UFO Sightings in Soviet Russia

Demonstratsionnye graficheskie materialy s opisaniem. Nabliudeniia raznykh form NLO nad SSSR [Demonstrational graphic materials with descriptions. The observations of various forms of UFO over USSR].

Kharkov: self-published, [1991]. Original card portfolio with four leaves of typescript to rectos only, with three hand-drawn illustrations in color. Stamp of the Ukrainan Ufological Association to every leaf. Very good.

A one-of-a-kind collection of hand-drawn depictions of UFO sightings, assembled by the short-lived Ukrainian Ufological Association (UUA), active in 1991-1993. The drawings depict three sightings described during the Soviet period in 1975-1981 in locations ranging from Alagez mountain range (Armenia) to Kolpino village in the Moscow region. The UUA was the first legal Ukrainian ufological institution after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, holding numerous events with these materials marked as: “intended for display during ufological conferences, meetings, gatherings and informational sessions”. The association also published a newspaper “Anomal’nye iavleniia” (Abnormal phenomena), which reported on the findings of the association. Co-founded by the Ukrainian astronomer and mathematician Aleksei Arkhipov (b.1959) today known as the primary Ukrainian specialist in cosmic anomalies. A researcher at the Radioastronomy division at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Arkhipov authored over one hundred articles on the subject of radio transmission in space. He has been active in the international ufological community since 1987, and defended a dissertation on the potential habitability of the moon in 1998.

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, likely made after 1989, capture the final period of this citizen driven data-gathering in the Soviet period.

Book ID: 51396