Grasping at conspiracy theory straws, Russia's Investigative Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin has called for an international investigation into what he claims are murky details surrounding the U.S. moon landings between 1969 and 1972.
The call appears to be a desperate attempt by Markin to deflect attention from questions stemming from a large-scale corruption probe targeting nine FIFA officials which includes whether they and other officials received bribes for helping Russia win its bid for the 2018 World Cup.
In a column he wrote for the Izvestia newspaper, Markin said U.S. authorities had overstepped boundaries by launching the FIFA corruption probe which lead to the recent resignation of longtime FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Accusing U.S. prosecutors of "having declared themselves the supreme arbiters of international football affairs," Markin suggested international investigators could similarly examine some of the murkier elements of America's past.
He wrote that such an investigation could help solve the mystery of the disappearance of film footage from the original moon landing in 1969, and find out where the nearly 400 kilograms of lunar rock reportedly obtained during several space missions between 1969 and 1972 is.
"We are not contending that they did not fly [to the moon], and simply made a film about it. But all of these scientific — or perhaps cultural — artifacts are part of the legacy of humanity, and their disappearance without a trace is our common loss. An investigation will reveal what happened," Markin wrote.
NASA admitted in 2009 that original film of the first moon landing had been erased, but said it had managed to re-master the original television broadcast of the landing.
The bulk of moon rock reportedly brought back to earth during manned U.S. moon landings is stored in the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Texas, though there are samples in various museums around the world.