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Putin call stops Smolensk press conference

18th October 2013

© TVN24
The screen being used suddenly lit up with Skype calls including one from the Russian president
The screen being used suddenly lit up with Skype calls including one from the Russian president
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A press conference held on Wednesday by leading figures in the Law & Justice (PiS) party was interrupted when a Skype call from Vladimir Putin appeared on the screen the politicians were using for their presentation.

The press conference was attended by PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, Antoni Macierewicz and Mariusz Blaszczak. The group claim that the Smolensk tragedy was caused not by an accident but by an explosion on-board the Tupolev 154-M aircraft and involved the Russians.

One of their experts, Dr. Bogdan Gajewski of the International Civil Aviation Authority, appeared at the conference via Skype where he stated that the crew was not at fault for the crash but had in fact “worked to the end, trying to save the plane before the crash".

Prof. Wieslaw Binienda, who was present at the conference, then presented his argument that the aircraft could only have been destroyed by an explosion. His presentation was interrupted when the message that ‘Wladimir Putin dzwoni’ (Vladimir Putin is calling) appeared on the screen. This was quickly followed by lots of other ‘callers’ trying to get through including one whose Skype name was ‘je**ć Tuska’ (f*** Tusk). Prof. Binienda tried to continue his presentation but was eventually stopped when attempts to cancel the calls proved unsuccessful.

A group of other experts who were waiting on Skype to speak to the press conference on behalf of the parliamentary group were then prevented from appearing as the press conference was suspended due to ‘technical problems’. Prof. Binienda told the conference that the Skype attack was carried out by people who did not want this information reaching the public.

The following day Mr Macierewicz appeared before journalists again where he announced that he had written to the Attorney General demanding a criminal investigation into what had happened. He demanded that the Attorney General identify and prosecute those involved and also introduce safeguards to ensure that institutions of parliament could work without fear of similar attack.

Mr Macierewicz informed the journalists that all presentations relating to the previous day’s press conference could be downloaded from the PiS website “including those which could not be delivered due to the attack by hackers”.

Mr. Macierewicz’s claims drew criticism from those who said the incident was not caused by hackers but demonstrated the politicians lack of understanding of modern methods of communication. “Skype is one of the most original ways to use your computer, and Wednesday's events at the conference by Antoni Macierewicz’s team showed that the Polish elite have a lack of experience in the use of new technologies” Przemyslaw Pajak of ‘Spidersweb.pl’ told TVN24’s Jaroslaw Kuzniar.

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