The Afghani Government plays Russian Roulette

The beginning of the Soviet Russian occupation of Afghanistan took place when Russian paratroopers were deployed in the capital of Afghanistan. The date was December 27, 1979 and the beginning of a very long and costly occupation, that would be described in the future as the Russian Vietnam. There were a few specific events which occurred over the few years previous to the Soviet invasion that are directly related to it. These events were the Afghani government’s coup roulette.

Mujahideen fighters relaxing in the mountains of Afghanistan

There were two coups which occurred before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and one that directly coincided with the invasion. The first occurred in 1973, the second in 1978, and the third occurred in 1979. While researching these coups I discovered a few discrepancies between the sources I was using. One of the discrepancies occurred between a Russian source, which was published on May 24, 1978 and the Wikipedia source I used. In the 1978 coup, the current leader, Mohammad Daud, was ousted by Nur Muhammad Taraki, a military leader. The differences in the reports on the events which ended up with Daud being killed are the discrepancies I found between the Russian source and Wikipedia source. The Russian source claimed that Daud was killed in a firefight between him and Taraki’s troops because he “[…] refused to surrender to the troops…”(Current Digest). The other source claims that Daud and most of his family were executed by Taraki over the days that followed the coup. I find it very interesting that the Russian source seems to twist the story a little bit in order to make it sound a little less brutal, and make it look like Daud’s death could have been avoided.

Another interesting Russian source I found discussed the accusations of U.S. news sources about the possibility of their being Soviet troops in Afghanistan on and was published on December 23, 1979. As you may have noticed, this is just four days before Russian troops invaded Afghanistan, and overthrew and killed the Afghani president. These articles make me wonder how much of the news that was published about the events that were taking place in Afghanistan at the time were actually truthful accounts.


“Russian Invasion of Afghanistan.” Russian Invasion of Afghanistan. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <>.

“Situation in Afghanistan.” The Currect Digest of the Russian Press 30.17 (1978): 17. East View Information Services. Web. 16 Nov. 2014. <>.”
Soviet Troops in Afghanistan? Pure Fabrication.” Editorial. Pravda 23 Dec. 1979: n. pag. Print.

To Infinity and Then a Rough Trip Home

One of the coolest moments of my life occurred while I was touring Звёздный городо́к, otherwise known as ‘Star City’, the home of the Russian space program. As I stepped off the bus, I noticed a women walking towards the group I was with surrounded by what looked like a few body guards. This lady turned out to be Valentina Tereshkova, the first female to travel to space. The date was June 16, 2013 and it was the 50th anniversary of her historic flight into space. Even though she did not have time to stop and talk to us, I can still say I met the first woman in space.

Valentina Tereshkova in her military uniform

On June 16, 1963, Valentina launched in the Vostok 6 for what would turn into a three day space flight. This individual flight ended up being longer than all other the U.S. space flights until that point. There was also some mystery and cover ups surrounding the flight. The true story of the flight not being released until 2007. The information that came out following the flight was that Valentina performed poorly during the flight, had emotional problems as well as physical problems. All of these claims were used to cover up the fact that there were technical problems with the reentry system that if no fixed, would have resulted in Valentina’s death. It was all due to Valentina’s intelligence that the reentry was completed successfully. The problems did not end there, though. She was exhausted after the three days in space and when the parachute opened to slow her decent she realized that she was descending towards a huge lake. She would have been in serious trouble if she had landed in the lake, but luckily for her, the wind blew her over the land. With that, the three day journey of the first women in space was complete and Valentina Tereshkova was home safe and sound.