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Photo from vesmirweb.net

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Kremlin Vetoes Investigation Into First Cosmonaut’s Death — Report

Created: 12.04.2007 15:41 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 15:41 MSK

MosNews


The Kremlin has vetoed a move to launch a fresh investigation into the death of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, despite aviation specialists’ belief that they have unraveled one of the 20th century’s greatest enigmas.

The rebuff comes as Russians celebrate Cosmonauts’ Day today, the anniversary of Gagarin’s historic flight around the Earth on 12 April 1961.

On 27 March 1968, Gagarin died in a mysterious plane crash while on a routine training mission in a MiG-15 with his flight instructor, Vladimir Serugin, just outside Moscow.

The results of the official investigation that followed were hypothetical and did not explain exactly what happened and why.

Investigators were only able to conclude that “the most probable cause” of his death was a sudden in-flight maneuver that sent the MiG into a nosedive from which it was impossible to recover.

They suggested that the pilots had been forced to swerve sharply to avoid a collision with a weather balloon or to avoid cloud cover.

The vague nature of the commission’s findings led some experts to question Gagarin’s competence as a pilot and created an information vacuum that has since spawned endless conspiracy theories.

One of the most insulting has the two men drunk on vodka, and losing control of the plane. Gagarin found fame hard to deal with after his return from space, it is argued, and had become a heavy drinker.

Other theories have been no less far-fetched: that he was abducted by aliens, that he survived the crash and died in a Soviet psychiatric ward in 1990, that Serugin killed them both because he was jealous of Gagarin, or that Gagarin staged his own death, had plastic surgery and disappeared.

There have also been suggestions that the “accident” was arranged by the Soviet leader at the time, Leonid Brezhnev, who apparently felt threatened by Gagarin’s fame and was embarrassed by his alcohol-fuelled philandering.

But Igor Kuznetsov, an aviation engineer involved in the 1968 investigation, thinks that he and his colleagues have solved the enigma after conducting their own investigation using modern methodology, belfasttelegraph.co.uk Web site reported.

But the Kremlin has said it does not believe the experts’ theory and sees no grounds to question the original findings.


MONEY

MosNews

Putin Signs Bill to Set Up State-Owned Nuclear Industry Giant in Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin

On Friday, April 27, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill to set up a state-owned nuclear power holding that will control the country’s civilian nuclear energy industry. The holding, called Atomenergoprom, will in turn become a part of a larger corporation that will control both civilian and military nuclear energy in Russia.

FEATURE

MosNews

Living in Chernobyl Less Risky Than Passive Smoking — Study

satellite photo of Chernobyl NPP area, image by NASA

The risk of survivors of the Chernobyl accident dying early is far less than supposed, ranking about the same as exposure to air pollution or passive smoking, according to new research published on Tuesday.

ADVERTISMENT

Guide to Russia

INTERVIEW

MosNews

Litvinenko’s Contacts Say British Media Lying About Murder Charges

Photo by the Associated Press

In an interview with the Russia Today television the two men at the centre of British accusations over the murder of former Russian security agent Aleksandr Litvinenko have denied the claims they were suspects in the case.

COLUMN

DELIYA MEYLANOVA

MosNews

The Temptation of Vladimir Putin

Image by MosNews

The �2008 question� increasingly being put to Vladimir Putin is important not only for because it will decide who will lead Russia until 2012, but also because of its symbolic significance. Will the constitution be changed?

COMMENTARY

MosNews

Putin Launches Presidential Race With Latest Reshuffle — Reports

Vladimir Putin and Sergei Ivanov / photo: Newsru.com

Vladimir Putin has placed his two most likely replacements in parallel positions in government to give them an equal chance ahead of expected presidential elections in 2008, Russian newspapers have said.

IMAGES

Russia’s Largest Wargame Festival

Every October Russian wargame fans gather near Moscow for the year’s biggest event — the “Moscow Lies Behind”. Thousands look on as the Red Army inevitably beats Wehrmacht, enjoying both the victory and the scrupulously reconstructed World War II uniforms and arms.






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