UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Biography of Polish President Lech Kaczynski killed in plane crash in western Russia

RIA Novosti


MOSCOW, April 10 (RIA Novosti) - Polish President Lech Kaczynski and up to 131 people traveling with him to commemorate the mass killing of Polish officers during World War Two died on Saturday when his plane crashed on landing in western Russia.

Below follows a brief biography of Lech Kaczynski.

Lech Aleksander Kaczynski was born on June 18, 1949, in Warsaw. He graduated from the Law and Administration faculty of the Warsaw University and later was awarded a PhD from Gdansk University.

In 1977, he began his political career in the Intervention Bureau of the Workers' Defense Committee (predecessor of the Solidarity Union) and later became involved in activities of the Free Trade Unions. In 1980, he became an adviser to the Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee in the Gdansk Shipyard and the Solidarity movement. Also in 1980, he was appointed as an adviser to the Gdansk Inter-Enterprise Strike Committee in the Gdansk Shipyard.

In 1983-1984, he was a head of one of the Solidarity commissions and then became a representative of this trade union in Gdansk.

In 1988, Kaczynski became a member of the Secretariat of the National Executive Committee of NSZZ "Solidarnosc," along with Jaroslaw Kaczynski (his twin brother), Andrzej Celinski and Henryk Wujec. In 1989, he became a member of the Presidium of the National Executive Committee of NSZZ "Solidarnosc" and in 1990, he was appointed the first deputy chairman of the committee.

In 1991, Kaczynski was Minister of State in charge of Security in the Office of the President of the Republic of Poland (the post no longer exists). And in 1992, he became president of the Supreme Chamber of Control which was in existence until 1995.

In the 90s he was supported by the electoral committee Center Civic Alliance, closely related but not identical to the political party Porozumienie Centrum (Center Agreement) led by his brother.

In 2000-2001, he served as the Justice Minister in Jerzy Buzek's government.

In spring 2001, he created together with Jaroslaw Kaczynski a new right-wing party, the Law and Justice National Committee.

From 2002, Lech Kaczynski served as Warsaw mayor.

In 2005, Lech Kaczynski declared his intention to run for the Polish presidential post and later defeated his rival Donald Tusk in the second round of the elections. He assumed the office on December 23, 2005, taking his oath of office before the National Assembly.

Some critics used to complain that Poland was led by two twins as Lech led the state and Jaroslaw controlled legislature and the government. Later, on June 14, 2006, Lech Kaczynski appointed his brother a prime minister.

Some tensions occurred in the relations between Poland and its EU partners. At the same time, Poland was a U.S. ally and was considered one of the most possible places for a missile shield deployment.

Russian-Polish relations became tenser. On November 15, 2006, Kaczynski suggested to impose sanctions against Russia if it refused to lift its ban on imports of Polish meat and agricultural products. Poland vetoed talks on cooperation between the European Union and Russia, which were to begin at the EU-Russia summit on November 24. As a result, negotiations were not launched.

In June 2007, Poland faced a political crisis. At the insistence of his brother, Lech Kaczynski sacked Deputy Prime Minister and Agriculture Minister Andrzej Lepper who was allegedly involved in corruption scandals. Lepper denied his involvement. However, he pledged to resign from the Samoobrona party, which he led and which was in the government coalition. The scandal developed further when media published reports that the resignation of the deputy PM was the result of a provocation by Jaroslaw Kaczynski.

In October 2007, Poland held early parliamentary elections, in which PiS won some 32.11% of votes and ceded the victory to the Civic Platform of Tusk. On November 5, 2007, Jaroslaw resigned.

In February 2008, Lech Kaczynski's rating fell to 29%. In June 2008, only 35% of Poles supported the president's domestic and foreign policies.

Lech Kaczynski had a wife, Maria, who also died in the plane crash on Saturday. The couple had a daughter, Marta, and two granddaughters, six-year-old Ewa and two-year-old Martyna.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list