I love conspiracy theories. Not because I am one of “those people” who doubt everything and everyone, mostly because they are very entertaining. I also love urban legends, and we are currently witnessing the birth of another urban legend.
A few days ago I stumbled upon this link during my Facebook stalking session. Yes, yes, your eyes and ears do not deceive you. According to Boštjan and Žiga Virc, Slovenian authors of a new documentary in production titled “Houston, we have a problem”, our little old Yugoslavia was the supreme mother of all space programs and big old Josip Broz Tito fathered the idea of space travel. I will give you a minute or two to burst into spontaneous laughter, exhale giggles, roll your eyes, insert facepalms and choke with disbelief. If you are a Yugonostalgic still reminiscing of times “when everything was better”, you can simply embrace the genius of this idea.
You thought Area 51 was the most famous secret military base in the history? Think again and take a look at Object 505. Object 505 is better known as Željava airport. Actually, not many people know about the code name. I’ve talked about this topic with some older people (excuse me, people with life experience) who’ve been around for quite some time and heard a lot of stories, and they all unanimously laughed off this theory. What they didn’t find so funny is the amount of money spent on construction and building of Željava (excuse me, space station Object 505), but that is a subject for some other blog. Perhaps about failed investments.
It seems to me the USA had everything that was needed for the most successful space program, except one important thing – Yugo secret service. The trailer indicates that Tito and his agents were one step ahead of the Americans and found the secret diaries of a man called Herman Potočnik Noordung, whose work served as inspiration for Tito’s space station. Noordung's diaries were full of construction ideas for brilliant space technology and rockets. Cue to always humorous Ms. Silvia Valencia: “Why do I keep picturing the Yugo car vertically with a really big exhaust pipe?”
There is one thing that really bothers me about this documentary: it suggests that Tito’s lavish lifestyle is the result of money he got by selling the space program to the USA. That information contradicts one of the best and most talked-about conspiracy theories (or urban legends) on the grounds of ex-Yugoslavia.
See, Tito wasn’t the real Tito. The Tito we all know was actually a wealthy Russian spy. According to one story, the real Tito lost an arm in World War Two and was replaced by a spy during one of his short visits to Russia where he was eventually killed. Another story says that Tito died on the eastern front in World War One. The final version says that Tito died in Operation Rosselsprung (“Desant na Drvar”) and was replaced by a Russian doppelganger in order to keep the Partisan movement alive. The bottom line is this - Tito was not a poor peasant’s son from Kumrovec, he was a rich stylish Russian . Duh, like we didn’t know that. Love for gold, refined taste in women and a lousy accent gave him away the moment he tried to sell himself as a native.
Why is this so important, you might ask?
Because if proven correct (and apparently there are documents that can prove it) this urban legend along with this documentary could possibly change the history of entire world, not just the history of Yugoslavia. If Tito was in fact Russian and Kennedy really bought his space program which ultimately landed Americans on the Moon, the USA obviously isn’t the one who won the space race – Russia did, with a little help from their spy.
Imagine the blow to their ego. Imagine the pride of Russia. Imagine the shift of power in the world. Imagine the east gaining a reputation as the new world leader. OK, I went too far with this one, but you get the point.
And you also understand that I am joking. The Yugoslavian space program is obviously a hoax. Tito, a Russian spy – I leave this one to your own judgement.
The article was originally written in English.
Illustration: Marie Fette
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