The remains of the former Polish president Lech Kaczyński and his wife Maria are to be removed from the crypt at Wawel Castle in Kraków on Monday evening and re-examined by state prosecutors.
The move is the latest step in the ruling Law and Justice party’s efforts to demonstrate that the Smolensk air disaster in April 2010, which killed the pair and 94 others, was engineered by Russia and covered up by domestic political opponents.
There are expected to be exhumations of 10 Smolensk victims this year, with a total of 83 victims to be exhumed and re-examined by the end of 2017. According to polling by Ipsos, only 10% of Poles support the move, and the planned exhumations have sparked protests among some of the victims’ relatives.
In a letter to political and clerical authorities, more than 200 relatives of 17 people who died wrote: “Six years after those terrible days we stand alone and helpless in the face of a ruthless and cruel act: our loved ones are to be taken out of their graves … We, the families, have for months unsuccessfully expressed our objection to the announcement of this incomprehensible and unjustified venture.”
My report for the Guardian can be found here.