The Katyn Anniversary just got a bit more tragic.
I just received a text message mentioning a "plane catastrophe." Not knowing what it was, I did a preliminary sweep of some news aggregates, and discovered that the President of Poland, Lech Kaczynski, and an entire Polish delegation may have perished in a plane crash near Smolensk.
They were flying to Smolensk to honor the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.
It seems that there were a number of VIPs, including the Kaczynskis (husband and wife), the governor of the central bank, the last President of Poland in Exile (Ryszard Kaczorowski), and the army chief of staff. The Tu-154 (another victory for Russian aerospace) carrying the President and his entourage crashed while approaching to land at Smolensk Airport. It seems the plane hit the tops of the trees while trying to land in foggy weather and disintegrated. Preliminary reports said that 130 people could have perished in the crash out of 132 passengers, but hopes for any survivors are slim. Recent reports put the toll at 97, with there being no survivors.
The reaction in Poland is sure to be one of mourning and probably a bit of anger. The people haven't forgotten Sikorski's crash near Gibraltar, and I bet a great deal of them will think Russia had a hand in this as well. It's strange, since I have a few students who despised Kaczynski, but nationalist feelings will overwhelm any sense of hard feelings toward him, and the anger will most likely be directed at Russia. Meanwhile, I'm not too sure how this tragedy will affect the everyday operations of the country (will it be like when JFK was shot?)