Extracted from: The Soviet UFO Files Paranormal Encounters behind the Iron Curtain. By Paul Stonehill © 2000 Director of the Russian Ufology Center

 Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) have been sighted over the territory we know today as Russia since the days of antiquity. For centuries people have seen objects in the sky that they could not identify, and many of them have recorded sightings, which could not be explained away as meteors, planets, stars, or weather balloons.

Some of the most interesting information concerning UFO sightings is still locked away in the secret archives of the state. Occasionally, the guarded vaults do open up, either by the passing of history or chance, and information leaks out. Recently declassified documents of the Russian Ministry of the Interior, dating back to the beginning of the 19th century, reveal some interesting UFO sightings from the Russian Empire.

Among them is a very unusual report to the Tsar from his Third Department of the Chancellery (the former title of the secret police). The report describes certain extraordinary light effects observed in the sky by the inhabitants of the city of Orenburg, and corroborated by the police and military, during the night of December 26,1830. Other reports mention the appearance of UFOs over Ustyug on January 30, 1844, as well as sightings from 1846 and 1847.

Secret files aside, the Russian history of UFO sightings dates back thousands of years. In the Russian north, near the Arctic Circle, there are ancient stone monuments that were reputedly built at the same time as Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids.

Smaller in size, the spiral "labyrinths" of the White Sea are no less enigmatic. They can be found on the Solovetski Islands, and throughout the area known as the Tersk Shores in the southern portion of the Kola Peninsula. One of the labyrinths lies near the ancient Umba, near the Lesnoi settlement. UFOs have frequently been sighted over the area by the Saami hunters (reindeer-breeders and descendants of ancient nomadic tribes). Similar double-spiral labyrinths have been found throughout the ancient world, in Egypt, China, and Scandinavia; even more amazing is the fact that the same labyrinths were depicted on ancient Minoan coins! As we shall see, Russia is very similar to that labyrinth: full of secrets, enigmas, and mysteries.


In AD 904, the Russian Prince Oleg began his campaign against the Greeks. He marched out of Kiev in the direction of Constantinople, with a huge force of men, pushing on by horse, ship, and, apparently, "flying apparatuses." Upon his arrival Oleg discovered that the Greeks had fortified the strait and closed up their city. Oleg disembarked upon the shore and ordered his troops to beach the ships.

The resultant battle with the Greeks raged for many weeks, becoming too prolonged for Oleg's taste. In the hope of inducing a swift conclusion he commanded his troops to make wheels, which they attached to the ships. When the wind was favorable, they spread the sails and bore down upon the city from the open country. According to the chronicles, the Russians launched "horses" into the air that were well equipped and "colored golden." From these the warriors threw fiery arrows at Constantinople.

However, to ascend into the air for the purpose of destroying a city the Russians would have to have been in possession of a level of technology that they definitely did not possess in AD 904. Where did the Russians borrow such horses? Who was interested in aiding them to conquer Constantinople? The emperors Leo and Alexander both made peace with Oleg, and after agreeing to pay the tribute and mutually binding themselves by oath, they kissed the cross. They invited Prince Oleg and his men to swear an oath likewise. According to the religion of the Russians, the victors swore by their weapons and by their deity Perun, as well by Volos, the god of cattle, and thus confirmed the treaty. His people called Oleg "the wise." He was still a pagan ruler, but one that apparently had powerful friends.

Another curious manuscript that reveals the existence of UFOs in ancient Russia was discovered in Kazan University, and researched by Moscow historian, M.D. Strunina.

The manuscript tells the story of a boy named Yasha, who, while collecting berries one day in the forest, suddenly encountered a stranger, clad in white clothes, next to him. The stranger introduced himself as Timofei, and placed Yasha in a giant "copper cauldron," from where some unknown force ascended them both to Heaven. Yasha spent three years there. Timofei taught him different sciences, as well as "magic." Then the boy was returned to Earth, in the same "cauldron," at the same spot in the forest. Timofei gave him two coins as a present, one golden, the other made of silver. Researchers have made comparisons between folk tales and contemporary knowledge.


In AD 921, the Caliph of Baghdad, Al-Muktadir, sent Ibn Fadlan, an Arabian chronicler, with an embassy to the King of the Bulgars of the Middle Volga. Ibn Fadlan wrote an account of his journeys with the embassy. According to this account, during the very first night spent in the palace of the Bulgar king, Ibn Fadlan witnessed very strange celestial phenomena.

Just before sunset, the horizon became bright red, and from above came a deafening low rumble. Ibn Fadlan raised his eyes to the sky and saw two fiery-reddish clouds moving above him, which continued to merge and then separate during the course of the sighting. The chronicler described incredibly vivid human - and horse-like shapes inside the clouds. He also saw weapons in the arms of the beings within the clouds as if they were engaged in a battle.

The Arabs were terrified by these incredible phenomena and knelt down in prayer, but the Bulgars explained the "riders in the sky" as Jinni (in Moslem legends, a supernatural being who can take human or animal form and influence human affairs); the "faithful" ones against the "unfaithful".

Were the "horses" observed by Ibn Fadlan and his companions the same ones that came to the aid of Prince Oleg in his battle to conquer Constantinople some 15 years before?


The Robozero sighting is the most famous UFO case in the history of ancient Russia. Yuri Roszius and other Russian researchers of paranormal phenomena have studied it extensively. The event occurred "in the year 171" (that is, the year 7171 from "the creation of the world") which corresponds to the year 1663. The details of this amazing and enigmatic event have been preserved because of the efforts of the Archeological Commission.

It published a collection of its historical acts in 1842, among which was an authentic 17th century document signed by Ivan (Ivashko) Rzhevsky, a "laborer," in which he bore witness to a remarkable event. According to Rzhevsky's testimony, on August 15, 1663, between 10:00AM and noon, a "great noise" resounded over Robozero Lake (located in the Vologda Region, about 80 miles southwest of Belozersk). From the north, out of a clearsky, appeared a huge flaming sphere not less than 130 feet in diameter. From its fore-part emitted two "flame" beams, about "20 sazhens ahead of it" (a sazhen is about seven feet). From its sides poured bluish smoke. This huge ball of fire, its height like that of a modern 15-story building, hovered over the lake. The phenomenon was observed by a multitude of people who had gathered for mass at the parish church, situated on the lake shore.

The "great noise" occurred just as the thanksgiving singing had begun. Terrified by this noise, the people emerged from the church, but upon seeing the "frightful sight" they went back into the church and "prayed to the Lord and the Virgin Mary with tears and weeping." Shortly afterwards "the great flame and the two smaller ones vanished," but it reappeared on two or three more occasions, moving in a westward direction (seemingly becoming brighter each time) before finally dimming and disappearing from view a full hour and a half later. Peasants were sailing in a boat on the lake at the time, but the scorching heat forced them to the bank. They saw that light from the unknown object had penetrated the water and reached the bottom of the lake-"about four sazhens down" (28 feet). They saw "fish fleeing from the flame toward the shore."

Rzhevsky's story was corroborated by another eyewitness, a peasant by the name of Levko Fedorov, and he also received written confirmation from the local priests that "such a token was observed on that date." Only then did Rzhevsky report the occurrence to his superiors. However, despite providing a detailed description of the phenomenon, Rzhevsky does not offer any subjective interpretation of it. Others have tried to interpret the Robozero phenomenon. Russian astronomer D. Svyatski, in his book "Astronomical Phenomena in Russian Chronicles," claims that the eyewitnesses saw pieces of a meteorite that flew apart after an explosion - but this does not account for the sighting of the people in the boat approaching a hovering body? Others have tried to explain it as ball lightning-but there was no storm or rain that day. The life span of lightning is short. Its diameter is no more than three feet-certainly not 130 feet.

Yuri Roszius analyzed Rzhevsky's report and came up with a fresh interpretation of the sighting. His detailed analysis included the study of one interesting episode related by eyewitnesses. The document notes a change in the outer appearance of the object: an increase in its brightness when it came into view for the third time. For some reason this change preceded the start of the object's progressive movement westward. In modern times, such an increase in brightness could be attributed to the firing-up of cruise engines (an increase in its thrust). Is it by chance that the object's brightness increased before its departure?

Mankind did not possess such advanced technology then, but it is feasible that the population of Robozero was being observed by an alien civilization. To this day no known scientific theory has explained the phenomenon.


Russian researcher Valentin Krapiva has compiled a series of UFO sightings from antiquity that appear in the Russian chronicles. In 1028 there was a serpent-like sign in the sky, so big that it could be seen throughout the Russian lands. It terrified the natives who fled in terror. The UFO hovered ominously for over two days.


In the Russian Far Fast, an area of frequent UFO activity throughout history, a fiery pillar appeared from the ground and rose several miles into the sky Lightning lit all around the pillar, and it was accompanied by a thunderous noise. The locals believed it to be a sign from God.

1317 TVER

In December 1317 a strange circular UFO plagued the city of Tver for over a week, before eventually moving northward and out of sight. The circle, which was bright green and emitted a pulsating red glow at its center produced three rays: two pointed eastward, and one westward.


During the course of January, at night over most areas of Russia numerous witnesses observed "fiery pillars," similar to those sighted in 1111, that extended from the ground toward the sky Some people also sighted a "heavenly arc." Yet others saw horse-like flying entities, equipped with "lanterns."


Three objects appeared in the sky on June 14, 1403. They were "sun-like," and they emitted blue, green, and crimson rays. They formed a pattern that was something "like an arc." The last object was cross-like, great in size, and it appeared to remain, pulsating, at the heart of the moon. It hovered there for over an hour before disappearing.


A giant bright, spherical object flew over St. Petersburg on July 30, 1880. The UFO was accompanied by two identical craft, only smaller in size. The flight of the UFOs was noiseless, and they were observed over the city for three minutes.