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Kaczynski defended workers' rights

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Poland's President Lech Kaczynski (L) walks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko during a welcoming ceremony in at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on September 7, 2009. Yushchenko was in Poland for a two-day official visit. UPI/Mykola Lazarenko/Presidential Press Service | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/c7558d86cbd79a3ea878dbedc35e9575/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Poland's President Lech Kaczynski (L) walks with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko during a welcoming ceremony in at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on September 7, 2009. Yushchenko was in Poland for a two-day official visit. UPI/Mykola Lazarenko/Presidential Press Service | License Photo

WARSAW, Poland, April 10 (UPI) -- A year after winning election as president of Poland, Lech Kaczynski appointed his twin brother Jaroslaw as prime minister.

Kaczynski, 61, died Saturday after his plane crashed on the way to Katyn in western Russia. He was to help commemorate the mass murder 70 years ago of 20,000 Polish officers by Soviet security police.

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Born in Warsaw in June, 1949, Kaczynski earned praise for his anti-corruption efforts, but also had a long history of defending workers' rights, CNN reported. After studying law the University of Warsaw he went on to work closely with unions.

The presidential Web site says Kaczynski worked on behalf of the Worker's Defence Committee in 1976 to collect money for workers, CNN reported.

He supported the formation of Solidarity, a national umbrella union pulling together the country's trade unions, in 1980, and became president of the Supreme Chamber of Control, CNN said.

He was appointed minister of justice in 2000.

The twin brothers formed the right-wing Law and Justice National Committee party in 2001. The next year, Lech Kaczynski was elected mayor of the city of Warsaw, CNN said.

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Lech Kaczynski was elected president in 2005, getting more than 54 percent of the first round vote.

The twins -- Jaroslaw would hold office until 2006 -- were often at odds with European Union partners and Russia, The New York Times said, especially because of their close relations with Ukraine and Georgia.

Kaczynski believed a strong NATO would prevent Russia from regaining its influence over Eastern and Central Europe, the Times said.

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