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Admirals flew on trash: how the entire command of the Pacific Fleet of the USSR died
8 February 2021, 11:03
Admirals flew on trash: how the entire command of the Pacific Fleet of the USSR died
Forty years ago, in a plane crash near Leningrad, almost all the high command of the Pacific Navy of the USSR died - they flew on a decommissioned plane.

The popular blogger Vitaly Drobyshev recalls in his publication the events of 40 years ago: on February 7, 1981 in the USSR, the command of the entire Pacific Navy was killed in a plane crash. Even during the war, this fleet did not incur such losses... The commanders of all the fleets of the Soviet Union gathered at the end of January 1981 at the base in Leningrad, and at this meeting the highest officers of the Pacific Fleet were recognized as the best.

At 4 pm on February 7, they took off on a Tu-104A aircraft of the USSR Ministry of Defense from a military airfield near the city of Pushkin, Leningrad Region, to the Far East, despite the fact that a heavy snowfall began. And after 8 seconds the plane, without gaining altitude, crashed near the runway. 16 admirals and generals and 12 captains of the first rank and colonels were killed - that is, the entire command of the fleet, including the commander of Admiral Spiridonov, three vice-admirals who commanded the flotillas, the head of the political department Slabaneyev, several rear admirals, including the chief of reconnaissance of the fleet Leonov, as well as the commander of the air force of the fleet, Lieutenant General Pavlov...

Miraculously, the chief of staff Golosov survived, who flew away for several days to visit relatives in Severomorsk.

The main among the versions was initially considered a sabotage of foreign special services, so that the Pacific Fleet was put on full alert. However, in the end, a banal overload was to blame for the disaster: a heavy load in the cabin shifted during takeoff and caused a shift in the longitudinal centering of the aircraft, which entailed a loss of stability. The crew was found guilty for overloading the plane and incorrectly placing passengers and cargo. Investigators later said that the military tried to shove as much cargo as possible into this plane, including huge and very heavy rolls of printing paper. In addition, due to bad weather, the crew was in a hurry to take off. So it turned out that during takeoff, the rolls began to roll down the tail of the liner...

And the plane itself, the first jet in civil aviation, created back in the mid-1950s, by that time was already considered outdated, difficult to control and generally the worst in the history of Soviet aviation in terms of safety - every fifth aircraft produced by that time lost due to accidents. So by the end of the 1970s, Aeroflot had already written off all the Tu-104s, and instead of being disposed of, they were given to the Ministry of Defense.

After this disaster, all those who remained were scrapped, and it itself was actually classified, limiting itself to publishing an obituary for the dead admirals and sailors in the Krasnaya Zvezda newspaper of the Ministry of Defense:

“On February 7, 1981, a group of admirals, generals, officers, warrant officers, warrant officers, sailors and employees of the Pacific Fleet were killed in a plane crash while on duty. The USSR Ministry of Defense and the Main Political Directorate of the Soviet Army and the Navy express deep condolences to the families and friends of the fallen comrades".

Almost all the victims rest at the Serafimovskoye cemetery in Leningrad, and in 1983 a memorial was erected on their grave.