August curse

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The August curse has been perceived as a phenomenon in Russia, where from 1991 to 2001, disasters and adverse events occurred more often in August than in other months. Many possible explanations have been presented for this observation, ranging from fact-based to supernatural.


In the early 21st century, journalists and observers noted that, since 1991, an unusual number of severe and fatal events in Russia had occurred in the month of August.[1][2] Examples included deadly accidents and incidents, terrorist attacks, and the outbreak of two major wars.

Explanation attempts[edit]

Russian media has speculated about possible explanations for such clustering. Seasonal influence on human activities, as opposed to the relative shutdown in winter, for instance, are among them.[3]

For instance, many people take vacations in August: this leaves a kind of power-vacuum at some levels which terrorists and criminals can exploit.[1]

Evgeny Nadorshin, chief economist at Trust Bank, has said that, for many events, the occurrence in August is simply a coincidence. But Nadorshin noted that vacations and official inattention were key factors in enabling the 2009 Nazran bombing.[1]

Others have presented supernatural explanations for the August curse. Astrologist Elena Kuznetsova said in 2009, that the chaos will likely continue until mid-September because of the relative positions of Saturn and Uranus, and that Russia's horoscope is directly connected to the annual August turmoil.[3]

The usually hot weather of August was identified in 2001 as a contributing factor.[4] It is a time when military or insurgent actions can be undertaken.

Other far-reaching historical events have occurred in August in Russia, a prime time for military movements. For example, the Eastern Front of World War I was opened in August 1914 with the German invasion of Congress Poland, part of the Russian Empire. Germany started the disastrous Siege of Leningrad (22 August 1941) during World War II after invading its erstwhile ally. The next year, it started the Battle of Stalingrad that month (23 August 1942), in which the Soviets were eventually victorious.


Year Day Casualties Notes
1991 19–21 3 dead Soviet coup d'état attempt
1992 27 Everyone on board (84) Aeroflot Flight 2808 crashes in Ivanovo, Russia[5]
1994 4 MMM Ponzi scheme collapses
1994 7 29 killed, 786 left homeless Tirlyanskoe reservoir in Bashkortostan floods
1994 11 20 dead, 50 wounded Train crash in the Belgorod Region[6]
1996 29 Everyone on board (141) Vnukovo Airlines Flight 2801 crashes in Norway
1996 31 First Chechen War ends, with the Chechens declaring victory
1998 17 Russian financial crisis
1999 2 Invasion of Dagestan, start of the Second Chechen War
1999 31 The first attack of the Russian apartment bombings
2000 12 118 dead Kursk submarine disaster
2002 19 127 dead Crash of a military helicopter in Chechnya
2003 1 44 dead
79 wounded
Suicide bomber drives a truck with explosives into a military hospital in North Ossetia
2004 24 89 dead 2004 Russian aircraft bombings
2006 22 170 dead Flight 612 plane crash
2007 13 Bomb attack on a train between Moscow and St. Petersburg
2008 7–12 Russo-Georgian War
2009 17 2 dead
3 injured
Two planes collide during rehearsals for an air show in Moscow
2009 17 25 dead
64 injuries
Terrorist bombing in Nazran
2009 17 75 dead Accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya power station
2010 29 July – 13 August 54 in wildfires
55,736 in heat wave[7]
2010 Russian wildfires
2013 end July – mid August 85 dead
105 missing
860,000 displaced
(includes Chinese and Russian casualties)
Heavy floods in Russia's Far East
2019 1–31 2019 Siberian wildfires
2020 9 4+ dead 2020–2021 Belarusian protests after results of presidential election were announced on August 9th
10 13 injured. 2020 Volgograd explosion
20 1 injured Poisoning of Alexei Navalny in a chemical weapons attack

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Why August is Russia's tragic month". Moscow News. 24 August 2009. Archived from the original on 30 August 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  2. ^ Blank, Stephen (6 September 2003). "Russia's August curse". Asia Times. Archived from the original on 9 September 2003. Retrieved 31 August 2009.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ a b "August cruellest month for Russians". The National. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  4. ^ "WHY HAS AUGUST BEEN A BAD MONTH FOR RUSSIA OVER THE PAST DECADE?". The Russia Journal. 10 August 2001. Archived from the original on 13 June 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  5. ^ Ranter, Harro. "ASN Aircraft accident Tupolev 134A CCCP-65058 Ivanovo Airport (IWA)". Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  6. ^ "СПРАВКА – Крупные железнодорожные катастрофы". РИА Новости (in Russian). 14 August 2007. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  7. ^ Staff Writers. "Natural disasters killed 295,000 in 2010: reinsurer". Agence Presse-France. Disaster Management – Terra Daily. Retrieved 3 January 2011.