An opinion survey conducted last May by state-backed pollster VTSiOM found that 57 percent of Russians believe there were no lunar landings, and that the U.S. government made a fake documentary in 1969 about the mission. Only 24 percent of the poll’s 2,000 respondents aged 18 and over said they believed U.S. astronauts landed on the moon.
In 2011, President Vladimir Putin dismissed the idea as a conspiracy theory on par with the notion that the 9/11 attacks were organized by U.S. intelligence services. “You can’t falsify an event like that,” he said of the moon landing.
But even members of Putin’s government are prone to peddling the theory, whether in jest or not.
Last November, during a visit to satellite manufacturer Russian Space Systems, Dmitry Rogozin, who heads the country’s space agency, Roskosmos, spoke about Russia’s plans to land humans on the moon after 2030. Then he issued a dig at the United States.
“We’ve given ourselves the task of going there to check whether they’ve been there or not,” he said, smirking in response to laughter from the room. “They say they’ve been. We’ll check that.”