Drunken Russian Killers
When a TU-134 jet went down in Petrozavodsk, Russia on June 20th this year, some people (the Russian government included) wanted to blame the aging plane itself. Now, they own the poor plane an apology.
The 47 Russians who lost their lives on that flight were not killed by the plane, nor were they killed by any “evil” Chechen terrorist. They were killed by a fellow Russian, the navigator of the plane Aman Atayev. He was drunk at the wheel.
So even if the passengers had been flying in a brand new Boeing aircraft made in America with the latest technology, they still would not have been safe. Atayev’s mother says he turned to drinking as a result of his recent divorce, yet another omnipresent Russian social ill. She says so as if he were somehow the innocent victim of that divorce, but in fact one Russian man murders his wife every forty minutes, so it’s quite likely he brutalized his wife emotionally or physically or both, and that’s why she left him.
Bogus orders given by the drunken Atayev directly caused the plane to drop out of the sky. And the incident was hardly an aberration in Russia. As the Moscow Times reports: “The committee’s report sheds light on why Russian airlines are the world’s most deadly this year, surpassing the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, with 119 deaths in eight fatal crashes, including this month’s crash that killed most of the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl ice hockey team.”
Russia is such a basket case of a country that it’s actually possible to imagine that Kremlin made up the story about the navigator being drunk to hide the fact that Russian planes are mechanically unsafe and unsalvageable, in order to avoid more widespread panic. If the pilot is blamed, then maybe the Kremlin can just crack down and save lives.
But if the Kremlin thinks so, it is out of its mind. Russia can no more control its drunkenness than it can control its winters, and drunk pilots mean nobody is safe on any plane, no matter how modern or foreign-made.
Incidents of drunken flying are legion in Russia. The MT continues:
Drunken crew members have tarnished the safety and reputation of Russian airlines in recent years. In 2009, an S7 pilot was removed from a flight from Germany on suspicion of being drunk.
Later that year, an Aeroflot pilot was removed from a New York-bound plane in Moscow after passengers, including socialite Ksenia Sobchak, accused him of being drunk. The airline later said tests revealed no signs of intoxication and the pilot might have suffered a stroke.
The Investigative Committee confirmed last year that a drunken pilot was to blame for the 2008 crash of anAeroflot-Nord 737 jet in Perm that killed all 88 people on board.
And Russia’s Kremlin KGB rulers are also drunk at the switch. They have done nothing to make Russia’s skies safer, instead they have ignored the problem until after each spectacular crash, and then they mumble about criminal charges. Russia has invited the world to Sochi in 2014 for the Olympic Games. How many visitors will make it out of Russia alive?