Even in the land of dashcams, many still find videos of last week's Chelyabinsk meteor to be insufficient evidence that the fireball tearing through the atmosphere was, in fact, a meteor.
A recent poll conducted by Noviye Izvestia (a Moscow daily the Christian Science Monitor described as "fairly staid") found barely half its readers believe official reports that the blast was caused by a meteor — as opposed to, say, UFOs, or an American weapons test.
According to the newspaper, the other half prefer to believe in an assortment of bizarre explanations, including that the blast was a secret US weapon test, an off-course ballistic missile, a message from God, a crashing alien spaceship, or even an extraterrestrial trojan horse carrying a deadly space virus to wipe out the Earth.
"Our people remember the Soviet past, when news of disasters was concealed or lied about," says Alexei Grazhdankin, deputy director of the Levada Center, an independent Moscow polling agency.
"We have no scientific polls on what people think about the Chelyabinsk event last week, but it's safe to assume the majority of Russians accept that it was a meteorite. However, our past surveys show that up to 25 percent of Russians do believe in UFOs. A lot of our people just prefer not to accept the safe explanations they were taught at school. Even when all necessary information is available, they don't want to believe it."