October 21 in Russian history. Andrey Tupolev.


The first flight of ANT-1, the first airplane designed by Andrey Nikolayevich Tupolev. Tupolev was appointed the head of the aviation department of TsAGI (Central Institute of Aerohydrodynamics) in 1918, when he was 30. In 1922 he formed the Tupolev Construction Bureau and in one year they designed and built the first Soviet whole metal airplane, ANT-1.

Wikipedia dates this event by 20 October, but this date is wrong. It happened on 21 October.


Fourteen years later, another event happens in the life of Andrey Tupolev. Tupolev, who had already been awarded with the Order of Lenin, the Order of the Red Star and two orders of the Red Banner of Labor, was accused of being an organizer and a leader of the Russian Fascist Party together with another famous airplane designer, Vladimir Petlyakov. Both were arrested.

Under the pressure, Tupolev "confessed" he had been a French spy since 1927. In 1939 he was transferred from a jail into so called "Tupolev's sharashka" (officially called TsKB-29, the Central Construction Bureau 29), where he became the chief designer. The trial took place in May 1940 and he was sentenced to 10 years of prison (which he had to serve in the sharashka, of course) and 5 years of deprivation of civil rights. In July 1940, though, he was released, but continued to work in TsKB-29.

Soviet writer and poet Felix Chuyev, the author of many pro-Stalinist books, once asked Vyacheslav Molotov, the head of the Soviet government in 1937, why Tupolev, Korolyov and many other outstanding engineers were repressed. Molotov replied: "They talked too much. And their circle of friends... They didn't support us. All those tupolevs were a very serious problem for us. For some time they were our opponents, and some time was necessary to bring them closer to the power. We couldn't condone with the chances that they could become especially dangerous. You can't do politics without that. They couldn't build communism. Ivan Petrovich Pavlov used to show his finger at the portraits of Lenin and Stalin and say to his students: `This is who made our life so terrible', and he was the open adversary, who is easy to understad. And Tupolev belongs to the kind of intelligentsia which is indispensable for the Soviet state, but deep inside they opposed us. In their personal life, they carried out the destructive and debasing work. Or, if they didn't, they thought so. And they couldn't live otherwise. "

People say that when the Central Committee of the Communist Party demanded Tupolev finish his work on a new airplane by the time the party congress had to begin, he replied: "Postpone the congress, then." Some days later some party boss called again and ordered that the airplane must be in the air by the day the congress begins and Tupolev agreed, surprising his colleagues. When the congress began, a group of party leaders arrived at the airfield and saw an empty fuselage being carried through the air by two helicopters.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

well Russia really got a strange history