On May 13, 1987, a young 19-year old German boy by the name of Mathias Rust began the most vital journey of his life that would ultimately spark the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. Enduring the disappointment after the failure to secure an arms reduction deal at the Reykjavik meetings between U.S. President Reagan and Soviet President Gorbachev, Rust was motivated by a desperation for peace, and wished to construct an "imaginary bridge" from West to East and fly to the heart of communism, Red Square in Moscow.
One must not even mention the risks involved in attempting an illegal entry into Soviet air space. The Korean Airlines Flight 007, tragically, was shot down on September 1, 1983 after straying into Soviet territory due to the most basic of pilot errors in the navigation system. All 269 aboard perished.
The odds were certainly against the young German boy. He claimed he had a 50-50 chance, but in reality, his chances were much slimmer. Just one missile from a fighter jet could completely smash through Rust's Cessna...
But on Border Guards Day, May 28, 1987, Rust shocked the world as a startled and confused crowd approached his Cessna, which he landed at the heart of Moscow, arguably the most-defended city on the planet at the time.
Rust was arrested and was sentenced to 4 years in the infamous Lefortovo prison for "illegal entry" and "malicious hooliganism." Just over 2 months later, however, he was released out of good will after the Americans and the Soviets signed another arms treaty.
In the aftermath of the Red Square landing, President Gorbachev, a radical unlike any of his predecessors who pushed for slow democratization, openness, and restructuring, dismissed Defense hardliners Sergei Sokolov and Alexander Koldunov. This enabled Gorbachev to accelerate his reforms, perestroika and glasnost. He hoped reform would outpace the desire for independence in the Soviet satellites. But prosperity never materialized as a result of the reforms, and Gorbachev's own desire for democratization backfired. Lithuania and other Soviet states, sensing a weakening of the USSR and growing independence, seceded, and the Soviet President was forced to abide his constitution, which allowed for secession. Not doing so would be undemocratic and despotic. But secession signaled the collapse of the USSR, and on December 25, 1991, one of the most, if not the most, inhumane, cruel, and brutal empires that killed well over 30 million people, was terminated.
Can you survive Rust's landmark voyage? This tournament will test the abilities of 32 aspiring aviators seeking to change the world. But only one will triumph and land in Red Square...
This is a standard, best-of-three single-elimination tournament, for 32 players.