THE TRAGEDY AT LUZHNIKI: FACTS AND FABRICATION

Author: V. Zaikin

THE TRAGEDY AT LUZHNIKI: FACTS AND FABRICATION. (Interview conducted by V. Zaikin. Izvestia, July 20, p. 6. 1,300 words. Abstract:) Editors' Note.An Izvestia correspondent interviewed A. Shpeyer, an investigator for especially important cases in the Moscow Prosecutor's Office, who conducted the investigation of the tragedy at Luzhniki on Oct. 20, 1982.

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Shpeyer.First of all, it isn't true that only Section S was open; Section A was open too. Section S is simply closer to the subway, so the spectators chose to sit there of their own accord. Moreover, all the exits for these two sections were open. Again, most of the spectators chose to use one stairwell so they could get to the subway faster.

Question.How many victims were there?

Answer.Sixty-six people died and 61 people were injured.

Q.What role did the goal scored by Spartak in the final minutes play?

A.It did not make the situation worse, but perhaps even alleviated it. The people at the top turned around, easing the pressure. The crowd was so dense at the bottom that there is no way people could have turned around and headed back up, as is being groundlessly alleged.

Q.Was there a corridor of policemen on the stairs pushing the people?

A.No. If there had been, there would have been policemen among the victims. Also, the steps had no ice or snow on them, since the stairwell is covered.

Q.Then what actually caused the tragedy?

A.It was simply an unfortunate accident. It's impossible to guarantee against these things.

Q.But who hid the secret from the public for seven years?

A.It wasn't the prosecutor's office. It was just a matter of the social and political situation that existed in the country at that time.

[After a number of articles defending its original account, Sovetsky sport for Sept. 27, p. 4, finally admitted that ...

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