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“Poles lack things to be proud of,” says Bartosz Weglarczyk, foreign editor of Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland’s second biggest-selling daily newspaper. “Our food makes you fat and our football team is rubbish. But the way that our country coped with the Smolensk tragedy is something of which we as a nation can truly be proud.”

Among the 96 killed were a number of its leading political and intellectual figures, including the president, Lech Kaczynski, when their plane crashed just short of the runway at Russia’s Smolensk Airport in April. Poles got through…

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