It’s been almost three decades since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since then, information from the former USSR has flowed more freely. One of the perhaps unforeseen advantages—at least to UFO enthusiasts—was the plethora of suddenly available UFO and alien reports that had piled up in secrecy throughout the Cold War years.
Here are just ten such reports. Had the Soviet Union still have been in existence today, the following accounts would very likely still be in a sealed vault deep behind the Iron Curtain.
10 Soldiers Turned To Stone In Ukraine
Without a doubt, one of the most intriguing and outlandish UFO claims from the Soviet era are the those regarding an incident that saw a number of Soviet soldiers reportedly turned to stone.
The date of the actual incident is unclear, although it is thought to have happened during the late 1970s or early 1980s. The report states that a silver saucer-shaped object appeared over a Soviet military unit that was training in Ukraine. Although it doesn’t state whether the action was intentional or accidental, a surface-to-air missile was launched at the object, bringing it crashing to the ground.
Five beings with “large heads and large black eyes” exited the craft and then, in front of the soldiers, began to merge into one sphere-shaped object. This new object began to grow, becoming brighter as it did so. An uncomfortable buzzing noise also filled the air. Suddenly, in a blinding flash, the sphere-shape was gone, and the soldiers caught in the glow—23 in all—were instantly turned into “stone poles.” Only two soldiers, who weren’t caught in the glow, survived.
The remains of the UFO, as well as the “petrified soldiers,” were taken to Moscow for research.
9 The Claims Of Oscar Linke
The account of Oscar Linke from Soviet-controlled Germany became known to the Western world via a CIA report titled ” ‘Flying Saucers’ in East Germany,” obtained upon Linke’s “escape” from the East to the West and detailing an incident thought to have taken place in the summer of 1952. The CIA themselves took the bulk of the report from a Greek newspaper article.
As Oscar was riding home on his motorcycle, his 11-year-old daughter Gabriella sitting in the carriage beside him, he suddenly felt a “pull” on the vehicle. Realizing a tire had blown, Linke brought the bike to a halt. After inspecting the damage, the pair began to push the bike down the road. During this, Gabriella spotted something moving in front of them.
Telling his daughter to remain with their bike, Oscar went forward to get a better look. In front of him, at a distance of around 40 meters (130 ft), were two humanoid figures dressed in “shiny metallic clothing.” Behind them was an object “like a huge frying pan,” with a black cone-type tower in the middle of it. He moved closer, eventually causing the beings to look in his direction. Upon noticing him, they scampered into their craft, which began to rotate quickly before rising at great speed.
8 Arkady Ivanovich Apraksin
What is perhaps most interesting about our third entry is that the apparent one-time heroic Russian fighter pilot Arkady Ivanovich Apraksin doesn’t technically exist—at least, according to Soviet thinking and the recorded version of history, he doesn’t. His exploits are largely known to us in the West initially due to UFO researcher Dr. Felix Zigel, and then more recently through UK UFO investigator Timothy Good.
According to their research, Apraksin was highly decorated for his services in World War II, receiving the Red Star award, the Red Banner award, and the Patriotic War First Class award. Following the end of the global conflict, Apraksin would be one of the Soviet regime’s top test pilots for its secret military aircraft.
It was during one of these test flights in June 1948 that he would witness a “cucumber-shaped” craft that emitted “cones of light” from its body. He would attempt to engage the vehicle, but one of the cones of light hit his plane and disabled it immediately. A statement was prepared by his superiors, and he was ordered to take six weeks’ leave from duty. By May 1949, however, he was again testing aircraft for the Soviets. As he was racing through the air at around 15,000 meters (49,000 ft) from the ground, his plane suddenly became caught in one of the cones of light as the same UFO from before appeared nearby. He would eventually manage to bring his plane to an emergency landing around 80 kilometers (50 mi) from his base.
Following this encounter, Apraksin was sent for “evaluation” and would ultimately be declared “Group One Disabled,” which ruled him out of any active military duty. Shortly after, it would seem he vanished from the system entirely.
7 The Yaroslavl Sightings
In the early 1930s, there were reports of several strange sightings in and around Russia’s Yaroslavl province. Locals would suggest these strange sightings were connected to the 1928 crash of a strange craft into the icy waters of Lake Vedlozero before its sinking to the dark depths below the thick sheet of ice.
In the years that followed, regular sightings of creatures with “thin arms and legs” were made along the banks of the lake. Some would report these beings to be wearing outfits made from a shiny silvery material. There were also further sightings of strange objects hanging over the region before vanishing in a flash of light. On one occasion, a “gel-like” substance was found on the ground following such a sighting. Some reports even go as far as to speak of contact between these creatures and small, isolated villages.
According to UFO researchers who have ventured to this part of the world in modern times, many residents will state to having regular “interference” with their televisions and radios. Whether or not this is connected to the events of the 1930s is open to debate.
6 Tales Of The Valley Of Death
Intertwined with legends and folklore that date back centuries are the many accounts from the so-called “Valley of Death” in Siberia that runs along the Upper Vilyuy River. Those who have ventured into this region have reportedly become suddenly ill (sometimes fatally). Recently, in 2013, Michale Visok led a team into the heart of the Valley of Death, investigating the apparent existence of “cauldrons” that were said to be the remains of ancient alien technology. They would have to abandon the project due to the sudden onset of intense illness with similar symptoms to radiation poisoning.
According to the legends, the entire region was host to a great battle in antiquity that would see “balls of fire” being thrown from the ground at huge ships in the air. These flames came from “cauldrons” that would rise up from within the Earth. Their description sounds similar to anti-aircraft guns. During this battle, an explosion “louder than any heard before” would completely destroy the region and all life in it. The descriptions are similar to those of a nuclear explosion, which, incidentally, might explain the reason why anyone who does venture into the Valley of Death becomes ill shortly after.
5 The Caucasus Mountains Abduction
In the summer of 1948, in a small village in the Caucasus Mountain regions of Russia, a young brother and sister would fall asleep in a field overlooking the cows grazing in the sunshine. The sister, along with her friend, lay in the sunshine in order to get suntans. The young boy, however, would walk to a spot that was in the shade. He was awoken shortly after to the sound of a “piercing whistle” and the sight of a huge silver object that resembled an “upside down plate” hovering over him.
Scared but curious, he remained where he was, watching the events unfold. The craft would land a short distance from him. Shortly after, a doorway opened, and three humanoid beings emerged from the disc. They made their way to the young boy, took his hand, and led him to their otherworldly vehicle. As he climbed on board and walked down a corridor, the door shut behind him. He was led into a separate room which featured four cages made from “metallic rods.”
One of the cages contained a rather large bear. The others, however, had human beings inside. In one sat a disheveled naked woman, in another were three Caucasian men, and in the third was a “man of Slavic descent.” It was with this last man that the young boy was placed. While the Caucasian men were calm and apparently engaged in some kind of prayer, the woman was screaming hysterically. The bear, meanwhile, was becoming increasingly agitated and pacing in his small enclosure.
A table was “brought out of the wall” and one of the Caucasian men was placed on it. The three alien beings then proceeded to conduct a live dissection of the man, eventually placing the pieces of his cut-up body into a medical box before “washing down” the area to remove the blood. They then left the room.
The young boy and the Slavic man, who revealed his name to be Sasha, would temporarily escape their cages, but they were caught by the aliens. Eventually, after revealing to Sasha and the boy that their experiments were to study life on Earth, particularly humans following the atomic blasts of World War II, they would reach a deal with Sasha. He would go with them to their planet, as long as the two other men, the woman, and the young boy were released. Apparently, these terms were acceptable to the aliens, who did as they said they would. Although the young boy would not see the extraterrestrials again, he would receive a strange, random visit from several military personnel with a man in civilian clothes a few years later. The young boy wouldn’t answer any of the man’s questions, however, and they soon left, but not before ordering him to “not tell anyone” of their conversation.
4 The Recovery Of The Lake Balkash Crash
According to declassified KGB files, hundreds of people apparently witnessed a “silver disc” drop from the sky and into Lake Balkash. The incident occurred at some point in 1963, although the exact date is uncertain. Within hours, a retrieval team had secured the wreckage and transported it to a secret underground facility in Slepnogorsk.
The leader of the Soviet Union at the time, Leonid Brezhnev, was made aware of the situation, and several days after the incident, he would make a discreet visit to the location to inspect the remains for himself and be briefed by Soviet scientists looking to understand and reverse-engineer the craft.
The incident is far from the only claim of recovered UFOs in the former Soviet Union. The previous year, for example, in 1962, two disc-shaped craft crashed and were recovered. The first came to the ground in Semipalatinsk, with the remains transported to a facility in Zhitkur. The second crashed in the largely unpopulated northern regions of Russia, and a recovery team would take the wreckage to a location somewhere in Moscow.
In recent years, many former high-ranking Soviet officials have gone on record, making public statements concerning such incidents as well as the activities at the infamous Kapustin Yar, regarded by most as the Soviet version of Area 51.
3 The Odessa Incident
Ukraine has several notable UFO sightings and apparent alien encounters on record. Perhaps one of the most interesting took place in Odessa in 1971. According to the story, a young woman known as “Masha” would travel to Odessa from Crimea to go on a tour of the catacombs of the city.
During this tour, she suddenly heard the cries of a young child and went to see where they were coming from. Realizing she had quickly separated herself from the group, she continued to search for the source of the crying. Then, she felt a “kick” to her head and remembered nothing else.
Several days passed, and Masha’s disappearance sparked a large search of the town. Then she reappeared at the entrance to the catacombs. A group of tourists would take her to the authorities, and she was soon on her way back to Crimea.
Once back at home, however, Masha’s parents noticed a distinct change in her. She was reclusive and distant. Even more bizarre, it was discovered that she was in the early stages of pregnancy, although she didn’t know how or when the child could have been conceived. Nevertheless, she went ahead with the pregnancy and brought up the child, a boy, as she would have done any other. However, it was obvious that he was “different” from other children his age. He was highly intelligent and had no interest in child-like activities, preferring instead to read books vastly ahead of his age.
Perhaps strangest of all was his sudden decision as a young man to take a trip to the same catacombs his mother had two decades earlier. He would venture into the walkways as part of a group of tourists. Somewhere during the trip, he simply disappeared. Nobody could recall when they last saw him, and he was never heard from again. Nor was his body ever found.
2 The Topolovka Forest Crash
During a geological excursion in the forests near Topolovka in 1966, geologist Oleg Ivanovich and the rest of his team made the decision to camp down for the night after one of their horses ran into trouble in swamp mud. Shortly after they settled down for the evening, a huge explosion brought them from sleep, and all around them were flames. It appeared that the entire forest was on fire. The intense heat and thick smoke would force the entire team into a nearby river as their only means of escape.
As daylight broke, they could see the flames had died somewhat, although small areas were still burning significantly. They also noticed that their equipment was behaving strangely as they attempted to locate the source of the explosion. Their radios were all dead, and compass needles would simply spin wildly. The men also reported experiencing unexplained sensations of “powerlessness.”
They would eventually, however, locate what appeared to be the remains of a downed aircraft which resembled “two washbasins set face to face.” Some of its lights were still flashing, although the UFO was most definitely ruined. A doorway was open, out of which poured thick, black smoke. There also appeared to be a “tentacle” halfway out the doorway. The men would eventually move away from the site and begin their journey out of the forest before it became too dark to do so. As they did, though, they witnessed five military helicopters heading in the direction of the downed craft.
Suspecting the helicopters were part of a secret recovery team, Ivanovich would lead a small crew to the area the following day. As he expected, the craft was no longer there. However, all around the crash site were human footprints and signs of intense activity. What’s more, these prints and indentations were fresh and had been made within the last 24 hours, according to the geologist.
Incidentally, the group did take several photographs of the crippled craft, none of which came out. They would offer that this was likely due to an increase in radiation at the crash site, which also explained the erratic behavior of their navigation equipment.
1 ‘Glimmering Jellyfish’ Over Petrozavodsk
At around 4:00 AM on September 20, 1977, dockworkers in the town of Petrozavodsk would witness a “blinding light” head in their direction from over Lake Onega. Witnesses would later state that as the craft came closer, it looked like a “glimmering jellyfish.” Furthermore, upon stopping and hovering in the same spot for several minutes, it would send out “several ultra-thin beams of light,” as if searching for something or preparing to launch an attack.
After 12 minutes, the lights dimmed, and the object “transformed into a bright semicircle” before moving back in the direction it came at an intense speed. The dockworkers watched the object grow smaller in the distance before seeing it turn upward and punch a “burning red hole in the clouds.”
Soviet authorities would ultimately assume the incident was connected to some Cold War technology of the United States. The sheer amount of witnesses to the event, however, and the increasing number of Soviet citizens and academics alike whose interest in the UFO phenomenon was only getting stronger, meant this explanation largely fell on deaf ears. The Soviets would ultimately launch an official, albeit secret, investigation into the incident.