There is no such thing as a good death. Every tragic death is senseless and aimless. But today Poles can bring some sense to this unprecedented tragedy in their country's history. For the last 70 years, the name Katyn had little resonance for most people in the west. It was also seen as a symbol of Russophobia on the part of Poles. Paradoxically, what happened on Saturday in Smolensk makes this notion obsolete.

Due to last weekend's tragedy, the killing of 22,000 Polish officers by Russians in 1940 will become common knowledge. We Poles do remember that, but because they wanted to keep Russia happy, its western allies chose not to challenge Russian propaganda blaming Germans for the Katyn massacre. Now, the truth will become widely known – and truth is the very first criterion of any reconciliation.

A second paradox is that the Russian reaction to the deaths – a crash that claimed the life not only of the Polish president, but of many senior government officials and the entire top brass of the military on their way to Katyn – is creating a unique situation. Authentic reconciliation between Poles and Russians, just like that of French and Germans under Charles de Gaulle and Konrad Adenauer, has now become possible […]. Read full English version of the article in the Guardian...