Mathias Rust, facing possible criminal charges in West Germany for flying an airplane to Moscow's Red Square, is getting less than a hero's welcome in his homeland after he was freed from a Soviet prison.
The 20-year-old Rust was in seclusion Thursday, the day after the Kremlin cut short his four-year prison term he received for buzzing the Kremlin spires on May 28, 1987.He said in a brief television interview from Hanover that he was glad to be home after more than 14 months in prison. But he also faces two investigations, one of them by licensing officials in Hamburg.
"We are now investigating whether he is trustworthy enough to be flying. That's the question," spokesman Wolfgang Heidenreich told The Associated Press from Hamburg. "He still has the right to be heard, so no final decision has been made."
A suspension of the license also is possible, Heidenreich said, but he declined to predict the outcome of the investigation.
Rust apparently wants to keep the license, the co-pilot of the chartered jet that flew him from Frankfurt to Hanover Wednesday night was quoted as saying.
"I want to fly again. I have already paid enough for my foolish act," Rust told co-pilot Helmut Heidemann, the newspaper Bild today quoted Heidmann as saying. Rust flew to Hanover after arriving in Frankfurt from Moscow.
In the northern town of Itzehoe, prosecutor Rolf Schamerowski said he was looking into possible criminal charges of fraud and endangering air traffic.
But a poll by the Bild newspaper indicates that most West Germans do not approve of his daredevil act.
The newspaper said that in its poll of 1,009 people, only 4 percent said they consider Rust a "hero," 60 percent saw his flight as "criminal mischief," 7 percent as a "serious crime," and the remainder as a "dumb act attributable to youth."