PiS unveils Smolensk memorial in Warsaw
Eight years after the plane crash that killed then Polish president Lech Kaczyński and over 80 dignitaries near the Russian city of Smolensk, the government in Warsaw has unveiled a memorial to the victims in Warsaw. What meaning does the monument have for the ruling PiS and Poland as a nation?
Government using memorial to cover up failure
The monument is nothing but a fig leaf to hide the PiS's broken promise to present proof of an attack, Newsweek Polska comments:
“Beating the memorial drum is basically an attempt to cover up the fact that the government can't prove there was an attack. Even though the PiS has been in power for two years and spent millions of złoty on commissions and expert reports, it still hasn't been able to uncover the slightest proof of an attack. It hasn't even been able to get the wreckage of the plane back [from Russia]. ... The memorial is a substitute for an attack that was to form the basis for a new republic: the Kaczyński Republic. The founding myth of a state ruled by one person from the PiS's party headquarters.”
Poland needs a new state, not kitsch
PiS politicians adopted a comparatively conciliatory tone at the inauguration of the Smolensk memorial. The pro-government news website wPolityce.pl is not impressed:
“There is no need for false reconciliation. And certainly not for covering up the tragedy and its consequences with kitschy sentimentality. [The Smolensk plane crash] is an event of immense historic, political and moral importance. Otherwise this huge sacrifice would have very little meaning. Its significance consists in highlighting the need for change and the need to build a new Poland.”