Photographs of the corpses of the late Polish president Lech Kaczyński and others killed in the Smoleńsk air crash of April 2010 may have originated from a Russian spy – and Prime Minister Donald Tusk has said that ‘provocation’ cannot be ruled out.
The images were posted on the Livejournal social media site by user ‘gorojanin iz b’, said to be the online pseudonym of 51-year-old Siberian Anton Sizycha. But the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza today reveals that the quoted source of texts on the blog, Tatiana Karatsuba, worked at institutions known to have been used by the KGB as cover for their intelligence officers.
Tatiana Karatsuba, 57, a psychologist and journalist, graduated from the Moscow State University and the National Security Division of the State Service Academy. According to the Polish Press Agency (PAP), her career has involved stints at United Nations institutions in New York and Geneva.
Gazeta Wyborcza also reveals that an unknown person had offered photographs taken immediately after the Smoleńsk crash, to newspaper editors. The asking price was 30,000zł, and the seller said the pictures had come from a Smoleńsk resident.
Polish security sources say the photographs must have come from a Russian photographer. All of the Polish evidence has been made available to prosecutors – but more than 100 people including Russian emergency service workers and Smoleńsk residents attended the crash site immediately after the plane came down.
Poland’s Foreign Minister, Radosław Sikorski, said the photographs may have been published to provoke a reaction from Poland. Prime Minister Tusk added: “It is difficult to exclude provocation. Experience suggests that very often small, vile motives of some people are the source of such matters.”
Russian media, however, claim that it was not in Russia’s interests to ‘heat the tense atmosphere of political life in Poland.’ A report in the newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta adds: “If someone was interested in the appearance of these photos, they were not Russians, but rather participants in the political battle of Warsaw.”