August curse

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The August curse is a perceived phenomenon in Russia, in which tragic events are felt to occur unusually often in the month of August. Many possible explanations have been presented for the phenomenon.


Many journalists and experts have noted that, beginning in 1991, the most tragic events in Russia tend to take place in August.[1][2] Examples include many deadly accidents and incidents, terrorist attacks and two major wars.

Explanation attempts[edit]

There has been a lot of speculation in Russian media about possible explanations for the perceived phenomenon.[3]

It has been pointed out that the fact that many people take vacations in August may be a factor: the vacations leave a power-vacuum which terrorists and malefactors can then exploit.[1] Yevgeny Nadorshin, chief economist at Trust Bank, has pointed out that for many of the events the fact that they take place in August is only a coincidence, but for some the phenomenon can be explained. For example, Nadorshin said that vacation and inattention were certainly key factors in the 2009 Nazran bombing.[1]

Some have also presented supernatural explanations for the August curse. Astrologist Yelena 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 has also been named as an explaining factor.[4]

It has to be observed that tragic August events in Russia tended to occur before 1991 as well. For example, the Eastern Front of World War I was opened in August 1914 with German invasion of Congress Poland, part of the Russian Empire; subsequent victories of the Central Powers led to the collapse of the Empire, rise of the bolsheviks, Russian Civil War and the creation of the Soviet Union 8 years later. The bloody and devastating, though ultimately victorious to the Soviets, battle of Stalingrad also commenced in that month (23 August 1942), as did the disastrous Siege of Leningrad (22 August 1941).


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 2008 South Ossetia 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 hydro plant
2010 29 July – 13 August 54 in wildfires
55,736 in heat wave[citation needed]
2010 Russian wildfires
2013 end July – mid August 85 dead
105 missing
860,000 displaced
(includes Chinese and Russian casualties)
Heavy floods in the Russia's Far East
2019 1–31 2019 Siberia wildfires

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. Retrieved 31 August 2009.
  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.