Long ago the island was used for Chechen Prisoners that fought in the Caucasus with the Czars. After their release a few stayed on the island but they became difficult and wanted to return to the mountains. Some were deported to Kazakhstan; others were drowned in the sea. The island is a mystery of actually what happened to the Chechens.
In 1964 the island was used for testing of a plane that could take off from the water. It was closed to the public from 1964 – 1982. Photographs from American spy satellites showed a strange aircraft carrying letters “KM” on its fuselage. CIA disambiguated it as “Kaspian Monster” but it actually meant “Korabl maket”. The chief designer was Rostislav Alexeyev and in 1982 pilot error caused a crash. The plane was too heavy to be recovered from its watery wreck site. By then the economy was completely destroyed, and only people with nowhere to go stayed. Fishing was the only industry but it was later semi banned by the Russian government for over fishing. Now the island has only a few residents, and they say they are dying like the Island.