(CNN) -- Experts say the deaths of senior military chiefs in Saturday's plane crash could have more serious implications for Poland than the loss of the country's president.
President Lech Kaczynski was killed Saturday when a plane carrying senior Polish officials on their way to a memorial service in Russia crashed at an airport in Smolensk.
Ninety-six people were killed including the president's wife, the deputy parliament speaker, the deputy foreign minister and the head of the National Bank of Poland.
"The entire top military brass, including the chief of defense and all the services, were on the plane," said Tomas Valasek, of the Center for European Reform. "If that is true, then you're looking at a situation, in effect, of the decapitation of the military services."
Among the military leaders confirmed dead are Aleksander Szczyglo, head of the National Security Office, Gen. Franciszek Gagor, head of the army chief of staff and Bishop Tadeusz Ploski, an army chaplain.
They were on their way to Russia for the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war in the village of Katyn.
While Kaczynski filled the country's highest post, Valasek said the government machinery needed to run the country remained intact.
"The government is in place... this is not a presidential system."
He added that any changes to the political landscape in Poland would be related to the forthcoming presidential elections.
President Kaczynski, 60, had been due to stand for reelection, but he was unpopular and would probably have lost, according to experts.
"This is a political earthquake, a lot of leaders have perished, and first we have to let this moment of shock pass. But the reality is that the Kaczynskis [President Lech Kaczynski has an identical twin brother Jaroslaw] are not very popular in Poland," said Piotr Kaczynski, an analyst at the Center for European Policy Studies.
An election must be held within 60 days. Piotr Kaczynski -- who is not related to the president -- said the speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, who is now the acting president, will almost certainly be elected leader.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk, who is popular in Poland, withdrew from the presidential elections three weeks ago.
Another important side-effect of the plane crash could be Polish-Russian relations.
James Sherr, head of Russia and Eurasia at the London-based think-tank Chatham House, said relations between the two countries were strained because of the continuing tensions over the massacre of tens of thousands of Polish people in during the 1940s and becasue of Poland's close relationship with the U.S.
At the time of the crash, Kaczynski had been traveling with his wife Maria and a high-level Polish delegation to Russia for the 70th anniversary of the massacre of Polish prisoners of war in the village of Katyn.
"Katyn has been the most difficult issue up to the present moment. Everyone in Poland knows that the Katyn massacre was a very small part of a systematic effort by Russians to get rid of a whole class of Polish people," said Sherr.
Sherr added that it would be good for relations between the two countries if there was an open and swift investigation into the crash.
On Saturday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to head an inquiry commission into the plane crash.
Russia admitted to the Katyn massacre in 1990, but will not release papers that could identify perpetrators in the massacre, said Sherr.