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Dead Head. How to investigate the largest terrorist attack in the history of the USSR

The wreckage with the Aeroflot symbolism and human bodies scattered ten kilometers in the uninhabited area near Chita – 45 years ago, on May 18, 1973, the terrorist activated a bomb on board the Tu-104A liner. A few hours later in the area of ​​the catastrophe, which killed 81 people, launched a large-scale search operation. However, the cause of the tragedy was already known to the investigation – shortly before the death the pilots were informed on the ground about the attempt to seize the aircraft. On the most bloody terrorist attack in Soviet history – in the material of RIA Novosti.

The wreckage with the Aeroflot symbolism and human bodies scattered ten kilometers in the uninhabited area near Chita – 45 years ago, on May 18, 1973, the terrorist activated a bomb on board the Tu-104A liner. A few hours later in the area of ​​the catastrophe, which killed 81 people, launched a large-scale search operation. However, the cause of the tragedy was already known to the investigation – shortly before the death the pilots were informed on the ground about the attempt to seize the aircraft. On the most bloody terrorist attack in Soviet history – in the material of RIA Novosti.

Who shot?
That day, the TU-104A liner with the USSR-42379 registration number was operated by the Moscow-Chelyabinsk-Novosibirsk-Irkutsk-Chita flight. On board there were 72 passengers and nine crew members. At 03:36 Moscow time, the commander of the aircraft Nikolai Obodyansky said on the ground that one of the passengers demands to change the course. The coded danger signal also came from the board. At this point the car was at an altitude of 6600 meters. After two minutes the connection with the crew was interrupted, the mark of the aircraft on the radar screen split into several parts and disappeared. At 10:55 local time, the wreckage of the car, scattered over an area of ​​ten hectares, found a Mi-8 search helicopter.

The nature of the plane’s damage confirmed the words of the eyewitnesses of the disaster. “The explosion of an unbrushed high explosive (TNT) weighing five and a half to six kilograms occurred in the area of ​​the right emergency hatch of the first salon,” the commission will later establish. However, the investigation first had to find out the identity of the terrorist and his possible accomplices, and also to restore the chronology of the events that preceded the tragedy.

Airliner Tu-104, the same type with the crashed near Chita in May 1973
Airliner Tu-104, the same type with the crashed near Chita in May 1973

The main investigators of the USSR Prosecutor General’s Office made for examination the remains of passengers – according to their calculations, at the moment of detonation, the terrorist should be in close proximity to the explosive device. The forensic experts from Chita, Irkutsk and Ulan-Ude were involved in the investigation. Already on May 19, the body of the alleged terrorist was found – a man of 30-35 years without brushes and with characteristic explosive injuries.

During the inspection, another important detail emerged: there were two bullet holes on the body. Investigators did not doubt: the weapon was used by the accompanying flight the younger lieutenant of militia Vladimir Ezhikov. Despite the large area scatter of debris and fragments of bodies, the pistol Ezhikov still found. In its cage, two cartridges were missing.

Skull in pieces
According to the investigation, the terrorist through the stewardess handed the note to the crew. “From the cab there was a demand to change the course, the on-board agent turned on the danger signal and said:” They will now go into the cabin and say where to go, “- this was the last message of Nikolai Obodiansky to the dispatcher. According to the forensic experts, at the time of the death, the terrorist was on his feet, his hands were folded on his chest. Most likely, he was going to the cockpit, holding an explosive device. It was then that Junior Lieutenant Jerzyk opened fire, mortally wounding the terrorist. Nevertheless, the bomb managed to blow up.

The Makarov pistol
The Makarov pistol

Where the hijacker intended to direct the plane, remains a mystery. Judging by the report of the commander of the aircraft, the offender was going to point a new course to the pilots personally, but he did not reach the cabin. Presumably, the terrorist tried to steal the plane to China. This is the only country to which the Tu-104 could fly on the remaining fuel. In addition, Moscow and Beijing at that time had very strained relations – apparently, the hijacker expected that the Chinese authorities would not extradite him to the USSR. The “Chinese version” will later receive other indirect confirmation.

The identity of the criminal was established by hundreds of specialists. The chekists throughout the country studied the cases of the passengers falling under the description of passengers, interviewed their relatives and acquaintances. The forensic experts collected the mutilated head of the terrorist for identification in parts: the skull bones were fastened with tires, the skin pieces were sewn with thin nylon threads. It is for sure not known how the killer of eighty people eventually managed to be identified. According to one of the versions, he was identified by the cashier of the Irkutsk airport by the photo of his head. On the other hand, this is the result of the operational activities of the KGB.

Unsuccessful diplomat
As a result, it was found out that the 32-year-old native of Kirovobad Chingis (Tengiz) Yunus-ogly Rzayev exploded a Tu-104 plane. He was well versed in explosive devices – here, in Transbaikalia, served an “urgent” sapper. In addition, at one time he worked in the road construction department, where shortly before the terrorist attack several kilograms of explosives disappeared. During the search of the terrorist’s apartment, they found the components of the explosive device and the bomb drawings.

The building of the USSR State Security Committee
The building of the USSR State Security Committee

Rzaev’s psychological portrait spoke about many things. After the army, he tried to enter MGIMO – he dreamed of becoming a diplomat. At the same time, not only did not speak foreign languages, but also spoke in Russian with difficulty. One of his friends told investigators that the failure at the examinations Rzayev took as an insult. And in conversations, he repeatedly expressed the desire to move to China.

The number of victims of the Tu-104A disaster near Chita is the largest terrorist attack in Soviet history. However, this was not the first capture of the aircraft. Less than a month before the tragedy near Chita, Pulkovo airport crashed a Tu-104B airliner seized by a terrorist. The explosion of a homemade bomb killed two people. The pilots managed to land a damaged car, which was still burnt. In total, only in the 1970s there were about thirty attempts of hijacking passenger planes in the USSR.

The Tu-104B aircraft with the onboard number 42505 after landing at the Pulkovo airport. 23
The Tu-104B aircraft with the onboard number 42505 after landing at the Pulkovo airport. 23

Reference

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