MiG pilot that escaped from the Soviet Union on his plane and Russian city that was renamed three times are recalled in tonight’s Historama.
USSR officially recognized independence of the Baltic States
It happened in 1991 during a meeting of the State Council headed by Mikhail Gorbachev.Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia declared their independence in August, following the coup d’état attempt in Russia.
Their intention was supported by the president of the Russian Soviet Republic, Boris Yeltsin, the European states and America.
The Baltic States were the first Soviet republics to gain their independence.
Soviet defector flees to Japan
On this day in 1976, a Soviet pilot defected to the West.
Viktor Belenko flew to Japan on his MiG 25 fighter jet and asked the US for asylum.
This was the first time the West had a chance to see a MiG 25 up close.
Belenko was interrogated for five months after he moved to America; then the government employed him as a consultant.
A book on his defection, called “MiG Pilot,” was published in 1980.
Leningrad turns into St. Petersburg
On this day in 1991, St. Petersburg got its name back.
For almost 70 years, the city was called Leningrad – it was renamed in 1924 to mark the death of Lenin.
Before that, for a brief ten years it was called Petrograd.
Now the city bears its historical name – the one it received in the beginning of the 18th century, when it was founded by Peter the Great.
Read more on this day in Russian history