Conspiracy theorists have eagerly dug their teeth into the plane crash that killed Polish president Lech Kaczynski and several of his cabinet ministers in Russia this past weekend. Though both Russia and Poland say the pilot's decision to attempt a landing in thick fog triggered the tragedy, doubters point out that Kaczynski had fiercely criticized Moscow's military activity in Chechnya and Georgia, and are asking if Russia may have strategized the crash. Wild speculation, or the seeds of truth? (Watch a report about the Polish president's crash)
Suspicions of a conspiracy are spreading: It's not just crackpots who are raising questions, says Anthony G. Martin in Examiner.com. Former president and "freedom fighter" Lech Walesa issued a statement saying Poland's leaders had been "struck down," which might suggest he "suspects Russia is responsible for the crash." And why not? After all, Kaczynski had been "known to taunt" Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
"Video: Famed Polish leader implies Russia behind the airline disaster"
Unfounded speculation could make things worse: The internet encourages nutjobs, says Matt Sussman in Technorati, so it's hardly surprising that rumors are circulating, including a theory that Russia orchestrated the crash to punish Poland for its close ties with the U.S. Unfortunately, such unfounded guesswork could "further divide Poland-Russia relations" if "too many people start believing it."
"And here come the Polish plane crash conspiracy theories"
But no-one believes it anyway: Sure, "a few fringe websites" suspect a conspiracy, says Anne Applebaum in The Washington Post, but the governments of Poland and Russia "and the vast majority of Russians and Poles" accept the official explanation. The leaders of both countries have examined the causes openly and honestly, a trend that, if it continues, could turn this tragedy into "revolutionary change," for the better.
"Out of tragedy, a detente of sorts between Russia, Poland"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ted Cruz is the new Sarah Palin
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How liberals are unwittingly paving the way for the legalization of adult incest
- Why you probably don't have Ebola — even if you shook hands with America's 'patient zero'
- Fall film guide: All the movies you should see in October
- Bill O'Reilly and Stephen Colbert are accidentally having a serious debate on ISIS
- Watch out, China — America is working on dogfighting drones
- How the Simpsons/Family Guy crossover revealed the worst of both shows
- The dumb war in Syria will haunt Democrats' 2014 prospects
Subscribe to the Week