alleged excerpt of the conversation of Tu-154 crew members was to be the proof of the pressure put on the pilots (“Gazeta Wyborcza”, 12/01/2011). There are no such words in the stenographic record.

12. “Drunken general Błasik forced the pilots to land” publication of the MAK report was a sequence to the Smolensk insinuations (12/01/2011). Unfortunately, the phrase “a drunken general” also appeared in the Polish media (“Gazeta Wyborcza”,, General Anodina referred to the alleged presence of 0.6 ‰ of alcohol in the blood of general Błasik, which was not confirmed by any independent tests. It could be the so-called endogenous alcohol, which is produced in the human body after the death. Moscow used it to put the blame on the late general. The lie was invalidated by the general's wife: “My husband could not drink because he was to take Communion in Katyń” said Ewa Błasik (13/01/2011). The words about the Communion were cut out of the report by TVN.

13. Before the take off of Tu-154M, general Błasik and captain Protasiuk were to argue – this piece of news was reported by TVN24 (25/02/2011) and then it was repeated by most of the media during the following days. It was alleged that captain Protasiuk did not want to control the governmental plane on 10 April and argued about it with his superior at the apron area of Okęcie airport. After three weeks, the prosecution had to admit that the recording from Okęcie did not show any quarrel. A witnesses of the departure of Tu-154 also denied this.

14. The report prepared by the Polish committee led by Minister Jerzy Miller (29/07/2011) was also falsified, just as the MAK document. While it did contain criticism concerning the air traffic controllers in Smolensk, it mainly put the blame on the Polish pilots. Prime Minister Tusk handed the investigation over to the Moscow's authorities. The Polish committee based its report almost exclusively on the information received from the Russians (with black boxes and wreckage still being in Russia today). The committee did not even have access to the basic evidence necessary to conduct a thorough examination (e.g. the wreckage and black boxes). It only had copies of some evidence selected by the Russians.

15. The pilots were “not trained well” – this is one of the fundamental theses expressed in the book entitled Ostatni lot [Final Flight] by Latkowski, Białoszewski and Osiecki, written as if on commission from the Russians.
“During the preparations to the flight and during the flight itself, one error after another was made. What I mean here is an accidental make-up of the crew. (...) It was as if a child would be chosen to control the plane. It is definitely us that contributed to the crash” said Wojciech Łuczak, aviation “expert” (“Superekspres”, 13/01/2011). The crew did not make any mistakes and they behaved professionally until the final moments. Captain Protasiuk showed his master-level skills, avoiding hitting the slope of the valley before the airport, to which they were directed by the control tower in Smolensk. Captain Protasiuk and major Grzywna belonged to the best of the best. Suffice it to say that the leader had over 3.5 thousand hours of flight (!) and the second pilot - almost 2 thousand behind them. They were well-integrated and they understood each other perfectly – they flew together a few dozen times, including a really difficult flight from Haiti over the Atlantic with a damaged autopilot module, when they piloted the plane manually for 14 hours, including three refuelling stops.

Translated and edited from source:

Artur Dmochowski