NYTIMES: Plane Crash May Strain Poland’s Ties With Russia
While the crash is not likely to substantially change Poland’s relationships with other countries, including its plans to host part of an American missile defense system, it could agitate Poland’s relationship with Russia.
Mr. Kaczynski, 60, a pugnacious nationalist who often clashed with Russia, was on his way to the Katyn, where members of the Soviet secret police executed Polish officers captured after the Red Army invaded Poland in 1939.
Relations between Warsaw and Moscow have been strained ever since. For half a century, Moscow denied involvement in the killings, blaming the Nazis. But last Wednesday, Mr. Putin took a major step to improve relations by becoming the first Russian or Soviet leader to join Polish officials in commemorating the massacre’s anniversary. He was joined there by Mr. Tusk.
Mr. Kaczynski, seen by the Kremlin as less friendly to Russia, was not invited. Instead, he decided to attend a separate, Polish-organized event on Saturday.
... Mr. Kaczysnki, 60, was elected president in 2005 just as his identical twin brother, Jaroslaw, became head of the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice government. He forged close relationships with Ukraine and Georgia and pushed for their accession into NATO, arguing passionately that a stronger NATO would keep Russia from reasserting its influence over Eastern Europe.
He was a major supporter of plans for part of an American antiballistic missile defense system to be based in Poland, infuriating Russia.