Just under half of Russians think the U.S. moon landing in 1969 was a government hoax, a poll has found. In a survey of 1,600 adults in Russia, researchers also found only 31 percent believe American astronauts landed on the moon in the last century.
The moon landing, where Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to set foot on the lunar surface, took place during the space race between the U.S. and Russia. Both nations were vastly expanding their space programs, with Russia having become the first country to send a person—cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin—into space eight years earlier.
Soon after the moon landing, the Soviet Union denied it had been in a space race with the U.S., either claiming they had no lunar program or criticizing NASA’s efforts. Some politicians in America use the denials from Russia to claim U.S. officials had invented the race to justify the millions invested in advancing the lunar program. It would be decades before the Soviets confirmed they had been attempting a moon landing. In 1989, the New York Times published an article titled “Russians Finally Admit They Lost Race to Moon.”