Violation by the Russian Federation of Rules and Procedures of the Chicago Convention, its Annexes and ICAO Regulations
Flight Management Group
In the IAC Final Report the Russian Federation states that the Chief Air Traffic Controller Pavel Pliusnin and Landing Zone Controller Viktor Ryzenko12underwent medical examinations and were authorized to perform air traffic control functions by a doctor on duty at the medical point JW 06755. According to the statement given to the public prosecutors of the Russian Federation on 10 April 2010, the medical point was closed at that time. Both controllers decided themselves that ‘there were no obstacles to fulfil their duties’ judged on their well-being. In his statements made before the public prosecutor on April 10, 2010 between 2 and 4 PM, the Landing Zone Controller stated that the medical unit was closed at the time. The statement also contains the following text:
I felt good on 10 April 2010. Around seven o'clock that day, Pliusnin and I underwent a medical examination at the Military Health Facility unit 06755: [ Translator's Note: before the word “underwent” the word “did not” is added / as a result of which it was concluded that I was in good health / Translator's Note: the deleted words are deleted in the original protocol], since there was nobody at the medical unit, but as I already stated, I felt good and nothing happened that would affect my ability to carry out my official duties.13
The Polish side pointed out that above statement is inconsistent with Par. 1.5.3 of the IAC Final Report entitled “Details of the ground crew.” In the table regarding CATC under “Medical examination before shift” the following text appears: At 05:15, authorised for air traffic control by the doctor on duty of Military Unit 06755, while in the table regarding Landing Zone Controller under "Medical examination before shift" the following text appears: At 06:50, authorised for air traffic control by the doctor on duty of Military Unit 06755.14
The IAC disregarded the vital information as to the eligibility of the CATC to perform his duties at the airport that day. There is no record that the Air Traffic Controller was authorized to work in difficult meteorological conditions. During questioning by the IAC on 18 April 2010, the Air Traffic Controller admitted it was only his second time in this role ever at the Smolensk airport. His first ever shift took place on April 7. Within the 12 month prior to this accident, he had undertaken this role only nine times altogether. Again, there is no documentation provided as to whether the Landing Zone Controller had ever been trained or authorized to operate and supervise the Precision Approach Radar RSP-6M2 System in Smolensk.
12CATC Assistant W.W. Lubancev was also on duty that day.
13 Polish Response in English, p. 33.
"Russian Image Management"
The trip to Smolensk was expected to highlight Russia finally admitting culpability in the massacre, after long having blamed it on the Germans, an atrocity they had tried to conceal for over 70 years.
As for the reception committee, it had different ideas. Putin wasn’t looking forward to such an occasion. Into this poisonous reception brew was President Kaczynski’s well-known public criticism of Moscow and Putin, a habit that has ended the lives of others within Russia – and abroad. A few discouraging Russian requirements – that Kaczynski could not attend in any official capacity – did not halt the Poles. Kaczynski would go anyway on non-official, “personal” business. To Russians, such a distinction would be meaningless, not lessening the possible international excoriation of such an event. A problem ripe for a modern, Russian solution: a tragic, ‘natural’ accident.
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