The tips of the birch trees barely pierced the fog. The aerial visibility on the approach to Smolensk in western Russia was just 200 metres. On its final approach, the Tupolev’s warning system repeatedly sounded: “Pull up, pull up.” But the crew of the aircraft appeared to react too late. At 10.41am on 10 April 2010, it crashed a few hundred metres short of the runway, killing all 96 people aboard.
The plane was carrying the Polish president, Lech Kaczyński, his wife, the country’s central bank chief, several MPs and its most senior military figures.
Poland fell into deep mourning, unmatched since the darkest days of the second world war. In 2011, a government inquiry blamed bad weather and pilot error. But Kaczyński’s 66-year-old twin brother, Jarosław, has never let go of his conviction that the tragedy was the result of Kremlin sabotage. Last Thursday, it came as no surprise that the Law and Justice party he leads – back in power for the first time since the crash – has launched a new inquiry.