Could you imagine if tomorrow a small single-engine plane landed on the White House lawn? Well, imagine a German teen landing on Red Square at the heart of Soviet Moscow. For those of us old enough to remember, it was stunning. Stunning that he did it … and stunning that he wasn’t shot on sight.
In 1987 a West German teenager shocked the world, by flying through Soviet air defences to land a Cessna aeroplane in Red Square. He was jailed for more than a year – but a quarter of a century later, he has no regrets.
Here are some more thoughts on how this impacted the changes in the USSR:
- Rust bypasses Soviet air defence system of 2,250 aircraft and 10,000 surface-to-air missiles
- Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev holds an emergency meeting of the ruling Politburo – it criticises air defence ministers for carelessness and lack of decisiveness
- Defence Minister Sergei Sokolov is forced to retire – air defence chief Alexander Koldunov is sacked
- About 150 officers are removed from their posts
It is an amazing bit of history that has all but disappeared from public knowledge – as it is very little is discussed outside of history classes about the Soviet Union in general.
But I pose the question again: What would happen if a single-engine plane landed on the White House lawn? Would the plane be shot down? Would the pilot be shot on sight? What would be the reaction in the ‘court of public opinion’?
Source: BBC via Neatorama