The Ilyushin Il-80 Maxdome plane was stationed at the Russian city of Taganrog, in the Sea of Azov, when the security breach was reported. It is believed that 39 pieces of radio equipment were stolen from the plane as it was undergoing maintenaince work.
Russian authorities sentenced taxi driver Zhora Khachunts to four years in jail over the security breach, labelled an “emergency situation” by the Kremlin.
Mr Khachunts, who was ordered to pay £36,400 in damages, claims he was framed by the country’s authorities.
Mr Khachunts’ legal team claim that his DNA was planted on the plane.
His lawyer, Olga Boyarkina, said there were a number of holes in the account put forward by the Russian prosecutors.
“Moreover, in the case file, there is no evidence of the existence of these details in principle.”
The Russian state news agency, TASS, said that an official from the Beriev Aircraft Plant in Taganrog told the local police in December 2020 that a cargo door had been unsealed.
Mr Khachunts was detained the following month, according to the Russian Interfax news agency.
The prosecutors said Mr Khachunts had accomplices, but the investigation never determined their identities.
Mr Khachunts’ wife, Elena, reportedly described her husband as a “scapegoat”, saying their lives have “been turned inside out”.
The ‘Doomsday plane’ is one of a fleet commissioned by the Kremlin to be an airborne command centre in the event of nuclear war.