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“Blow – and the girl died”: how a Ukrainian official smeared the star of the USSR

Vladimir Muntyan, a seven-time champion of the USSR and a finalist of the 1972 European Championship, built an excellent career in football. He was recognized as the best in the USSR, and world experts put the midfielder on a par with the greatest players of the era. He could have become a national hero, but a terrible accident crossed everything out.

Muntean left football early – the midfielder was barely 30. He enjoyed a well-deserved “retirement” and, as he himself admitted, “reveled in fame” and the status of one of the best football players in the USSR at the turn of the 60s and 70s.

Life turned upside down on May 3, 1978, when Vladimir got behind the wheel of a Zhiguli."I was driving in the rain on Krasnoarmeiskaya past the trolleybus depot, there is a hollow there. Gotta slow down. And he drove. The car spun like it was on ice. The right side, where the girl was sitting, was thrown at a trolleybus. She died. The police arrived, and Volodya was in shock. I tore off the captain's epaulettes! – recalled the footballer of Kyiv “Dynamo” Victor Serebryanikov, who was in the same car.

Muntean was taken to the hospital with a fracture of the spine and a scattering of other injuries. He healed the physical injuries, but received a severe blow to his reputation. The whole country learned about the accident.Muntyan, who played for Dynamo, was immediately stripped of the rank of captain of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and expelled from the party. A criminal case was opened under an article on violation of traffic safety rules that resulted in the death of a passenger. The football player was threatened with ten years in prison.

Muntean was saved by popularity and prestige among football fans. The investigation dragged on, and an influential patron took his side – the first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine Volodymyr Shcherbitsky, who supported the Kiev “Dynamo”. Thanks to him, the case was hushed up, and the terrible accident was attributed to a factory defect of the car.

But after the charges were dropped and reinstated in the party, Muntyan still lost the opportunity to do what he loved – the Dynamo Kyiv City Council banned Vladimir from working in football. Muntean admitted that he could hardly live without football, even though he was allowed to coach in other sports.

However, they helped him here too – the head of the Kyiv SKA, Viktor Pyanykh, arranged Muntyan as a playing coach in his club. After spending several years at SKA, Vladimir decided on an adventure and accepted a job offer in Africa – he went to Madagascar. There, the specialist headed the local “army” – COSFAP, with whom he won the championship title. career after the collapse of the USSR – in the youth team of Ukraine. He coached various Ukrainian teams with varying success, and in 2002 he even visited Alania Vladikavkaz, but did not achieve much success in his coaching career. >”Probably, everything was going towards this, something like that had to happen,” Muntyan recalled. “It happens: everywhere there was a green light, I met people at any level, and everywhere I was allowed, let's say, maybe no one else would have gotten away with it. All this accumulated and, in general, self-control was lost. I didn’t feel any problems, fate somehow carried me: here you are, Volodenka, this and that, please You overestimate a lot with age.

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