As they say in the Russian proverb: the less you know – the better you sleep. Apparently, the leadership of the Soviet Union acted in accordance with this popular wisdom, so it tried to not disturb the inhabitants of the country with bad news. …
Those were the five large-scale catastrophes that Soviet citizens learned only many years after. All data about them was carefully hidden, so it is still difficult to establish the exact number of victims.
Massive stampede in the Luzhniki Stadium
On October 20, 1982 at the Moscow Central Stadium named after Lenin there was the biggest tragedy in the history of Soviet sports. It happened under the curtain of the UEFA Cup football match between “Spartacus” and the Dutch “Haarlem”.
On that accursed day, the weather was extremely cold. On the eve of the match in Moscow, the first snow fell, and the temperature dropped to -10!
Frightened fans just before the end of the match massively went to the exit. On the tribune C, where the bulk of the fans were located, only one of the four gates was opened. At some point a girl fell on the stairs, someone stopped to help her, and the people pushed in from behind – a crush started.
In spite, a few seconds before the final whistle, Spartak scored a goal, and most of the fans went back into the tribune. As a result, a grandiose crush ensued, in which 66 people were killed! Most of them were teenagers …
Despite the scale of the disaster, they simply decided not to talk about it. The next day, on the last page of the newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva, only a couple of lines were written about the incident:
“On October 20, 1982, after football match at the Bolshoi sports arena of the Central Lenin Stadium at the exit fans as a result of violation of the order, an accident occurred. There are victims. An investigation of the circumstances is under way. ”
The public learned about the terrible tragedy only with the onset of the period of publicity, 7 years after the incident! And to the 10th anniversary of the disaster there was build a monument was erected near the “Luzhniki”.
2. Escalator collapse in the Moscow metro
In the same year 1982, there was another big tragedy. At the peak rush hour on February 17, at the Aviamotornaya subway station in Moscow, the rail of one of the escalators went off. Because of this, the chain of trolleys with the steps disconnected from the engine, and the ladder, accelerating under the weight of the passengers, rushed down …
Many people rushed up the stairs in a panic, colliding with those who tried to stay on their feet. In the bottom of the escalator there was a blockage. People fell on each other, crushing those who were at the bottom of the heap.
Some tried to move to a nearby escalator, but the plastic coating could not stand, and several people fell through the balustrade. Driving mechanisms were stopped by operator in only two minutes however that was too late and many victims occurred smashed by escalator gears and chains.
The only information about the tragedy was printed by the same “Evening Moscow”, and it was not very informative. Just look at the size of the article – couple of the lines in a hidden corner of the newspaper.
Because of this secrecy, the catastrophe in the metro overgrown with a lot of rumors. People told each other about a bloody meat grinder, in which up to 700 people died! Although in fact the number of victims was not so big.
Some time later secret photos made by Soviet police sourfaced.
3. Sending a plane into an apartment house in Novosibirsk
It is possible that the Al Qaeda terrorists who sent the plane to the WTC building in New York were inspired by the 23-year-old Civil Aviation pilot Vladimir Serkov.
Early in the morning on September 26, 1976, after a quarrel with his wife, he hijacked the An-2 (corn-cob) airplane from the local airfield and crashed into a five-story residential building. So he wanted to take revenge on his wife and aimed at her parents’ apartment where she went to live, and took her two-year-old son.
Revenge of the kamikaze failed, because neither the wife nor her relatives were in the house at that time. But their innocent neighbors suffered. Aviation fuel poured out and the 5-storey building and fire started…
Fleeing from the fire, people jumped out of windows and balconies. Four crashed to death, and eleven others were injured.
4. The tragedy of the cruise ship “Alexander Suvorov”
In the evening on June 5, 1983, the cruise ship “Alexander Suvorov” at full speed went under the non-navigable flight of the Ulyanovsk bridge across the Volga and touched the structure of the upper deck …
As a result, the entire upper part was literally cut off: a log cabin, a cinema hall, chimneys. Most of the passengers at that time watched the movie in the cinema or had fun on the dance floor, which were on the upper deck.
The number of killed people, according to various sources, was between 176 and 300 people. Difficulties with the calculation were due to the fact that the ship was overloaded. In addition to 330 officially registered passengers, 50 crew members and 35 servicemen, there were relatives of the crew members and other stowaways…
5. Catastrophe on Baikonur Space Launch Site
In October 1960, the ballistic missile R-16 exploded at the Baikonur Cosmodrome during the preparation for the test launch. This was caused that very unfinished missile was already brought to the site. The Soviet leadership urged the engineers to show the progress and launch the missile for the anniversary of the October Revolution.
Half an hour before the official start, there was an sudden start of one of the engines. After it a terrible explosion rattled! According to various estimates, between 74 and 126 people were burned alive, including Soviet Marshal (rank was higher than general) Mitrofan Nedelin, the commander-in-chief of the Strategic Missile Forces, who was sitting in a bunker a few meters away from the bottom of the rocket.
The cameras captured a terrible picture: the waves of flame flared from the rocket, people burning like torches jumped out of the fire and flashed in all directions. Some ran up to the barbed wire fence and lifelessly hung on it.
Data about the tragedy was immediately classified. And in order to somehow explain the death of the commander-in-chief of the Strategic Missile Force, they came out with a plane crash in which Nedelin allegedly died. He was buried with honor at the Kremlin wall, and other victims – secretly in the cemeteries across different Soviet cities and inside the mass grave in Baikonur. Data on the disaster was carefully concealed, and the first free public mention of it appeared only in 1989 …
It is terrible to realize the scale of these tragedies… Were Soviet authorities right andthe population should not know about all the horrors? Probably not.