Keldysh proposed that further work on the L1 be abandoned, and Proton boosters instead be used to launch the Ye-8-5 lunar soil return robot spacecraft being developed by Babakin. Babakin had been accelerating this programme since the beginning of 1968 with the support of Keldysh, even though it would only return around 100 g of lunar soil, versus the tens of kilograms the Apollo manned flights would return. However it now offered an interesting possibility - he proposed obtaining lunar soil and returning it to earth before an American manned landing. The government's organs of mass communication would say that the Soviet Union's lunar program only consisted of robot probes, emphasising that his was much safer and that Russia would never risk it's citizen's lives for mere political sensation.
This seemed attractive, but how could the direction be changed? The L1 and L3 projects were enshrined and funded in the state's Five Year Plan, and could not be simply abandoned or altered. It would be necessary to obtain approval of the Central Committee, the Soviet Ministers, the Military-Industrial Commission, and other involved ministries. This was simply not possible, and it would be impossible to keep the planned deception secret. New decrees would have to be formulated and approved to change direction. This had been done before, by Korolev in 1961, but it was no simple task. Pilyugin again reiterated that all of the state's priorities in any case must remain on development of solid propellant ICBM's.