USO Research In the Soviet Union and Russia
By Paul Stonehill, Copyright 2009
The Russian Ufology Research Center (Encino, California, USA)
Author of The Soviet UFO Files (Quadrillion Publishing, 1998).
Co-author, with Philip Mantle of Mysterious Sky: Soviet UFO Phenomenon (2006, 2007, 2009)
(An abbreviated article)
(USO = unidentified submersible object)
The ‘swimmers’ of 1982
The secret files of the Soviet Navy contain much valuable information about UFO and USO sightings. Soviet military researchers had been quite thorough. The files have been largely inaccessible, even after the fall of the USSR. But I was able to collect some interesting information through the years of research, and help of my colleagues in the former Soviet Union, modern Russia, Ukraine, and other newly independent countries.
In the summer of 1982 Mark Shteynberg (along with Lt. Colonel Gennady Zverev) were conducting periodic training of the reconnaissance divers (‘frogmen’) of the Turkestan and Central Asian military regions. The training exercises had been taking place at the Issik Kul Lake, a deep water lake in the Transiliysk Ala Tau area.
Quite unexpectedly, the officers were paid a visit by a very important official, Major-General V. Demyanko, Commander of the Military Diver Service of the Engineer Forces of the Ministry of Defense, USSR. He arrived to inform the local officers of an extraordinary event that had occurred during similar training exercises in the Trans-Baikal and West Siberian military regions. There, during their military training dives, the frogmen had encountered mysterious underwater ‘swimmers’, very human-like, but huge in size (almost three meters in height!)
The swimmers were clad in tight-fitting silvery suits, despite icy-cold water temperatures. At the depth of fifty meters, these ‘swimmers’ had neither scuba diving equipment (aqualungs), nor any other equipment… only sphere-like helmets concealing their heads.
Well, the local military commander (quite alarmed by such encounters) decided to capture one of the creatures. With that purpose in mind, a special group of seven divers, under the command of an officer, had been dispatched.
As the frogmen tried to cover the creature with a net, the entire group was thrown out of the deep waters to the surface by some powerful force. Now, because autonomous equipment of the frogmen does not allow surfacing from such depths without strict adherence to the process of decompression stops, all of the members of the ill-fated expedition were stricken by aeroembolism, or the Caisson disease. The only remedial treatment available consisted of an immediate confinement under decompression conditions in a pressure chamber. They had several such pressure chambers in the military region, but only one in working condition. It could contain no more than two persons.
Hence, local CO had forced four frogmen into the chamber. As a result, three of them (including the leader of the group) perished, and the rest became invalids - terrible consequences caused by the usual Soviet military bungling.
The Major-General rushed to the Issik Kul to warn the local military against similar ‘devil-may-care’ actions. Although the Issik Kul Lake is shallower than the Baikal Lake, the depth of the former was sufficient to contain similar mysterious creatures. Did the major-general know something that Officer Shteynberg did not?
A short time later, the staff headquarters of the Turkmenistan military region had received an order from the Commander-in-Chief of the Land Forces. The order consisted of detailed analysis of the Baikal Lake events and reprimands. It was supplemented by an information bulletin from the headquarters of the Engineer Forces of the Ministry of Defense, USSR. The bulletin listed numerous deepwater lakes where there had been registered sightings of anomalous phenomena: appearances of underwater creatures analogous to the Baikal type, descent and surfacing of giant discs and spheres, powerful luminescence emanating from the deep, etc.
Such documents, without exception, were highly classified and “for the eyes" of a very limited circle of military officers. The purpose for such documents was "to prevent unnecessary encounters...."
The territory under the military unit jurisdiction where Shteynberg served had an anomalous water reservoir, the Sarez Lake (in the Pamir area). It was roughly a kilometer and a half deep. Sarez is visible to those stationed at a ‘tracking point’ in the Pamir Mountains (the ‘tracking’ is of American SDI satellites by Soviets). Super-powerful instruments, equipment and devices of the Soviet military sub-unit (that had been doing the actual ‘tracking’) had repeatedly registered submersion into Sarez of disc-like objects, their surfacing and subsequent lift-off.
The files of the Russian Ufology Research Center contain much more information about Russian underwater sightings, including statements of Navy officers and intelligence operatives. It is safe to conclude that the Soviets (before 1991), and the Russians (now) are preoccupied with the strange and sinister creatures lurking in their waters.
Submarines and USOs
V.V. Krapiva, a researcher and writer who resides in Ukraine, attended numerous lectures presented by veteran officers of Soviet nuclear-powered submarines. They had served in the Soviet North, aboard secret naval installations and bases. The lectures sometimes veered off the planned presentations, and many spellbinding tales were told. For instance, episodes when Soviet sonar-operators (military hydro-acoustics technicians) were ‘hearing’ (at great depths) strange ‘targets’. Their submarines were actually being chased by other ‘submarines’. The pursuers changed their speed at will - speeds that were much faster than any other similar vessel in the world at that time. Lieutenant-Commander Oleg Sokolov confidentially informed the students that while he was on duty during his submarine's navigation, he had observed through a periscope an ascent of some strange object through the water. He was not able to identify it, because he viewed it through the optical system of the periscope. This underwater ‘take off’ took place in the early 1960's.
Years ago V.V. Krapiva met with Professor Korsakov of the Odessa University. Professor Korsakov told him of a conversation he had with a friend of his, a Soviet Navy officer who had served at the Sevastopol Naval base. Back in the 1950's this officer personally sighted a UFO. The object ascended from behind a battle cruiser. The officer was under the impression that the object surfaced from the depths of the Black Sea. Professor Korsakov has a photograph of the object.
In August 1965, a crew of the steamship RADUGA, while navigating in the Red Sea, observed an unusual phenomenon. At about two miles away, a fiery sphere dashed out from under the water and hovered over the surface of the sea, illuminating it. The sphere was sixty meters in diameter, and it hovered above the sea at an altitude of 150 meters. A gigantic pillar of water ascended upwards, as the sphere emerged from the sea, and collapsed some moments later.
In December 1977, not far from the Novy Georgy Island, the crew of the fishing trawler VASILY KISELEV also observed something quite extraordinary. Rising vertically from under the water was a doughnut-shaped object. Its diameter was between 300 and 500 meters. It hovered at the altitude of four to five kilometers. The trawler's radar station was immediately rendered inoperative. The object hovered over the area for three hours, and then disappeared instantly. The testimony of Alexander G. Globa, a seaman from GORI, a Soviet tanker, was published in Zagadki Sfinksa magazine (Issue # 3, 1992), Odessa.
In June of 1984, GORI was in the Mediterranean, twenty nautical miles from the Straight of Gibraltar. At 16:00, Globa was on duty. With him was Second-in-Command S. Bolotov. They were standing watch at the left bridge extension wing, when both men observed a strange polychromatic object. When the object was astern, it stopped suddenly. S. Bolotov was agog, shaking his binoculars and shouting, "It is a flying saucer, a real saucer; my God, hurry, hurry, look!" Globa looked through his own binoculars and saw, at a distance over the stern, a flattened- out looking object (it did remind him of an upside-down frying pan). The UFO was gleaming with a grayish metallic shine. The lower portion of the craft had a precise round shape, its diameter no more than twenty meters. Around the lower portion of it, Globa also observed ‘waves’ of protuberances on the outside plating. The base of the object's body consisted of two semi-discs, the smaller being on top; they slowly revolved in opposing directions. At the circumference of the lower disc, Globa saw numerous shining, bright, bead-like lights. The seaman's attention was centered on the bottom portion of the UFO. It looked as if it was completely even and smooth, its color that of a yolk and in the middle of it, Globa discerned a round, nucleus-like stain. At the edge of the UFO's bottom, which was easily visible, was something that looked like a pipe. It glowed with an unnaturally bright rosy color, like a neon lamp. The top of the middle disc was crowned by a triangular-shaped something. It seemed that it moved in the same direction as the lower disc, but at a much slower pace.
Suddenly the UFO jumped up several times, as if moved by an invisible wave. Many lights illuminated its bottom portion. The crew of GORI tried to attract the object's attention using a signal projector. By that time, Captain Sokolovky was on the desk with his men. He and his Second-in-Command were watching the object intensely. However, the UFO's attention was distracted by another ship, approaching at the port side. It was an Arab dry cargo ship, on its way to Greece. The Arabs confirmed that the object hovered over their ship. A minute and a half later the object changed its flight's trajectory, listed to the right, gained speed and ascended rapidly. The Soviet seamen observed that when it rose through the clouds, appearing and disappearing again, it would occasional shine in the sun's rays. The craft then flared up, like a spark, and was gone instantly.
History of the research
Vladimir Georgiyevich Ajaja, nowadays is a prominent personality in the history of Russian UFO research. But he was not always a UFO researcher, and when he became a very active one (as well as an avid lecturer), he earned the ire of the Communist Party's dislike of those who study forbidden topics (and while looking for UFOs, are able to discover secret military tests and rocket launches). But, with the help of his highly placed Navy buddies, he was able to write a piece about the Bermuda Triangle for Nauka I Zhizhn, a respected Soviet scientific magazine. After all, he was a marine researcher, who, on numerous occasions, studied the depths of the Atlantic Ocean from aboard a Soviet submarine (with many features designed by him). He and his fellow crew members even observed a very unusual creature down below.
Other mainstream Soviet marine researchers would not touch such a ‘questionable’ subject. In his search for the information, two sources helped him: Charles Berlitz's book The Bermuda Triangle, that mentioned UFOs (he could find no other books in the libraries), and Vice-Admiral Y.V. Ivanov, head of the Naval Intelligence Directorate. Ajaja found out that the Naval Intelligence had long considered UFOs to be a subject of serious investigation. But his newly found conviction put him on thin ice. Ajaja's efforts to study and promote ufology made him a target of the science officialdom, and the Party functionaries. His name was smeared in the Soviet media. Ajaja's works were blacklisted. His lectures were outlawed. He was fired from several jobs, and prevented from speaking publicly. Again, his Navy buddies helped him land a job, and write about UFOs for their practical use. In his brochure ATTENTION: UFOS (the titles of articles mentioned here are translated from Russian-P.S.), he stated that the UFO wave of 1989, still in progress in 1991 when it was published, had swept away ideological and censorship barriers which were placed against ufology in the USSR. But because of the years of silence, the country has been rendered totally unprepared for UFO phenomena. So he helped organize the SOYUZUFOTSENTR in 1990 (the very first official and public Soviet UFO research organization) to promote scientific study of UFO phenomena. It broke away from its cradle, the Soviet Academy of Sciences, because, as were numerous other people, Ajaja was convinced that those responsible for the UFO research within the Academy actually prevented true and unbiased research. This was later confirmed, when the story of the SETKA (secret Soviet UFO research programs, combining academic and military research) became public, albeit missing some important but still-classified information.
A.Gorbovsky, a Soviet historian and noted writer, now residing in the United Kingdom, published a book titled Enigmas of Ancient History in the early 1970's USSR. For many people in the Soviet Union this book was an introduction to the forbidden world of ufology, paleoufology, paleocontact (a Russian term for the ancient astronaut hypothesis), and mysteries of ancient history. In the book, Gorbovsky mentioned an incident that took place in the ancient Mediterranean where people observed a strange underwater vehicle surfacing at high speed. The object ejected itself from the water, and shortly thereafter disappeared.
B. Borovikov hunted Black Sea sharks for many years. Then something happened that put an end to his hobby. Diving in the Anapa area, he descended to the depth of eight meters. He saw giant beings rising up from below. They were milky-white, but with humanoid faces, and something like fish tails. The being ahead of its companions noticed Borovikov, and stopped. It had giant bulging eyes, as if in some vague glasses. The other two joined it. The first one waved her hand - it was definitely a hand with membranes - towards the diver. All of them approached the diver, and stopped at a short distance. Then they turned around, and swam away. Borovikov's experience was published in his book XX vek: khronika neobjasnimogo (Moscow, 1996).
D. Povaliyayev was hang-gliding over Kavgolov (Leningrad area) in the early 1990's. There are lakes, and in one of them the skydiver noticed three giant ‘fish’. He descended, and was able to discern ‘swimmers’ in silvery costumes. He mentioned the episode in his book Letuchi Gollandets (1995). There have been many UFO sightings in the area.
The 2009 update
Recently, Western media reported that Russian Navy’s USO files have been declassified. Alas, this is not the case. No declassification of Soviet (or Russian) Navy files has occurred this year. There have been special top secret research programs of the kvakeri phenomenon in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was stopped abruptly, after the phenomenon ceased to ‘bother’ Soviet ships on special missions in the Atlantic Ocean. The findings of the special research groups are classified. More about it in my FATE article (http://fatemag.com/cgi-bin/search/search.pl?q=Kvakeri&showurl=http%3A%2F%2Ffatemag.com%2Fissues%2F2000s%2F2004-06.html).
Other than that, the Soviet Navy had been involved in the SETKA research program, as part of the Armed Forces; this is covered in Mysterious Sky: Soviet UFO Phenomenon (as well as the incidents when Soviet seamen encountered UFOs and USOs).
Philip Mantle and I also published an article about the program in 2008:
I do not believe that in the present political climate in Russia, anything related to the Navy intelligence and counterintelligence files would be declassified. Mr. Ajaja has done much to promote UFO/USO research, and he was guided by his Navy colleagues and employers to do so back in the 1970s. He gave a number of interviews to Russian media and has published books since 1991, but no information regarding any pending opening of the secret files has come from him or his colleagues.
After the publication of my articles in Russian Pravda newspaper (2008), I would not be surprised that the Russians would need to respond.
The ‘swimmers’ episode (mentioned in the ‘New Russian Declassified USO Files’ story of 2009) was reported by M. Shteynberg in 1992 in Anomaliya magazine (and further researched and corroborated by me through the years). Most likely that it was picked up from my articles, published in Russian and English years ago (or from my Pravda article). But no files have been declassified; for Russia is justifiably proud of its Navy and guards its secrets very well. Philip Mantle and I were able to pick up some fascinating reports through intensive research of open sources, in various parts of the world and the former Soviet Union; this information is presented in our book (now available in English, German, and Portuguese, and soon to be published in Spanish).
However, something definitely bothers the Russians about the deep waters of Lake Baikal, hence their recent expeditions (Vladimir Putin went down, in a submersible craft, to the bottom of the mysterious lake as well). At the same time, they (or someone else…) seem to be trying (through their media) to pretend they are releasing new information. Alas, this is not so. But stay tuned for new announcements from them (and possibly other nations who study oceans, seas, and lakes of our planet) about USOs. As we explore the oceans and other bodies of water ever more precisely and diligently, those mysterious USOs will encounter us and vice versa. Pay special attention to news from Mariana Trench and Java Trench; and the Arctic Ocean.