The day Mathias Rust landed in Moscow – level 2

28-05-1987

In 1987, Mathias Rust from West Germany was 18 years old. The Cold War was in Europe at that time. Mathias didn’t like the Cold War. He wanted to do something, and he decided to speak to the Soviet leader.

Mathias waited for nice weather. He told his parents that he was going on a 2-week trip around Scandinavia. He rented a small plane at an airport near Hamburg. Then, he flew to Iceland, then to Norway, and finally to Finland. There he stayed in a hotel, and he prepared for the last part of his journey – a flight to Moscow.

On May 28, 1987, Mathias entered the Soviet airspace. He didn’t have any permission. It was very dangerous to do such a thing. The Soviet planes could shoot him down immediately.

For the first hour, he flew over the Soviet Union without any problems. Then a fighter plane was sent to him, but it flew away after a few minutes. The fighter planes flew to him twice more, but each time they flew away again. Why they never tried to stop him was a mystery.

In the late afternoon, Mathias came to Moscow and he landed near Red Square. People couldn’t believe their eyes. The plane had a West German flag painted on its side.

The police arrested him and he was sent to prison for 4 years. After 14 months, he was released and sent back to West Germany.

Difficult words: Cold War (an unfriendly political situation between Western Europe, North America, and Eastern Europe), permission (when you can do something), fighter plane (a fast plane used in a war), mystery (a situation which people don’t understand), arrest (to take to a police station), release (to let somebody go from prison).

What do you think about this day?

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