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Smolensk Crash: What do we know 14 years later?

2010 Assassination of the President of Poland

in Smolensk, Russia

Preparation, Execution, and Cover-up of the Smolensk Special Operation

Prof. Wiesław Binienda, F.ASCE

What do we know 14 years later?

For the 14th anniversary of the Smolensk Crash, I would like to present the state of knowledge as of today regarding the crash of the Polish AirForce One on April 10, 2010, in Smolensk, Russia, with the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski and 95 Polish citizens on board.

On April 10, 2010, this official Polish delegation of the most prominent members of the Polish society led by the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski was traveling to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1940 Katyn Massacre. They all died when the Polish Air Force One exploded over the Severny airport in Smolensk, Russia. There were no survivors.

Today, 14 years after this apocalyptic event, we know for sure that this crash was caused by a carefully planned operation of Russian special forces to assassinate the President of Poland and the top patriotic leadership of Poland. Today, we have extensive knowledge of how the Smolensk Special Operation was prepared, executed, and covered up thanks to the in-depth investigation conducted in the years 2016-2023 by the Polish Sub-Commission for Reinvestigation of the Smolensk Crash.

In my presentation, I will first summarize what happened to the Polish Air Force One on April 10, 2010, based on our findings. Next, I will describe the most important steps in preparation for this special operation executed by Russia against the top leadership of Poland, a NATO country. Finally, I will focus in greater detail on some examples of the cover-up methods used by the Russians in the investigation process.

I will start with a brief description of what happened to the Polish Air Force One on April 10, 2010.

  1. Before the so-called Bodin’s birch tree, the airplane began to depart. At that moment, about 100 meters before the birch tree, an explosion took place in the left wing, cutting off a 6 meters-long tip of this wing. As a result, the airplane started to rotate to the left.
  2. Next, near Kutuzova Street, the second explosion took place in the vertical stabilizer and separated a portion of the vertical stabilizer together with the horizontal stabilizer from the fuselage. The ruptured stabilizer and the fuselage continued to fly separately, rotating counterclockwise.
  3. Right after Kutuzova Street, the stabilizer part dropped down and punched the ground with the leading edge of the right side of the horizontal stabilizer, creating the so-called South Groove in the ground. The fuselage part of the plane dropping down, touched the ground with what was left of the left wing, and created the North Groove.
  4. Within a fraction of a second later, when the nose of the fuselage was turned down while the rest of the 40-meter-long fuselage was still in the air, a series of explosions took place along the left side of the fuselage.
  5. This series of explosions generated enormous pressure inside the fuselage. The most obvious result of this pressure was the ejection of the left passenger door with the remains of the cabin crew so forcefully that the door was injected into the ground one meter deep. The same pressure pushed back the entire 12-ton tail section of the plane with the pressure bulkhead and jet engines, separating them from the fuselage. The roof of the fuselage ruptured along the top stringer 2L, between the center wing and the tail of the plane. Consequently, this section of the fuselage separated from the center wing, and opened up to the outside while still in the air before falling onto the ground upside down with both halves of the roof and walls wide open outside.
  6. Almost at the same time, the last explosion of a thermo-baric character completed the destruction. The epicenter was in the center wing section of the airplane. This last and the largest explosion was to assure that all people on board be killed.

So, the question is:

How was it possible for the Russians to install a complex explosion system in the Polish Air Force One to cause such a precise sequential detonation?  

To answer this question, we must go back to 2009 when the Government of Donald Tusk decided to spend millions of dollars to overhaul the old Tupolev airplanes in Russia. Hence, Tu154M 101 was sent in 2009 to the Aviakor plant in Samara, Russia, for a complete overhaul. The Aviakor plant was owned at that time by Putin’s close friend Oleg Deripaska. During this process, the airplane was not properly supervised by the Polish authorities.

As you can see in this photograph the airplane was completely stripped of all internal or external equipment, wings, jet engines, and even paint for a period of several months. So, there was easy access to the internal parts of the plane to install sophisticated explosives installation in the internal structure of the plane before putting back all the parts together, covering everything with paint, installing panels, and placing furniture and accessories. As a result, all areas with explosives were not accessible to people or dog inspection.

By late 2009, Putin received reports that the airplane was ready. So, preparations began for the special operation in anticipation of the visit of the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski in Katyn for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Katyn massacre.

  • On January 1, 2010, the Command Center for Crisis Situation was created in the Smolensk region. This center put under single command all emergency services in the Smolensk region.
  • April 7, 2010 – after the ceremony in Katyn with the participation of Prime Minister Tusk, Vladimir Putin met with the Governor of the Smolensk region, ANTUFIEW. The official topic of the meeting was the development of the Smolensk region, including the Severny Airport used as both a military and civilian airport.
  • April 9, 2010 – Governor Antufiew issued a decree to change the official holiday from Saturday, April 10 to Tuesday, April 13.
  • April 10, 2010– Colonel Mikhail OSIPENKOhead of the Command Center for Crisis Situations in Smolensk ordered to position the fire emergency group about 200 meters from the place of the airplane crash. He issued this order about 3 hours before the crash of Tu154M.

After the crash, Colonel OSIPENKO was so proud of his decision to position his forces so close to the crash site that he could not stop bragging to every reporter that he was able to be on the crash scene within 5 minutes. His unsolicited testimony corroborates the fact that indeed Russian officials anticipated the crash. In December of 2014, Osipenko was demoted from his post and rank by Putin.

At the time of the crash, two regular people, who walked near the fire trucks positioned for action, ran quickly in the direction of the disaster.

Vladimir SAFONENKO took 2 videos with his phone. The first one – a short video made at 10:43 on the crash scene recorded the first fire team action and several gunshots. The second video was made at 10:46 a.m. on his way back from the crash scene. It records the fire emergency group together and their commandant moving to the crash scene within 5 minutes of the crash.

Summary of some actions in preparation for the Smolensk Operation

  • The overhaul of Tu154M at the Aviakor plant in Samara, Russia, made it possible to plan, prepare, set up, and professionally install inside the structure of the airplane a complex explosive system for the complete demolition of the airplane.
  • The separation of the visits of the Polish Prime Minister and the Polish President to Katyn enabled the targeting of the top patriotic leadership of Poland committed to defending Polish independence.
  • A decision not to provide a backup (spare) airplane for the trip of the Presidential Delegation to Katyn ruled out alternatives in planning the special operation.
  • The formation of the Center for Crisis Situation in the Smolensk Region centralized the operation.
  • A Decree changing the holiday from April 10 to April 13 limited the number of potential witnesses.
  • The Crisis Situation Team positioned in advance before the runway near the place of the crash assured the secrecy of the operation.

Now, let’s examine some cases of the cover-up.

Above is the crash scene captured by satellite on April 10, 2010. The airplane flew from east to west. There was fog, so pilots relied on the directions given by the control tower. Despite assurances of the controllers that the airplane was on the right course and right gliding path, the airplane was guided 50 meters below the course, south of the runway, and also short of the runway, as it was concluded by the Polish court, which issued an order to arrest Russian controllers.

The airplane’s horizontal trajectory shows a sudden turn to the left between Gubienko and Kutuzova streets. Three seconds earlier the first explosion took place in the left wing that cut a 6-meter tip. The second explosion, which separated a part of the vertical stabilizer from the horizontal stabilizer, took place near Kutuzova Street.  The airplane’s first contact with the ground is marked by two groves North marked in blue and South marked in red.

A close-up of the area where most of the airplane debris fell is shown in the satellite image below. Within this entire area, Russians identified only 43 fragments of debris. They are marked here as yellow circles starting with number 33 and ending with number 76.  In reality, there were about 60,000 larger and smaller pieces of debris in this area, as marked in blue color on this slide.

Furthermore, right after the crash, the Russians moved the left side of the horizontal stabilizer marked here as number 33 from the location where it originally fell down about 30 meters closer to the crash site.

Despite the satellite image clearly showing the original location of this part of the stabilizer, the Russians used the new position of this fragment in their official report, that is the false position 30 meters closer to the crash site.

Identification of fragments

In our investigation, we focused on identifying as many fragments on the crash site as possible.

Tomasz Ziemski from our Commission conducted a thorough and extensive analysis of all available photographs and videos made of the crash site and developed a special methodology that allowed him to identify beyond any doubt many more fragments on the crash site.

Our expert was able to associate each fragment identified in the field of debris with a particular location in the structure of the airplane. In color red he marked all parts identified from the left side of the airplane. He did the same for the left side, the roof, and the bottom of the airplane.

This detailed identification of most fragments of the airplane on the crash site allowed for a reconstruction of the wreckage of the Tu-154M and the reconstruction of the process of destruction and disintegration of the airplane.

Thanks to this meticulous process of reconstruction, it was possible to identify places of several explosions caused by small explosive devices placed in the strip under the windows, on the left side of the plane, behind the heating panel, near frames 15, 26, 36, and 46. The explosive device near frame 9 was installed below the cockpit floor while the explosive device near frame 66 was located above the window strip, below the inlet of jet engine 2.

As a result of these explosions in the fuselage, fragments of the left side of the airplane were torn out and thrown outside, and passengers who were sitting on the left side of the plane near the explosions had leg injuries and clothes stripped from them, mostly above their waste, by shock waves.

 As a result of the explosions along the left side of the plane, fragments from the right side were also torn and pushed out due to the internal pressure of the shock waves.  The explosions closest to frame 56, at the back of the plane, produced a shock wave, which ruptured the roof along the stringer 2L, opened both sides of the roof, and pushed them far outside before this section fell onto the ground upside down.

The South and North Grooves on the crash site are important evidence in determining how the process of the plane destruction was unfolding.

After the first explosion in the left wing, the second explosion took place near Kutuzova Street in the vertical stabilizer and separated a portion of the vertical stabilizer with the horizontal stabilizer from the fuselage. From that point on, the two separate major parts of the airplane continued to fly separately.

The T-shaped stabilizer continued to fly, rotating, until touching the ground with the right tip. The right leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer punched the ground at about -210 degrees, creating the South Groove.  Red paint from the right tip of the stabilizer was identified in the South Groove.

At the same time, the rest of the airplane continued its rotation until touching the grounds first with what was left of the left wing, with an orientation of almost -90 degrees, creating the North Groove in the process.

In the photograph below the area shaded with yellow on the satellite image indicates the location where fragments from the vertical and horizontal stabilizers were found. North of this area, there is a similar second area where only fragments from the left wing were found. These two independent debris fields prove that the T-shape stabilizer was not attached to the rest of the plane when falling to the ground. Eventually, the right side of the horizontal stabilizer impacted the ground, as shown in the right picture with the entire length, and broke from the vertical stabilizer to be stopped by small trees and bushes. A close-up picture of the right side of the horizontal stabilizer shows typical compressive damage of the leading edge.

In the picture below, we can see a picture taken at the beginning of South Grove with pieces of red paint in the grass taken in the first hours after the crash clearly shown. This picture was withheld from the Polish side and subsequently was covertly acquired by people who worked with our commission.

This picture clearly shows pieces of paint from the tip of the right side of the horizontal stabilizer. Since the left side fell closer to Kutuzova Street (item 33, later moved by the Russians), this paint together with fragments from the right side of the horizontal stabilizer found in this area proves that the right side of this stabilizer had to punch the ground with the leading edge in the South Groove.

This fact was also included in the preliminary Russian report together with the cartoon demonstrating an angle of rotation to be between -200 to -210 degrees.  Subsequently, this paint evidence together with the cartoon disappeared from the official Russian records.

Furthermore, fragments of the right horizontal stabilizer photographed by Russians in Sector no. 13 on April 11, 2010, and marked by the Russian investigators with numbers 29, 30, and 31, were NOT entered at all in the official Russian report from the inspection of the scene of the incident and they were also not marked on the plan diagram attached to the report. We added these missing parts to the Russian diagram marking them in red.

A careful comparison of available images and witness testimonies with activities of the Russians at the crash site revealed proof of tampering with crash site evidence by Russian investigators.

The largest fragment of the fuselage with the ruptured roof along stringer 2L due to internal pressure while still in the air, fell upside down with wide-open sides.

Edges from the left and right sides of the ruptured roof fit exactly, proving that the rupture of the roof was produced by the internal pressure in the fuselage when it was still in the air.

In the evening of April 11, 2010, the Russians used an angle grinder and hydraulic shears to cut off this part of the roof from the left side of the fuselage. Next, the severed part of the roof was cut into two smaller fragments “A” and “B”. All these actions were photographed (videotaped) from a distance by telephoto camera.

In the official report of the forensic expertise issued by the expert of the Russian Federation A.A. DAVYDOV who was hired by a Russian prosecutor in connection with the criminal case No. 201/355051-10 K-104859 (regarding the damage assessment of the fuselage fragment between the center wing and tail), it is simply written that:

“The upper part of the fuselage (roof) has not survived the crash.”

So, A. A. Davydov signed with his name the false statement since many photographs exist of the fractured roof along Stinger 2L, which was opened outside together with both walls. That roof was not even damaged by the impact with the ground because it was not crashed by the fuselage.

We found several dozen witnesses who claimed they heard the sound of one or two explosions. These witnesses were located within a radius of about 1.5 kilometers at the time of the crash, as shown here. As a result of the compression and expansion of the shock wave, an acoustic effect, the so-called “sonic thunder”, was created and heard in this area.

Now, let’s focus on the evidence that eventually was brought back to Poland.

Victims’ bodies and body parts were identified in all Sectors 0-13. All bodies and body parts were photographed and described for the autopsy reports.

To better understand how the Russian investigation was conducted, let’s focus on Sector 1(sector most to the front). There were 14 bodies in Sector 1. Investigators walked around marking each body with the first number indicating the sector and the second number indicating each body: 1/1 …1/14.

Only one person (body number 7) was fully dressed because all other passengers sitting closer to the center of the explosions were exposed to the powerful shock wave, which ripped off cloth from them.

Body number 4 found in this sector was completely naked. However, the condition of his body in the autopsy report is described as follows:

“The body was dressed in dark grey trousers, belt, black shoes, black socks, grey underwear with black and blue ornaments, on the finger of the right-hand metal belt in the yellow color.”

Similarly, misleading descriptions were written for other victims.

The bodies of the crew were identified mostly in sectors 1, 2, and 3, and some parts were even found in other sectors. They were dispersed over a large area.


We noticed that Russians paid close attention to the seat. So, we also decided to pay close attention to the passenger seats.

By comparing the same seat parts the day after the crash with the same seat weeks later, we found out, that Russian officials were removing upholstery from some seats, and taking away torn and delaminated trays from the set.

In other cases, Russian investigators also separated the backrests, removed the scorched pieces of material, and washed the upholstery.  And again, and again, Russians removed and took away the torn and delaminated tray.  All delaminated trays were hidden away. Why?

To answer this question, we have conducted an experiment using thermo-baric explosion inside a model of the fuselage, where two sets of seats with trays were placed. To our surprise, all trays and seats were damaged in the same way as the seats and trays in Smolensk.

Also, the upholstery of many seats was ripped along the stitches. In our experiment, traces of explosives were detected everywhere on the seats, like on the seats in Smolensk. Traces of explosives were also detected inside the trays.

One observation leads to another. We noticed that all seat legs were ripped off from the floor attachments. Was it due to high inertia force as Russia claimed?

We have commissioned the experiment for 16g to observe the effect of inertia force from hitting the ground by the fuselage. The experiment showed that although 16g or higher inertia would separate seats with fastened passengers from the seat legs, the seat legs remain attached to the floor.

Since in Smolensk all seat legs are ripped from the floor it means that a different nature than inertia force caused the detachment of the seat legs from the floor.

We concluded that as a result of explosions in the strip under the windows of the left side of the fuselage, between the sheathing and the heating panels near frames no. 16, 26, 36, and 46, a shock wave was created before any inertia could develop. The shock wave traveled perpendicular to the direction of the flight. This wave pushed rows of seats located on the left side of the fuselage toward the right side. Because the legs of the seats were permanently attached to the floor rails, the upper part of the seats was bent in the direction of the shock wave, as shown in this photo.

Close examination of the floor tracks where the seats were attached proved that visible deformation and breakage of the floor track between frames no. 38 and 39, was caused by the movement of the seat structure perpendicular to the direction of flight i.e., before the inertia loads developed i.e., when the fuselage was still in the air.

To break the seat track connection, the force must be larger than 3000lb per attachment. So, the force produced by the explosion must have been huge to separate all legs of all seats from the floor before inertia forces developed.

Despite Russian efforts to wash fragments obviously exposed to the high temperature of an explosion, traces of explosives were found in many places inside and outside of the fuselage.

In the case of the pilot seat – even after a part of the seat cover was cut and removed by the Russians, the traces of explosives were still detected.

Traces of explosives were found on the metal structure of the seats and on fragments outside of the fuselage near frames no. 16, 26, 36, and 46.

A thin sheet of aluminum subjected to an inner explosion is fragmented and deformed into curls and petals. Such fragments constitute hard-core evidence of an explosion inside the fuselage.

On the crash side, we found numerous concentrated areas with post-explosive curls and petals. All fragments of the fuselage with curls and petals are deformed in the direction outside of the fuselage, so they could only be produced by an explosion inside the fuselage. The pictures below show some of the many post-explosion curls and petals identified by our commission.

Those fragments as well as the other 60000 fragments of the disintegrated airplane fell on the ground as a rain of small fragments. So, there was no visible crater in the soft ground, which would be created by the weight of the entire airplane falling to the ground in one piece.

Finally, we used Finite Element Analysis to examine if it is possible to disintegrate the airplane into 60000 fragments by crashing (dropping) an 80-ton airplane into the ground and whether a birch tree could cut the left wing.

For this purpose, we built a very detailed airplane numerical model and developed the mathematical characterization of a birch tree wood and Smolensk wet soil.

We compared the results of this numerical analysis with real damage to the airplane in Smolensk.  With respect to the birch tree, FEA analysis shows that as a result of the contact of the left wing with the birch tree, both the upper and lower wing skins must deform upward, pushed by the tree trunk. In reality, the deformation direction of the lower skin of the wing tip in Smolensk is exactly the opposite, downward and outside of the wing box.  So, this type of deformation could not be produced by contact with a tree. Furthermore, in the real left-wing tip of Tu-154 M large post-explosive curls are clearly visible. Such deformation can only be produced by explosion.

The FEA results of the wing impacting the tree show that the wing cuts the birch tree. The FEA results also show that due to contact interaction, the entire airplane receives an impulse that pushes up the left wing, which consequently rotates the entire airplane on the right wing. It means the contact with a tree causes rotation in an opposite direction than that observed before the crash in Smolensk. Hence, the fact that the airplane rotated to the left in Smolensk proves beyond any doubt that there was no contact with a birch tree, but the left wing was damaged by an explosion inside the wing box and as a result lost lift force on the left side.


  • The assassination of the President of Poland Lech Kaczynski and 95 passengers and crew in Smolensk was conducted by the Russian Federation led by Vladimir V. Putin with silent approval from certain forces within Poland.
  • The selection of the Aviakor plant in Samara, Russia, for the overhaul of the Tu-154M planes, created a perfect opportunity for the Russians to plan, prepare, set up, and professionally install inside the structure of the airplane a complex explosive system for perfect demolition of the airplane.
  • On April 10, 2010, the Polish Airforce One was completely destroyed by a series of explosions in the internal parts of the airplane:
    • First, in the left-wing approximately 100 meters before Bodin’s birch tree;
    • Next, in the vertical stabilizer near Kutuzova Street;
    • Next, in regular intervals along the left side of the fuselage, at the floor level;
    • Finally, in the center wing structure of the airplane.
  • There is overwhelming proof of tampering with evidence by the Russian investigators at every stage of the Smolensk investigation.
  • At the crash site, all activities of the Russian special forces were aimed at obscuring and hiding what really happened. In particular, they worked on falsifying the process of airplane disintegration, eliminating traces of explosions, identifying and hiding deformed fragments with post-explosive curls and petals, changing the location of debris, cutting, deforming, and damaging debris, and falsifying official documentation.
  • In the investigation process Russians manipulated the autopsy reports of the victims to hide explosion and shock wave evidence on their bodies and altered the conditions of passenger seats exposed to high temperatures and shock waves from explosions.
  • They tried to eliminate evidence of explosions on seat trays and upholstery, fragments of the right horizontal stabilizer in the South Grove, fragments with post-explosive curls and petals, etc.
  • They destroyed the roof and sides of the open segment of the fuselage, and
  • They produced fake expert documents, fake crash site reports, manipulated descriptions of the bodies, manipulated all flight data recorders, etc.
  • Reconstruction results produced by the Polish Commission for Reinvestigation of the Smolensk Crash identified the process of disintegration of the entire airplane and epicenters of explosions.
  • Scientific Finite Element Analysis has shown that the left wing could not be cut by any tree. Also, this virtual experiment showed that the crash of the entire airplane into the ground would produce a small fragmentation of the airplane and deep trenches in the soft ground. Such evidence was not present in Smolensk.
  • Complex manipulations and forgeries were well coordinated and applied to all aspects of the investigation. The goal of those actions was to convince the international public opinion to the Russian version of events that blamed the Polish President, the Polish General, and the Polish Pilot for the crash in order to discredit the Polish Armed Forces and Poland as a member of NATO.

    Prof. Wieslaw Binienda
    in collaboration with Tomasz Ziemski and Maria Szonert Binienda


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1 comment

peter April 19, 2024 at 1:27 am

It seems highly plausible as you are all also now coming to terms that in 1943 General Wladislaw Sikorski was indeed assassinated. I have released the book ‘To Live Well is to Hide Well’ 2017. My book and its confession by the saboteur explain who, how and why it was done.
Then world aviation and WW2 Air Crash investigators studied my book and performed TRIALS and scientific evaluation and consults. They produced recently November 2023 in London, Grub Street Publications “Sabotage!” by Chris Wroblewski and Garth Barnard. They prove my book and disprove all other known assumptions and theories by testing them.
Then there is more soon to be released by popular author Peter Zablocki ‘The Death of General Sikorski’ June 2024 to be released, comes from the political aspect and ends with my book as the answer.
In fact, there are another couple of books by world experts now all agreeing.
So, it is food for thought.
I am always open for discussion at the website of


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