EVER since Rocky IV we’ve known Russians are tough. But, while Americans triumph in the movies, in space it’s a different story. Up there, it’s the cosmonauts who will break you.
An article for The Appendix blog reveals the contents of a Soviet cosmonaut survival kit, which contained not only a machete, but also a handgun to “scare off wolves, bears and tigers” and fight off “hostile foreign nationals” in the event of a crash landing.
The NAZ-3 survival kit was designed in 1968 for the Soviet Soyuz spacecraft and makes its cosmonauts look like space commandos compared to NASA’s freeze-dried ice cream eaters. The kit also contained fishing tackle, matches, a radio, gloves, a compass and a medical kit. But, the Markov pistol is the most brow-raising component.
The article recalls how American astronauts who visited Mir had to master using the pistol, training in a mock-up spacecraft in the Black Sea using wine, beer and vodka bottles as targets.
Most revealing about the piece is the news that Russian cosmonauts STILL carry semiautomatic guns in space. On-board the ISS (International Space Station) the guns that are found on-board belong to the Russians. It’s a scary thought, but they are there as a safety measure and not one of the pistols carried on the Soyuz spacecraft was unpacked.
Guns carried on the Soyuz spacecraft were given to crew members as post-flight souvenirs.
So, while Hollywood and Sylvester Stallone continue to defeat the archetypal Russian villain on-film, in space we know who not to mess with.