Reflecting on the report of Miller's committee

Czeslaw Ryszka

Finally, on 3 August 2011, after several months of quarrels between the senators of the Law and Justice Party and the Speaker of the Polish Parliament, there was a debate on the Smolensk plane crash. Perhaps the delay was good because the Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC) responded to the report of the committee chaired by Minister Jerzy Miller immediately and it picked the report to pieces.

IAC response

The IAC representatives negated the conclusions about the guilt of the Russian air traffic controllers, stating that their work had had no influence on the wrong decisions of the Polish pilots. They affirmed that General Blasik (and not only him) had influenced the pilots in an obvious way by his presence in the cockpit, which contributed to the crash. They stated that since the pilots had had no clearance for flights on that day the flight should not have taken place at all. They also said that Russia had no influence on that mess and lack of professionalism in the Polish air forces and consequently, the Poles bore responsibility for the obvious lacks in the pilots' training.
They warned Poland not to question the IAC report because it had been authorised by the experts whom Poland had appointed. They also stated that they had more experiences in examining plane incidents than Poland and that's why their report was better. Moreover, only the AIC report was legally valid in the international arena and the report of Minister Miller was only an internal Polish document and it was not their problem what Poles were going to do with it.
Briefly speaking, the Russians threw cold water on the Polish report and since their theses had been presented to the world opinion earlier and they had showed the real misery of the Polish state, which had let her most important people die.
Our evidence that the commander gave the order 'go-round', i.e., breaking the landing procedure and starting to climb. The Russians did not care about the fact that the pilots had started the go-round manoeuvre. They stressed the fact that the Polish crew had been unprepared to fly to Smolensk. That's why from the perspective of the present debates on both reports, the conclusions concerning responsibility of concrete people for that crash were the most important ones.

List of the responsible

Whose responsibility? Firstly, the responsibility of Prime Minister Donald Tusk who brought about the separation of the visits of 7 and 10 April 2010. The consequences proved tragic, which is testified by the reprehensible treatment of the flight of 10 April by the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, and concretely speaking, the responsibility of Minister Tomas Arabski who dealt with it. The second responsibility is that of Minister Jerzy Miller, Minister Bogdan Klich, Minister Radoslaw Sikorski as well as the head of the Government Protection Bureau Marian Janicki, who neglected their duties to organise a safe flight of the President of the Republic of Poland and the other most important people in the state, and they did not secure the other conditions provided for, e.g. in the agreement signed between Poland and Russia in 1993, which obliged Russia to assure proper landing conditions.
The third responsibility is that of Minister Bogdan Klich who organised the major repairs of the aircraft in Samara in the way that outraged the principles of security and who supervised the trainings in the 36th Special Regiment of Aviation Transport badly, and on 10 April he neglected his duties completely, among other things he did not deliver the information about the meteorological danger to the crew of Tu-154.
Fourthly, the responsibility of Minister Radoslaw Sikorski who delegated the key role to prepare the visit to the people who had the agency past, including Tomasz Turowski who additionally in his statements blamed the Polish pilots for the crash.
Fifthly, the responsibility of the Russians whose air traffic controllers gave the crew of Tu-154 wrong radio navigation information concerning landing, and the responsibility of the unknown by name general in Moscow who did not allow closing the airport.
Sixthly, the responsibility of those Russians that made the Polish investigation into the causes and circumstances of the crash difficult, the example the devastation of the wreckage of the aircraft, which is obviously the effect of the agreement made between Donald Tusk and Vladimir Putin not to implement the Polish-Russian agreement of 1993 and to pass the investigation to the Russians on the basis of the Chicago Convention.

Could the Russians have known something more?

Considering the above-mentioned things one should stress that the Polish public opinion as well as the Parliament and the Senate were systematically misinformed by the Russians and the media concerning the most essential issues about the crash and the examination of its causes and circumstances. And we could have decided to make an adequate response to the Russians and the media that blackened the victims of the crash especially that we had known the data of the 'Polish recorder' ATM-QAR for long; the recorder documented that the Polish pilots did not intend to land but to make one attempt to land, that General Blasik did not influence the pilots, that there were no statements like, 'See how the best pilots are landing.'
Commenting on the report of the committee chaired by Jerzy Miller the Russians slapped the face of Prime Minister Tusk because his consent to accept the Chicago Convention is now an alibi to authenticate all they did and are doing now. They also slapped Millers' face because even now they are using the results of his committee to blame the Polish pilots, General Blasik and Poland in general. The Russians used the publication of the report of Miller's committee to mock all that contradicts the IAC version. Thus the Russians recognised the whole effort of Miller's committee as abortive or completely unnecessary since actually the committee reached the same conclusions as the Russians did, i.e., it was the Polish pilots' fault. Or perhaps the birch should be blamed since it grew where it should not have grown! But it is strange that no one is bothering to examine why the Russians have used evasions and hampered the investigation so much and why they have destroyed the wreckage. Could the Russians have known something more?

"Niedziela" 33/2011

Editor: Tygodnik Katolicki "Niedziela", ul. 3 Maja 12, 42-200 Czestochowa, Polska
Editor-in-chief: Fr Jaroslaw Grabowski • E-mail: