A plane carrying Polish leader Lech Kaczynski crashed killing all on board because the crew feared that aborting the landing due to fog would anger the president, Russian aviation officials said on Wednesday.
The late president's twin brother Jaroslaw condemned as a joke against Poland the Russian report on the crash, which killed many of Poland's political and military leadership and has tested ties between Warsaw and its former communist master.
Russia's Interstate Aviation Committee (IAC), presenting its final report, played a recording of the voice of a crew member as the plane neared Smolensk where Kaczynski was to attend a memorial for Poles massacred by Soviet secret police in 1940.
He'll get mad, said the crew member, in Polish. The comment was translated by the IAC into Russian.
IAC head Tatiana Anodina said the decision to land despite bad weather was the direct cause of the April crash, which killed 96 people, also including Kaczynski's wife.
On the one hand, he (the pilot) knew the plane shouldn't be landing in these conditions, on the other hand there was strong pressure on board to bring the plane to a landing, she told a news briefing presenting the report.
Anodina said the presence of Kaczynski on the plane and of Polish air force chief Andrzej Blasik inside the cockpit influenced the pilot's decision not to abort the landing and instead try to fly to an another airstrip.
The expected negative reaction of the main passenger (to a recommendation not to land)...placed psychological pressure on crew members and influenced the decision to continue the landing, Anodina said, referring to Kaczynski.
There was no apparent evidence in the flight recording of any direct order from Kaczynski.
Tests found Blasik had traces of alcohol in his blood, Anodina said.
NO SUICIDAL TENDENCIES
Jaroslaw Kaczynski dismissed the report's suggestion that his brother may have put psychological pressure on the pilots to land, saying: my brother did not show suicidal tendencies.
The report puts the entire blame on Polish pilots and Poland without any proof...The report is a joke against Poland, he told a news conference, adding that his right-wing Law and Justice party would urge parliament to reject it.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk cut short a foreign skiing holiday to return to Poland for talks with officials on the Russian report.
Polish lawyer Rafal Rogalski, representing relatives of some of the 96 killed in a crash that shook Poland, rejected the Russian report as an absolute scandal.
The families want the truth... not the presentation of just one side without considering arguments which lie also on the Russian side, he said
Last month, Tusk criticised as unacceptable a preliminary version of the Russian report in comments that riled Moscow and threaten to derail a cautious rapprochement.
The crash prompted an outpouring of sympathy from the Kremlin, supporting efforts to mend deeply strained ties between Warsaw and Moscow, which dominated Soviet satellite Poland for decades until 1989. Investigations of the crash, however, have thrown up differences.
A senior Polish foreign ministry official said the report could spell trouble ahead for bilateral relations.
It looks like our remarks to the report have been completely ignored. We still need to analyse the report thoroughly, but of course there is a chance this is the beginning of trouble (between Poland and Russia), the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Kaczynski and the others were travelling to Russia to commemorate thousands of Poles killed by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin's secret police in the Katyn massacre in 1940.