Russian Government Flies Ilyushin Il-96 To Washington To Pick Up Spies

Russian Government Flies Ilyushin Il-96 To Washington To Pick Up Spies

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A Russian government jet has operated a pretty interesting flight to the United States over the past couple of days, despite the fact that Russian planes are currently banned from the United States. We now have more details about what exactly the purpose of this flight is, and boy is it interesting.

Russian government jet flies to Washington & New York

On Saturday, March 5, 2022, a Russian-built Ilyushin Il-96-300, belonging to the Russian government’s fleet, flew from St. Petersburg (LED) to Washington (IAD). The plane, which has the registration code RA-96019, is roughly 13 years old, and operated with the flight number RSD88.

The flight took a total of 12hr35min, and the plane avoided European Union airspace. So it flew north from St. Petersburg, and then turned southwest once past Finland, Sweden, and Norway. The aircraft flew just south of Iceland, and then only flew over land again near Massachusetts, avoiding the airspace of Greenland and Canada (due to restrictions).

Russian government’s flight path to Washington

There’s even video footage of the plane landing in Washington.

The plane landed in the United States at around 2PM on Saturday, and around 24 hours later the plane is flying from Washington (IAD) to New York (JFK). Flight tracking software suggests that the plane will just stop there briefly, and then continue this evening to Moscow (VKO).

The reason for this Russian government flight

The reason for this flight sounds like something out of a movie. It’s specifically to pick up 12 expelled Russian intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission, who are accused of espionage. I believe these people were in New York, though perhaps there were other government officials to pick up in Washington as well.

Here’s how the United States Mission to the United Nations describes this:

The United States has informed the United Nations and the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations that we are beginning the process of expelling twelve intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security. We are taking this action in accordance with the UN Headquarters Agreement. This action has been in development for several months.

Meanwhile a State Department official has confirmed that this flight was operated for this reason, and was approved by the government:

“The U.S. government approved a flight chartered by the Russian government to facilitate the departure of Russian UN Mission personnel who were expelled for abuse of their privileges of residence. This special exception was done in accordance with federal regulations to ensure Russian mission personnel and their families departed by the date we had instructed.”

Frankly I’m a bit confused by why the United States would grant an exception like this? Rather than allowing a Russian government jet to fly to the United States, why not instead deport these people on a commercial flight? There are still lots of options, including on Turkish Airlines through Istanbul, on Emirates through Dubai, and on Qatar Airways through Doha.

Russian government Il-96-300 (photo credit: E233renmei)

The basics of the Ilyushin Il-96

For those not familiar with Ilyushin, it’s an aircraft manufacturer that has been producing planes since the days of the Soviet Union. The Il-96-300 has four engines, and is quite a long haul jet, as it can operate up to 11,500 kilometers nonstop.

Only around 30 Il-96-300s were every built, and only 15(ish) are still in service:

  • Cubana, the national airline of Cuba, is the only airline still operating the Il-96-300
  • Russia’s government has a fleet of up to 10 Il-96-300s
  • Aeroflot was the launch customer for the plane many years back, but the airline has retired its entire Il-96-300 fleet, as it’s simply not as efficient as many foreign-built aircraft

While the plane hasn’t exactly been successful, I do have to acknowledge that it’s a very nice-looking plane, in my opinion.

Aeroflot was the Il-96-300 launch customer (photo credit: Lumikus1)

Bottom line

A Russian government Ilyushin Il-96 is currently operating a trip to the United States, flying from St. Petersburg, to Washington, to New York, to Moscow. The purpose of this flight is to deport diplomats who have been expelled and accused of espionage.

I’m a bit surprised a flight like this was allowed to operate, especially since there are other ways to fly between the United States and Russia.

What do you make of this Russian government flight to Washington & New York?

(Featured image courtesy of Dmitry Terekhov)

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  1. Guillermo Guest

    Is USA stupid ?or they acting stupid the flight route can be used as a highway for a missile

  2. HypocrisyAtItsBest Guest

    America: I don’t trust media and government about covid and masks. But also america: i trust what government is saying about China and Russia

    1. DCS Diamond

      America: I don’t trust media and government about covid and masks. But also america: i trust what government is saying about China and Russia.

      LOL. You got two Americas all mixed up:

      1. Former Guy's America: I don’t trust media and government about covid and masks. And also Former Guy's America: i don't trust what government is saying about China and Russia.

      2. The rest of America: [When it's reasonable] I trust media and...

      America: I don’t trust media and government about covid and masks. But also america: i trust what government is saying about China and Russia.

      LOL. You got two Americas all mixed up:

      1. Former Guy's America: I don’t trust media and government about covid and masks. And also Former Guy's America: i don't trust what government is saying about China and Russia.

      2. The rest of America: [When it's reasonable] I trust media and government about covid and masks. And also the rest of america: [When it's reasonable] i trust what government is saying about China and Russia.

  3. Settles Jeffrey Guest

    Taking trump's trash back home after stealing many secrets that was the agreement between Putin and trump. But not anymore

  4. Colleen Guest

    Possibly because of Putin's threats about "ANY NATION helping Ukraine and his nuclear capabilities". Obviously a madman would do something mad spotting anything but "his own" aircraft.

  5. KK Guest

    Best to forbid all Russian ex-pats to return back to Russia. In effect, create a semi-hostage crisis until the invasion is over. Use them as leverage. In unprecedented times, we need unconventional methods.

  6. Filipe Guest

    You cannot just "deport" diplomats. You can expel them, but they still have diplomatic immunity until they leave your territory, and so get to choose how they leave.

  7. Gafurri Guest

    Well as sad as this whole debucle turned out to be, it sucks to admit that the russians don't abandon their own citizens and let them at the mercy of charities....Plus the excuse to allow a 300 seat plane to pick 12 diplomats/spies doesnt seem to pass the smell test...Maybe special high gov negotiators?

  8. Pierre Guest

    You do not send a 300 passenger government plane to Washington to pick up 12 expelled spies located mostly in New York. Russia has plenty of smaller planes able to do the job, and more discretely flagged than an official "Air Force 1" Russian type.

    Most likely, the pick up was a pretext and the IL 96 carried an envoy or a delegation for unadvertised talks.

  9. Nathaniel Guest

    They allowed the flight due to reciprocity concerns. At some point, if not already, the Russians will order the departure of a similar number of Americans from Russia. I would imagine flight options are non existent, so being able to charter a flight in will be helpful for us.

  10. Anna Guest

    Putin just didn’t give them a chance to escape. Most likely we will never hear their names again.
    The Aeroflot CEO has resigned and run away. Same as many other ru tops.

  11. Joe Guest

    It's probably the precedent, spying in the diplomatic corps is part and parcel of what all governments do. Allowing them to fly home in security is a precedent that Russia will be obliged to follow when our spies are expelled from their territory in the future.

    1. Andrew Diamond

      I wonder how much reciprocity we would really expect. It's not like norms such as "sovereignty" are being observed right now...

  12. Tom Guest

    Lucky, the key words you are missing are "intelligence operatives". They are almost never deported in commerical flights. Host countries usually will send charter flights for them.

  13. BlackLab Guest

    The reason we allow the Russian Federation to operate flights in support of their diplomatic missions is that we must do so in order for us to have the reciprocal privilege in their country (yeah, I KNOW they have a secondary purpose, as do ours). If we do not permit that, I suppose we would have to rely on Aeroflot’s “Commisar Class” flights to a third country to connect with a flight to the US. ( I wonder how their service compares to American Airlines??)

    1. Pierre Guest

      Aeroflot service both in Economy and Business Class, both within Europe and intercontinental, is, as a rule, BETTER than on US airlines. I knew the old Aeroflot of the USSR which was hilariously painful. Today's Aeroflot has nothing in common except the name.

  14. Kay Lavendera Guest

    Would love to know why the return flight plan from JFK to Moscow does not show the diversion around Norway, Sweden and Finland like the original flight into Dulles to pick up these diplomats.

  15. James S Guest

    Ben when are you reviewing the Cubana flight

  16. Dan Guest

    All embassies are covers for espionage operations. The US has used its embassy to foment coups all over the world. The US took down the democratically elected Mossedegh in Iran, the democratically elected Allende in Chile and the democratically elected Arbenz in Guatemala. The US also used its embassy to orchestrate a coup that took down Ukraine's democratically elected leader. There is even a tape of the US ambassador discussing which opposition leaders will be...

    All embassies are covers for espionage operations. The US has used its embassy to foment coups all over the world. The US took down the democratically elected Mossedegh in Iran, the democratically elected Allende in Chile and the democratically elected Arbenz in Guatemala. The US also used its embassy to orchestrate a coup that took down Ukraine's democratically elected leader. There is even a tape of the US ambassador discussing which opposition leaders will be part of the new government. They discussed how they were going to "Glue this thing together." The US loves democracy as long as it can control who gets elected. .

  17. Amy Fischer Guest

    That characterization is uncalled for. They were expelled by a partisan and biased U.S. government who called them spies. We don’t know if the claims made are accurate.

    It’s funny as the U.S. government has been proven to be the biggest spy organization in the world but no one criticizes the U.S. for deploying spies all around the world.

    1. Tim Dunn Diamond

      Please set up your own unbiased and unpartisan country. None exists.
      There is no "spy" protocol between companies; there are diplomatic protocols. Every country can and does expel diplomats from other countries.

  18. Creditcrunch Diamond

    @Ben the reason they can’t fly a non flag carrier is because the Russian Diplomatic pouches that contain things like signals intelligence and other covert top secret communications must be transported by Russian owned transport modes. Moving forward they will be personally transported by embassy staff on commercial airlines.

    1. EJ Guest

      You are also missing the point that a majority of long haul aircrafts owned by commercial Russian carriers has to be returned to there leasers and pretty much the Russian gov has kidnapped those aircrafts atm

  19. RMF Guest

    In response to some of the comments on my earlier post (specifically to ones from DCS and Eskimo)...you guys clearly don't understand how the technology works. That is a general problem, but it means people fail see the potential strategies. I know you may have read a few pages out of bitcoin for dummies, but that's very different from understanding that bitcoin it not 'worthless' in a global economy where faith has been lost in...

    In response to some of the comments on my earlier post (specifically to ones from DCS and Eskimo)...you guys clearly don't understand how the technology works. That is a general problem, but it means people fail see the potential strategies. I know you may have read a few pages out of bitcoin for dummies, but that's very different from understanding that bitcoin it not 'worthless' in a global economy where faith has been lost in the USD as the leading fiat currency. It also shows you fail to understand that even if the entire US power grid is knocked out (which it can be), that does not prevent the network allowing for crypto transaction from functioning. In fact, they will be the only thing ensuring the easy access, transfer and proof of currency movements. The fact that bitcoin is not backed by a country is its strength. Think of it as digital gold. Plus, all russia has to do to weaken the US dollar is cause mass panic in in the US which they can also do easily. Think of how stupid the American public is glued to FB and Twitter believing everything they see immediately. With a country that is incredibly fractured already, and with ridiculously weak leadership (that's not a red/blue comment, just a fact that even the bluest out there will admit is true) it is not difficult to see a scenario where even a few days of chaos in the US leads to something unimaginable here. Trump separating the south, big cities turning into lawless warzones (think BLM protest or Capitol ones), etc...my whole point is we're all so quick to say Putin is just stupid and we need to consider his actions are consistent with someone who has a much larger plan. And the comments about how Russia doesn't want to bring down the USD because it effects the whole world! talk about ignorance, we have financially cut off Russia from the west, china has been decoupling it's economy from the west for over a decade. Putin doesn't care about crashing the global economy if the thinks that will vastly increase the value of crypto currencies, he also doesn't care because Russia does not depend on the US dollar or Euro being strong. And the comment about FBI tracking - that only matters in the US and it won't matter if the US is thrown into chaos. It will also take massive amounts of time and resources to get to that point. If you don't understand how crypto work, you had best keep your mouth shut because ignorance of the means by which Putin could gain an economic advantage only hurt us. The most ignorant thing we can do is hold the line that Putin underestimated this whole thing and there's no possibility the west is missing a much bigger strategy.

    1. Eskimo Guest

      ROFL, Did I say "I do love reading about all these bitcoin fantasies. The likelihood of it happening is almost impossible"

      Almost impossible but still correct because of Mr. Murphy.Anyway.
      Yes you are correct, So does people who builds a nuclear fallout shelter in their backyard with supplies for 10 years. People who expect nuclear winter is coming!

      But hey I may have read a few pages out of total nuclear war for dummies.

      ...

      ROFL, Did I say "I do love reading about all these bitcoin fantasies. The likelihood of it happening is almost impossible"

      Almost impossible but still correct because of Mr. Murphy.Anyway.
      Yes you are correct, So does people who builds a nuclear fallout shelter in their backyard with supplies for 10 years. People who expect nuclear winter is coming!

      But hey I may have read a few pages out of total nuclear war for dummies.

      If you have personal issues because you bought them at $60k, go predict the whales not nukes. We pump cards here not coins.

    2. DCS Diamond

      I will give you $1B or the same in BTC and send you to Mars with all the gears needed to create a livable space for yourself.
      What good would the $1B USD or in BTC do you in the scenario? Zilch, nada. Got the picture now?

  20. DaninMCI Guest

    I don't think Russia wants its spies flying commercial. Either because they don't want them identified and/or they want to keep them under their control until back home. I'm amazed by the continued stupid comments about Trump and Putin when that whole conspiracy has been debunked. They'd likely pick up Hunter Biden if they could.

  21. Arie Guest

    The reason they allow this flight is simple. If they couldn't use flights like these other countries that are evacuating their diplomats/spies would have to use commercial also.

    Plus I think theres an actual clause in diplomatic agreements that covers that.

    I think the only thing we learned here is that in the event of an emergency spies are easy to identify.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I'm pretty sure both sides know who each others spies are that work for embassies/consulates, and they're normally just tolerated.

      Then, in an emergency, we can kick them out.

  22. Radames Cancel Guest

    I would not allowed this flight supoost Is load It with bombs. Let It land un cuba take those people there

  23. Just a Thought Guest

    I actually think it's the start of something unthinkable. By invading Ukraine and making Russia (Soviet Union) big again. Russia and China are against our for long fort freedom and western culture. Step number one has been taken (Ukraine)

  24. USAirflight1060LAXPHL1990767ER Guest

    I had the pleasure to sit in the pic/captains chair and get a grand tour of the IL 96 300M, At the Paris air show in 1993. The Russian crews were fantastic, plus the stews. Just to think that we’ve come full circle back to the old ways in 2022.

    Wars suck. Btw, there’s already an influx of Ukraine refugees in my town in Germany. .

  25. Mel Guest

    How will it refuel , who can sell to the Russans ???

  26. Tim Guest

    Question, why does a country pull out all its diplomats from a country? Could it be they are about to declare war on said country? Time will tell and we may not have to wait long to find out.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      They were not "pulled out".

      They were "kicked out".

  27. Audie armorer Guest

    It's referred to as a kleptocray ...

  28. Damo Guest

    Geez, WTF. Let them get a row boat back to Russia. Impound the plan and all in it. Then hand it over to the Ukrainian Govt for transportation of medical supplies and alike. FFS stick up for democracy and be anti-dictatorship. Putin is doing a Hitler. I’ll just get this bit of a country and then this bit, and then a whole country of 40million people. I’ll oppress them all into submission and my joyfully corrupted ways. USA stick to your principles!

  29. Tracy Guest

    Isn't flying in the middle of the ocean dangerous? What if this old Soviet jalopy malfunctioned? (Actually, what if it did? Would it have been allowed to fly to the Azores, part of Portugal, part of the EU to land safely or banned with no if's or but's?)

  30. Jared Guest

    To the topic of aviation: as someone who has flown aboard a military specification of the IL-96, it’s a thrilling ride. The turbofans have an unusual design feature to keep cost low. When accelerating, the spool up takes time, due to high inertia of the relatively primitive fan design, and then hits like a hammer - most akin to the turbo sports cars of the nineties where there would be no torque and then suddenly...

    To the topic of aviation: as someone who has flown aboard a military specification of the IL-96, it’s a thrilling ride. The turbofans have an unusual design feature to keep cost low. When accelerating, the spool up takes time, due to high inertia of the relatively primitive fan design, and then hits like a hammer - most akin to the turbo sports cars of the nineties where there would be no torque and then suddenly one is wetting their pants. It’s a beautiful aircraft but our plane was very sparsely equipped; only cattle class, literally, for foreign journalists travelling in/out of Crimea during the conflict.

    1. DCharlie Guest

      @Jared - again?? What do you think this is? A forum for aviation enthusiasts?

  31. Jared Guest

    Regardless of travel restrictions, movement of embassy and diplomatic staff is (generally) never barred due to quid-pro-quo. Furthermore, if the diplomatic exchanges fail, we’re essentially at a perpetual state of war. Similarly, Russia has expelled U.S. embassy staff and diplomats.

    As to someone who talked about spies; yes, many diplomats ascertain information on foreign governments. This happens on both sides and is part of the job.

    1. DCharlie Guest

      @Jared - hey, hey, hey - this isn't the forum for rational and non-provocative comments! Cut it out!

  32. Vic Guest

    Seems like no one learnt anything from Trojan horse or Montezuma 2nd murder

  33. Dan Guest

    Video footage for the flight arrival in Washington
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk-vVF8Rgx0

  34. The eternal optimist Guest

    Probably going to send a few missiles once it has left. Putin is a psychopath and a man bent on domination and destruction. He has already used the Jew card against Ukraine leader. He will use the Wests weakness, he said no we are not invading then did. How can you trust him and his government?

  35. polarbear Member

    Amazing number of immature comments.
    It is likely picking up diplomats - but hope is still there there's more to it.
    It is better with flights between the 2 countries than without.

  36. Sandra Guest

    Since Putin lied about the safe passage of people leaving Ukraine I don't understand why we should allow this plane to land here to pick up Russian ambassadors (who in all probability are spies for Putin as well as ambassadors). Put them in a boat and let them paddle back home which is more than what they're doing for the Ukraine's.

  37. Ian Leonard Guest

    I flew on one of these planes from Moscow to Antalya, Turkey many years ago. I remember it had a staircase on the bottom of the aircraft to the cabin.

  38. Mike Coughlin Guest

    Should have given them a rowboat and a couple of oars.

  39. Mark Guest

    Probably bringing The GOP their campaign funds.

    1. UA-NYC Diamond

      Maybe picking up Trump too...he has a lot of debt due, can rack up a quick cash influx with licensing deals with his buddies in the Kremlin

  40. Dick Bupkiss Guest

    They're coming to pick up Trump and his family, to bring them home.

  41. Vince Guest

    I would be very cautious here and route the plane to a different and secure location. Put the 'diplomats' on a bus to meet the plane there.

    1. Jerry Scudero Guest

      Exactly what I was thinking, could this be a Pearl Harbor bringing over a jet they probably want to de commission. Loaded with god knows what right next to the capital.

  42. Al Schober Guest

    Picking up the diplomats is one thing. When they refuel, I hope they pay in cash. Do you suppose they'll go back to Russia? I would not be surprised to see them head for Africa or S America.

  43. Nunya Biznish Guest

    Your mom is a nice looking plane. BOOM Roasted!

    1. Watson Gold

      This comment is more intelligent than half the posts in this thread.

  44. TravelCat2 Member

    Is this aircraft leased?

  45. Dennis Guest

    Does anyone know if the planned diplomat passengers are just the ones that were kicked out of the USA or a broader selection of VIPs?

  46. lasdiner Guest

    While every war has the same playbook and some of the rants here seem a little ingenuous -i am sure all in good heart. It is odd to hear them often from citizens and inhabitants of a country whose biggest business for the past 80 years has been war. More on the point, i wonder if some diplomats, if the flight is for them, will desert and try not to board. That will give us an idea of how compact is the Putin front.

  47. DCS Diamond

    Cahn't make this stuff up!

    WaPo headline:

    Putin: Sanctions on Russia put Ukraine’s statehood at risk

    Got that? It's not my war of aggression against Ukraine to topple its government and make it a Russian satellite that threatens Ukraine's statehood. Rather, it's the sanctions enacted to stop my aggression that threaten Ukraine's statehood !

    The man is unhinged and mental. No wonder he fascinated the 'former guy', also unhinged and mental, to a happy lapdog status !

    1. david Guest

      Yeah but at least Putin didn't invade anyone on Trump's watch. In fact, Trump was the only president in the 21st century that didn't have a Russian invasion during his time in office!

    2. Sad truth Guest

      Too busy enjoying Xavier, Champaign and lap dances!

    3. jetjock64 Guest

      Doesn't take away from his criminal status as the author of treasonous (attempted) coup d'etat. Besides that he's ok if you just don't count his serial cheating and sexual assaults.

    4. DCS Diamond

      Cahn't make this stuff up!

      Yeah but at least Putin didn't invade anyone on Trump's watch. In fact, Trump was the only president in the 21st century that didn't have a Russian invasion during his time in office!

      LOL. Do you seriously believe that Trump would have stopped Putin from attacking Ukraine or any other country, including the US? We are speaking of former US "president" whose cheering on of Putin's aggression is...

      Cahn't make this stuff up!

      Yeah but at least Putin didn't invade anyone on Trump's watch. In fact, Trump was the only president in the 21st century that didn't have a Russian invasion during his time in office!

      LOL. Do you seriously believe that Trump would have stopped Putin from attacking Ukraine or any other country, including the US? We are speaking of former US "president" whose cheering on of Putin's aggression is so ridiculous that he got rebuked by, of all people, Pence, his own former spineless and sycophantic VP !!!

      Remember that the twice-impeached moron was a Putin poodle, and that his first impeachment was for withholding ("I want you to do me a favor though") military assistance funds approved by Congress that Ukraine desperately needed to shore up its defenses in its proxy was against Russian separatists it was battling in the East. Think about that !!!

      The reason Putin waited before attacking Ukraine was that he first wanted Trump to weaken the US and its NATO allies, as well as the alliance itself! And that is exactly what Trump repeatedly attempted to do when he threatened to pull the US out of NATO, closed US bases in Germany, refused to contribute to NATO's collective defense funds, would not recognize NATO Article 5, and much more. If anything, Putin's timing was actually off. He would have been better off attacking Ukraine while Trump was still in office, but maybe he did not count on Trump losing reelection. However, Trump did lose and when Putin decided to attack, there was a new sheriff in town who effectively rallied NATO and other US allies to enact in record time and unprecedented coordination the most punishing economic sanctions ever, which Putin is already feeling.

      The US, Europe, and especially Ukraine should be thankful that Putin's megalomaniacal belligerence did not take place while his poodle was in office. It would have been catastrophic, and if you had a single of ounce of gray matter between the ears you would know this to be true.

      G'day.

    5. Sandra Guest

      Trump admires Putin and if he was really reelected he'd be just as bad as Putin (give him another 10 years of power so his head could swell up even more than it is). It must be choking his brain especially when he said how "I admire how Putin took over Ukraine's real estate so brilliantly". I'd love to see them both in a jail cell with each other. They'd never be bored telling "stories" trying to outdo each other. Both dictators.

    6. Eric Guest

      Hahaha trump only had a in home invasion of the capitol and didn’t even try to stop it. No one can beat that.

    7. TJ Guest

      Just scanning through Blinken’s charter with Ukraine in Nov makes it obvious that no Russian leader is going to sit idly and watch. Putin reacted the same way any one else leading Russia would - https://www.state.gov/u-s-ukraine-charter-on-strategic-partnership/

    8. lasdiner Guest

      Agree. Let childish readers believe children stories.

  48. Gary Leff Guest

    We now know that the plane flew to DC to pick up expelled diplomats and their families.

    1. Clay Guest

      Good way for Putin to take out DC with nuclear weapon aboard plane

  49. Jose J Diaz Guest

    We need to be aware of the posibility of a nuclear weapon in that aircraft.

  50. Clint Guest

    Throw all the Commies out of the US...screw Putin and his henchmen.

    1. foo blah Guest

      They’re not commies.
      Technically more of a dictatorship, but really Russia is a mafia state, and Putin is the Godfather.
      Russian peeps are wonderful though.

    2. Zee Mann Guest

      Multiple annual rankings show Russia as the most corrupt state in Europe. No surprise based on the obvious facts. The sad fact is that Ukraine is a very close second. When you peel back the onion, not much of a difference between them as to their governments and how the countries are run.

    3. AW Guest

      Fascists, really. They've become what they (Stalin et al) claimed to despise so greatly.

    4. Alex Guest

      As earlier comment, Russia is far from a communist state. Before this war, I regularly visit Moscow due to work, in fact I was there even last week on the day invasion began. I left on the next day
      It is more like a proto Capitalist state, under an authoritarian mafia rule, disguising itself to be communist. I mean the amount of McDonald’s in Moscow is astounding, you can find one every 100m, it is like Starbucks in New York!

    5. UA-NYC Diamond

      Easy now, he's pretty damn popular among Republicans these days! Reagan turns in his grave...

  51. Eskimo Guest

    @Lucky

    Have you flown on the Il-96 before?
    The one feature you will love is the individual air nozzle in your face.

    It's interesting to see what the government load config is.

  52. Andy Guest

    @RMF I hope your theory is wrong... Has anyone a clew what "ADB508F" is transporting to southeast Romania from France & Germany the last days? Frequently.

  53. Clash Guest

    Ultimately mad, but couldn’t it be the thermonuclear ‘Tsar bomb’ on the way to Washington?!

  54. JonL Guest

    I think by creating a massive cyber attack in itself would disable bitcoin.

  55. Geo Guest

    Watch for an EMP bomb. Might detonate above US knocking it out.

  56. John M Guest

    The timing of this flight coincides with the temporary bilateral cease-fire in East Ukraine, for the purpose of enabling evacuation of civilians. It seems logical enough that Russia would want to use that time to retrieve their people from USA.

  57. Stuart Guest

    It’s all the embassy and consulate staff being transported out. We now know where this is headed. As well Americans now being arrested in Russia.

  58. Preston Guest

    Oh great! How big is the Nuke Bomb on that flight that will level our governmental city?

  59. Ross Guest

    I'm not sure you should be taking sides with Putin by calling them "diplomats," because they are probably the staff expelled from the UN mission for spying.

  60. Brendan Joseph Madden Guest

    Interesting to see the non confrontational path. That’s particularly significant in light of deliberate incursion of military jets into the airspace of neutral countries over the last year. I’m assuming it won’t actually fly over PHL and NYC as it’s plotted, but rather will come in over Chesapeake?

    Very valid point from @Klaus, you can still very easily fly via Turkey, anywhere in Asia, South Africa or Middle East. It’s not even an unusual routing....

    Interesting to see the non confrontational path. That’s particularly significant in light of deliberate incursion of military jets into the airspace of neutral countries over the last year. I’m assuming it won’t actually fly over PHL and NYC as it’s plotted, but rather will come in over Chesapeake?

    Very valid point from @Klaus, you can still very easily fly via Turkey, anywhere in Asia, South Africa or Middle East. It’s not even an unusual routing. It would be quite normal to go Turkish or Emirates for this route. (I’m seeing the plane flew from Moscow originally as opposed to st Petersburg and assuming it’ll be going back there)

    1. Gary Hohenstein Guest

      Nope, it's going over Boston right now !

    2. Gary Hohenstein Guest

      And as of Sunday evening, it is still sitting in Washington !

    3. foo blah Guest

      They’re not commies.
      Technically more of a dictatorship, but really Russia is a mafia state, and Putin is the Godfather.
      Russian peeps are wonderful though.

  61. RMF Guest

    Is everyone really so blind to what Russia is doing? There's this common assumption that Putin is stupid or miscalculated, but has anyone considered what if this is all part of a plan? Look at it - we've forced, rapidly, the decoupling of Russia from the west, cut them off from outside media and now have limited visibility into what's happening on the ground there. Why don't the oligarchs or Putin care about the sanctions?...

    Is everyone really so blind to what Russia is doing? There's this common assumption that Putin is stupid or miscalculated, but has anyone considered what if this is all part of a plan? Look at it - we've forced, rapidly, the decoupling of Russia from the west, cut them off from outside media and now have limited visibility into what's happening on the ground there. Why don't the oligarchs or Putin care about the sanctions? For a very good reason, they all hold billions in bitcoin and could care less about the ruble. We think they are running by returning to Russia when in fact they are hiding behind the castle walls, so to speak, because something bad is about to happen. Probably a massive cyber attack or something to collapse the value of the US dollar. That could be accomplished any number of ways - hyperinflation, sky high interest rates, energy shortage, cyber attack on power grids or banking systems....That would make bitcoin the best universal currency and those holding it would become the banks. This isn't a plug to buy bitcoin, merely mentioning that it is a key part of a plan to collapse the western economy and immediately shift the distribution of wealth. Others probably see this coming - Musk constantly on the move and Zuckerberg building a massive self-sufficient compound on Hawaii far far away from everything. The 40 mile convoy isn't sitting there for Ukraine - it's the tip of a significantly larger invasion force. You put all the 'bad' soldiers and crappy vehicles in the front because they are like cannon fodder. There's a reason Putin hasn't used any sophisticated military equipment - he doesn't want anyone to see what he's got until it's too late. Whatever is really going on, it's probably too late to reverse course.

    1. Alonzo Diamond

      Finally, someone with half a brain.

    2. DCS Diamond

      Pure paranoid fantasy. Billions in Bitcoin that can't be spent anywhere are worthless.

      Putting miscalculated and, yes, it is too late to reverse course. To save face, he will forge ahead and likely occupy Ukraine, and then, from his ensuing isolation and pariah state, he'll realize that by 'winning' he actually lost - commonly known as a Pyrrhic victory.

    3. Eskimo Guest

      I guess people do forget about Panama Papers. Probably why it works so good.

      I do love reading about all these bitcoin fantasies. The likelihood of it happening is almost impossible. You can't just cripple the USD without the bringing down the whole world. And in that fantasy world, believe me bullets will be worth more than bitcoins. So like @DCS said worthless in that sense.
      Not that Oligarchs don't own crypto. They probably...

      I guess people do forget about Panama Papers. Probably why it works so good.

      I do love reading about all these bitcoin fantasies. The likelihood of it happening is almost impossible. You can't just cripple the USD without the bringing down the whole world. And in that fantasy world, believe me bullets will be worth more than bitcoins. So like @DCS said worthless in that sense.
      Not that Oligarchs don't own crypto. They probably do in billions. The irony here is, if they start offloading their massive holdings, the whole crypto will be under the scrutiny of FBI. So much for decentralized. But that doesn't mean their bitcoins can't be spent at all, just probably not a huge sum in a short period from a few wallets.

    4. Alonzo Diamond

      I can see you've been smoking that stuff again.

    5. DCS Diamond

      LOL. He finds himself with the minority, rejected view, and he thinks everyone else smoking stuff.

      Stop posting, man, stop fucking posting!

    6. Rich Guest

      This comment is delusional and full of hyperbole. What does this have to do with a Russian plane flying to DC?

      The scenario you’ve outline fails to consider Europe and most of the world’s condemnation of what’s taking place. If Russia goes on the offensive against another country they’re in for big trouble. Everyone knows this and is very carefully trying to de-escalate to avoid war. Self isolation is not a recipe for success.

      The...

      This comment is delusional and full of hyperbole. What does this have to do with a Russian plane flying to DC?

      The scenario you’ve outline fails to consider Europe and most of the world’s condemnation of what’s taking place. If Russia goes on the offensive against another country they’re in for big trouble. Everyone knows this and is very carefully trying to de-escalate to avoid war. Self isolation is not a recipe for success.

      The crypto argument is a good one and goes beyond Russia. Those with lots of money and international investments are rarely impacted by war and sanctions. That is until those beneath them start an uprising

    7. DCS Diamond

      The crypto argument is a good one and goes beyond Russia. Those with lots of money and international investments are rarely impacted by war and sanctions.

      Money, in any denomination, including the crypto kind, is useless if it cannot be accessed and spent, which the unprecedentedly coordinated sanctions against Putin's regime and other oligarchs have begun to do very effectively! How so? Like this:

      Putin: Sanctions on Russia put Ukraine’s statehood at risk. Moves to...

      The crypto argument is a good one and goes beyond Russia. Those with lots of money and international investments are rarely impacted by war and sanctions.

      Money, in any denomination, including the crypto kind, is useless if it cannot be accessed and spent, which the unprecedentedly coordinated sanctions against Putin's regime and other oligarchs have begun to do very effectively! How so? Like this:

      Putin: Sanctions on Russia put Ukraine’s statehood at risk. Moves to punish Moscow akin to ‘declaration of war,’ Russian leader says.

      - WaPo, 03-05-2022

      That's rather glib coming from someone who declared war on a sovereign nation, which means that he's feeling the effects of the sanctions. His reportedly $600B "war chest" stashed away in different currencies to evade sanctions are scattered around a world from which he's been cut off and are, thus, useless...

    8. Hwong Kim Guest

      So just to be clear: a failed power grid is GOOD for BTC?

    9. Max Guest

      You are vastly overestimating the Russian forces. Do they have some modern military equipment? Yes, in very insignificant numbers. It's only good to show on a parade and as a demonstrator to support their military exports.
      Their mentality is still the same as in WW2/cold war era. They just throw massive numbers at their enemy and hope that this is enough to win. No sophisticated strategy, no smart use of combined forces, no superior...

      You are vastly overestimating the Russian forces. Do they have some modern military equipment? Yes, in very insignificant numbers. It's only good to show on a parade and as a demonstrator to support their military exports.
      Their mentality is still the same as in WW2/cold war era. They just throw massive numbers at their enemy and hope that this is enough to win. No sophisticated strategy, no smart use of combined forces, no superior technology. Their current situation is so bleak, that they are relying more and more on scaring civilians with a massive artillery campaign to level the big cities.
      And if you have a look at Putin: He is getting old and sick, it's clearly visible in his face.

  62. Alex77W Guest

    Clearly an evacuation flight.

  63. Ray Guest

    It’s for the diplomats/spies https://thehill.com/policy/international/596175-us-expels-12-russian-diplomats-for-espionage-activities

    1. Stuart Guest

      A plane that can carry nearly 300 passengers sent to pick up 12? Highly unlikely.

    2. Mark Guest

      Its the range of the aircraft, not capacity that fits the mission in this case.

    3. Jesse Member

      Stuart, actually it makes perfect sense, as that plane has the range. I doubt the government owns other planes that can do that distance nonstop.

    4. kenish Guest

      The IL-96 is owned outright by Russia. Almost all others with the range (A350, 777, 744) are leased and could be repossessed at IAD. The flight was supposed to be a quick turnaround but it's been on the ground for 5+ hours so far. It might be possible a supplier (fuel, ground services, etc) won't provide service unless they're paid on the spot in cash, or employees are taking individual action. Or, the plane may...

      The IL-96 is owned outright by Russia. Almost all others with the range (A350, 777, 744) are leased and could be repossessed at IAD. The flight was supposed to be a quick turnaround but it's been on the ground for 5+ hours so far. It might be possible a supplier (fuel, ground services, etc) won't provide service unless they're paid on the spot in cash, or employees are taking individual action. Or, the plane may need to continue to Havana to get fuel for the return trip.

      Wild speculation, but not too wild!

  64. Endre Guest

    Putin is seeking asylum in the US.
    Probably what others have stated, they may pick up some diplomats and their families.

    1. Mike Guest

      He should seek an insane asylum, if that's the case. :)

  65. view Guest

    Well we know at least 12 Russians have to leave the US by March 7th (expulsions) and it´s getting hard to fly commercial these days.

    1. Klaus Guest

      It’s not too hard to fly from the USA to Russia.
      You can fly via Istanbul, Dubai or Belgrade.

    2. view Guest

      The spies will want a direct flight home to Mother Russia.

  66. Klaus Guest

    Official narrative from Russian MFA is flying diplomats out of Washington.
    However, Insiders say there has been a direct line between the U.S. and Russian defense ministries since Tuesday to prevent "misjudgments, military incidents and escalations."

  67. DH Guest

    It’s probably coming to pick up Russian Embassy staff and families.

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foo blah Guest

They’re not commies. Technically more of a dictatorship, but really Russia is a mafia state, and Putin is the Godfather. Russian peeps are wonderful though.

4
Mark Guest

Probably bringing The GOP their campaign funds.

3
DCS Diamond

Pure paranoid fantasy. Billions in Bitcoin that can't be spent anywhere are worthless. Putting miscalculated and, yes, it is too late to reverse course. To save face, he will forge ahead and likely occupy Ukraine, and then, from his ensuing isolation and pariah state, he'll realize that by 'winning' he actually lost - commonly known as a Pyrrhic victory.

3
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