Original Drawings of UFO Sightings in the Soviet Union

Seven original drawings documenting a series of UFO sightings in the Soviet Union.

[St. Petersburg, 1990]. Seven gouache drawings with elements of collage, measuring 12.5 × 11 cm to 27.5 × 11 cm., depicting unusual flying objects. With accompanying explanatory note handwritten in blue ink. A signature in blue ink on one of the drawings attributes them to one Petrov, with the date 21.03.90. Very good.

A series of drawings depicting the flight of an unidentified object, created as part of UFO data-gathering by amateurs common in the late Soviet period. The accompanying notes indicate that the depicted “unidentified objects” were seen in the vicinity of Pushkin (a town just south of St. Petersburg), and flew in the direction of Pulkovo Airport in St. Petersburg, emitting large orange clouds. The notes describe the object as shaped like a tadpole “with large orange head and an orange tail.” The notes also mention the strange trajectory of the object, which was able to make a 90° turn. The object is further described as changing shape, apparently splitting into two in mid-flight. The serialized drawings carefully depict the trajectory, shape, and direction changes.

The study of intelligent non-human life in space was intermittently encouraged, censored and classified by the Soviet state. Open lectures on the topic were offered by the astronomer and physicist Iurii Zigel’ at the Moscow planetarium as early as 1947, followed by the lectures of Iurii Fomin in 1957-1960. This openness alternated with aggressive debunking campaigns published by the central newspaper “Pravda” disputing the UFO myth in 1961. In 1967 Zigel’ was allowed to appear on national television to solicit observations of “unidentified aerial phenomena” from the viewers for scientific analysis. His project was terminated with directives from the State in 1968, followed by another set of attacks in the media. The topic nevertheless captured the popular imagination, pushing underground all manner of information gathering of the sightings of “unidentified phenomena.” Unofficial UFO study groups appeared across the Soviet space, in Moscow, Yaroslavl, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Kharkov etc. leading to the flourishing of UFO samizdat in the 1970s and 1980s. The topic was finally de-classified in 1989. These drawings, apparently made in 1990, capture the final period of this citizen driven data-gathering in the Soviet period.

Book ID: 51395