28 May 1987 Mathias Rust lands Cessna aircraft near Kremlin
Mathias Rust (born 1 June 1968) is a German aviator known for his illegal landing of a single engine Cessna aircraft near Red Square in Moscow on May 28, 1987. An amateur pilot, with about 50 hours flying time, he flew from Finland to Moscow, being tracked several times by Soviet air defence and interceptors, but luckily for him, the Soviet fighters never received permission to shoot him down. He landed on Vasilevsky Descent next to Red Square near the Kremlin. He was arrested and although subsequently sentenced to four years in a labour camp, he was released in August 1988 as a gesture of goodwill.
Rust said he wanted to create an “imaginary bridge” to the East, and he has claimed that his flight was intended to reduce tension and suspicion between the two Cold War sides. The failure of the air defence system to prevent him from reaching Red Square resulted in the dismissal of senior officers, including Defence Minister Marshal of the Soviet Union Sergei Sokolov and the head of the Soviet Air Defence, former World War II fighter ace pilot Chief Marshal Alexander Koldunov.