Mathias Rust

From Academic Kids

Missing image
Rust in a Moscow courtroom

Mathias Rust (born 1968) is a German pilot, who flew from Hamburg, passed the Soviet Union's air defenses and landed on Red Square near the Kremlin, Moscow, using a single-engine Cessna 172B on May 28, 1987, at the age of 19.

Mathias Rust started his flight in Helsinki (Finland), then refuelled his Cessna at Helsinki-Malmi Airport. Rust told the air traffic control that he was going to Stockholm, but he turned his Cessna towards the east near Nummela and disappeared from the Finnish air space near Sipoo. He headed towards the Baltic coastline and turned his Cessana towards Moscow. By chance, he flew into the Soviet Union on the national border guard's holiday, and the lax security that resulted allowed him to fly into Soviet territory unnoticed. Rust flew straight towards Moscow and landed on Red Square. Rust was arrested immediately by the Soviet authorities. Mikhail Gorbachev took advantage of this, replacing the defense and air defense ministers (both of whom were opposed to glasnost and perestroika) with men who supported his policies. More than 2,000 officers (again, most of whom were opposed to Gorbachev's reform) lost their jobs. This move was critical in winning the previously fiercely conservative and anti-reform military.

His trial started in Moscow on September 2, 1987. He was sentenced to four years in a labour camp for hooliganism, disregard of aviation laws and infringement of the Soviet border. After a prison sentence of 432 days in the Soviet Union, he was returned to West Germany on August 3, 1988. After serving 18 months in Soviet prison, Rust worked for some time in a hospital in Rissen, Germany. While in the hospital he fell in love with a nurse, but when his romantic advances were rejected he attempted to murder her by stabbing her with a knife. For this, he was sentenced to two and a half years in prison from 1991 to 1993.


As a result of the harsh conditions Rust was forced to endure in the Soviet prison in which he was incarcerated (being kept 22 hours a day in a 10-m cell, for example), Rust lost more than 10 kg and had severe stomach problems.

In 1989, after unsuccessful attempts to ask a nurse out for a date, he injured her with a knife, for which he was sentenced to two years in prison. He was released after five months, however.

In April 1994 Rust suddenly announced that he would return to Russia, visiting an orphanage, for which he had become the patron. He then disappeared for two years. A rumor said he had died in Russia, but it later turned out he had been working as a shoe salesman in Moscow.

Two years later, at the age of 28, and after having travelled all over the world, Rust returned to Germany. According to an interview in 1997, he planned to marry an Indian girl, Geetha, the daughter of a wealthy Indian tea-salesman. Rust himself converted to Hinduism, and the marriage was said to be held as a Hindu-ceremony in India. The couple would then move back to Germany. In 2001 Mathias appeared in court on charges he stole a cashmere pullover. The outcome is unknown.

Today's situation in Rust's life

Rust is now living in Berlin married to his second wife Athena.

Today, a wealthy Japanese businessman owns Rust's aircraft, keeping it in a hangar until its value appreciates.

External links

de:Mathias Rust fr:Mathias Rust nl:Mathias Rust pt:Mathias Rust ru:Руст, Матиас


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