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Soviets Say Jetliner Hijack Attempt Foiled by KGB Unit

September 25, 1990

MOSCOW (AP) _ A special KGB team foiled an attempt to hijack a Soviet jetliner on Tuesday by a man who said he had a bomb hidden in his briefcase, the state news agency Tass reported.

The man threatened to blow up the plane while at the same time wishing the crew ″a pleasant flight,″ Tass said.

It was the latest in a rash of Soviet hijackings and hijack attempts, most involving diversion of flights to Nordic countries.

The would-be hijacker, Grigory Polyakov, 53, boarded the flight from Leningrad to the White Sea port of Arkhangelsk on Monday night and tried to divert it to Stockholm, Sweden, the report said.

A note he handed to the flight crew said, according to Tass: ″We propose to you that the plane be directed to Sweden and head toward Stockholm. If you do not do it, the plane will be blown up. We will control the course. Do not approach me and do not ask questions. We wish you a pleasant flight. Let us be mutually polite and avoid crime in the name of the passengers’ health and welfare.″

The crew persuaded Polyakov the plane had to land at Arkhangelsk for fuel. Once on the ground there, authorities negotiated the release of the 66 passengers, Tass said.

A trained unit of KGB security police then captured Polyakov, the report said, but gave no details, including any further information about whether there actually was a bomb. It said Polyakov had three previous convictions, including one in 1988 for ″attempting to leave the Soviet Union illegally.″

Tass said Polyakov earlier was diagnosed as suffering from chronic paranoia.

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