Soviet UFO Encounters

“They couldn’t explain the presence of the jellyfish-like object over Petrozavodsk. If it was only Soviet technology that they had mistaken, why create a special program to study UFOs?” – Paul Stonehill

The “Jellyfish” UFO – Petrozavodsk

On September 20, 1977, between midnight and early hours of the morning, people over a vast territory of eastern Europe, stretching from Copenhagen and Helsinki in the west to Vladivostok in the east reported seeing unusual lights in the sky. At around 4.00 a.m., what later became known as the “Jellyfish UFO”, appeared over the city of Petrozavodsk. 

According to many eyewitness accounts, the UFO – described as a dark amethyst-colored lenticular object surrounded by a semi-transparent ring, was seen moving slowly towards the city before stopping and spreading over it in the form of a Jellyfish, showering extremely thin beams of light that reached the ground. After a while, the beams had stopped and the object resumed its movement until it disappeared beyond the horizon. The object was later seen over nearby Onega Lake where hundreds of people and nearby residents reported that the UFO’s rays had drilled holes through the windows of their houses.

Rare photos of the Petrozavodsk phenomenon.

The following day, the events hit major news headlines with the earliest published report of the Petrozavodsk phenomenon written by the Russian News Agency (TASS) correspondent Nikolai Milov who described the object as a “huge star” that “flared up in the dark sky, impulsively sending shafts of light to the Earth.” 

According to Milov’s report, “the star” was showering the city with a multitude of very fine rays which created an image of pouring rain.” He further reported that “after some time the luminescent rays ceased” and “the jellyfish turned into a bright semicircle” before resuming its movement towards Onega Lake.

Like their U.S. counterparts, Soviet government officials attempted to cover up the story and explain away the phenomenon as being related to the burned-up rocket stages of their Kosmos-955 spy satellite, which was launched from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, situated some 350 km east of Petrozavodsk that night. However, this explanation was criticized by researchers Lev Gindilis of the Sternberg Astronomical Institute and Felix Ziegel of the Moscow Aviation Institute, who both outlined several obstacles to it such as the westward motion of the Petrozavodsk object in comparison to space vehicles which are usually launched eastward, in the direction of Earth’s rotation.

By October 1977, a preliminary report for the Academy of Sciences of the USSR was made which concluded that “based on the available data, it is unfeasible to satisfactorily understand the observed phenomenon.” The unexplained incident later prompted a meeting at the Soviet Ministry of Defense in Moscow, the outcome of which was the creation of a military department known as “SETKA AN”, a Soviet research program to study “anomalous atmospheric phenomena”.

Nuclear Missile Base Incident – Usovo

On October 4, 1982, in the underground control room of the Usov 52035 Military Unit where USSR Battle Stations were preparing to launch a first nuclear strike on the United States. Colonel Boris Sokolov and Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Platunov suddenly noticed an alarming irregularity, both witnessed a massive flying object in the night sky “only knew from movies” – they described it, silently manoeuvring over their nuclear missiles site in unpredictable ways.

At the base, warning lights lit up on control panels indicating that the missiles were being readied for launch, and waiting to be approved by command in Moscow. At this moment, the world was one step away from World War III. However, for 15 seconds, the base completely lost control of its nuclear arsenal.

Major Davidovich Kataman, Commander of the Control Center later said, “I observed spontaneous illumination of all displays”…“Something had manipulated a series of activation codes and put nuclear missiles on stand-by. After 15 terrifying seconds, everything returned to normal.”

The equipment was later disassembled to check for anomalies or faults, but to their surprise, they didn’t find anything unusual.

UFO investigative reporter George Knapp said in Netflix’s Top-Secret UFO Projects Declassified series: “I went to Russia in the 90s, I got the documents, I interviewed the people who were in charge of that study. They thought it was a message.”

“They thought that whoever was in the flying saucers, was telling us that these may be your most powerful weapons, but we’re not impressed. We can take control of them whenever we want.”

The “Tic-Tac” UFO – Czechoslovakia

On July 12, 1987, the three-member Czechoslovak Army crew including Captain Cestmir Tesarik and Flying officer Ivan Pospichal of a Mi-24D military combat helicopter were ordered to take off immediately after ground control radar had detected that the airspace border with Austria had been breached by an unknown object. 

In the air, the crew member couldn’t obtain a visual contact on the target due to the poor visibility caused by the clouds. Tesarik said that they even climbed up to 3,800 meters above the clouds, but still couldn’t see anything. Ground control confirmed that the target is still visible on their radar and started guiding them through the clouds.

Pospichal said that out of fear of a possible collision that might occur in such circumstances, their technician had put on his parachute vest and got ready to eject.

As soon as they left the clouds, the pilots reported back what they described as “10-15 meters long shiny cigar-shaped object like aluminium with no wings or distinguishable features to its surface”. Ground control immediately ordered them to shoot it down as they were trying to get it under their crosshairs. However, the object was evading each of their attempts.

“And it made such strange manoeuvres, always moving as to the Sun. A smart object.” Tesarik said.

At some point during the chase, they went back in the clouds again with no visuals. Ground control told them that the object is now directly in front of them, and moving towards them.

“My other hand was ready for ejection.” … “It didn’t make sense at all to me that they had put us on such a target, at such heights.” Pospichal said.

After flying by on their left side, the object suddenly left at a very high speed – up to 2,700 km per hour, flying over Dukovany and Jaslovské Bohunice power plants before disappearing off radar near the city of Bratislava.

Upon landing, all three-members were taken for briefing and special instructions by their military command.

“After landing, the guidance station ordered us to dispose of all materials involved. SARP and recording equipment, the tape recorder we had on board. So, everything was erased and that was supposed to be the end of it. It was never meant to be published.” Tesarik said.

More than 30 years later, all three-members swear that the aircraft they encountered was not of this world, as nothing like that had such manoeuvrability at the time.

“The Soviet Roswell”: Height 6’11 UFO Incident

On January 29, 1986, at around 8 p.m., local residents of Dalnegorsk town, Primorsky Krai, noticed an unusual reddish ball flying over nearby mountains towards a peak called Izvestkovaya, known today as Height 6’11. According to eyewitness testimony, the object was flying slowly parallel to the ground, rising and dropping several times, and was estimated to be travelling at a speed of approximately 54 km per hour, flying about 700-800 meters above the ground, until it started to descend then crashed into the hill.

According to witnesses, there was no explosion on impact but a resounding bang followed by brief fires among the surrounding trees.

Strange metal fragments and debris were later discovered, including lead of different properties, black, glassy, drop-shaped beads and mesh fragments, around the crash site.

The Dalnegorsk incident, which would later be dubbed the “Soviet Roswell” marked the beginning of a subsequent series of even more mysterious events. Eight days after the UFO crash, two yellow glowing objects appeared over Height 6’11. According to witnesses, the objects made four circuits around the crash site, then disappeared in a flash. 

On November 28th, 1987, however, the entire airspace of Primorsky Krai was flooded with UFOs. 

At least 32 unidentified objects were counted, flying over and illuminating the ground on the peak of Height 6’11 from 10 o’clock in the evening until the following morning. According to local residents, the objects came in different shapes and sizes. Some were even estimated to be up to 200 meters in length.

Following the incident, the crash site became a pathogenic zone for three years, uninhabited, and strictly off limits to the public. The Ministry of Defense monitored the scientific investigation of the fragments found, which displayed technological properties for which there is no match even today. 

On April 3, 1995, the Dalnegorsk incident was covered by the Sightings television. According to director Tod Mesirow who visited the site, spoke to witnesses and also to some of the scientists involved in analysing the debris, “Russian analysis of metal fragments recovered from the crash site say the metal is not man-made manufacture, but is from somewhere else.”

Voronezh UFO incident

On September 27, 1989, the TASS reported several boys playing soccer in a city park in Voronezh, when they “saw a pink glow in the sky, then saw a deep red ball about three meters in diameter. The ball circled, vanished, and reappeared minutes later and hovered.” 

According to the children, they saw a “three-eyed” being wearing bronze-colored boots with a disk on the chest, and a robot coming out of the craft. One the beings – they said, used some sort of gun to make a 16-years old boy disappear until the object departed.

Although the children were the only witnesses to the incident, Lieutenant Sergei A. Matveyev of the Voronezh district police station claimed to have seen “a body flying in the sky”. The interior Ministry said they would dispatch troops to the area should the object reappear again.

On October 9, 1989, TASS reported that a correspondent had spoken to “10 or 12 youths” who claimed to have seen a flying saucer. The article also quoted Dr. Silanov of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory who confirmed the location of the landing using “Biolocation”. 

The report also spoke of several other UFO sightings that occurred in the aftermath of the alleged incident, becoming the most publicized of a series of UFO claims made by official government media.

The TASS report was badly criticized however, by both Soviet and American scientists including Paul Kurtz, who said – according to his writing in a 1990 volume of Skeptical Inquirer, that scientists in the Soviet Union who had studied the evidence included members of the “Voronezh Amateur Section for the Study of Abnormal Phenomena”, who visited the site a week after the alleged event and used “a form of ESP dowsing” – whose effectiveness most Westerners question.

Claims also made in initial TASS reports including an extraterrestrial rock found at the landing site were also debunked by Genrikh Silanov of the Voronezh Geophysical Lab, who later stated that it was a form of hematite commonly found in the Soviet Union,

Researchers also found the alleged landing area had an above average presence of the radioactive isotope cesium, which vice-rector Igor Sarotsev of the University of Voronezh stated that it “did not constitute proof of a landing” as “after Chernobyl, this kind of phenomenon has been found in many areas.”

It was later concluded that “there exists no verifiable proof of a landing by aliens in Voronezh” and that the incident was nothing more than creative children imagination.

Some of the materials present in this article are provided by Netflix’s Top-Secret UFO Projects: Declassified series.


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