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It was a chilly morning on April 5th, 1975, the air rippled with tension at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a space complex in modern day Kazakhstan aboard the Soyuz seven CTY rocket, Soviet cosmonauts Vasily Lazarov and ILLIAC mcca off, strapped into their seats and prepared for blast off.


Their mission was to dock with a salute for Orbital Space Station and replace its exhausted crew.


Both were highly trained airmen and no strangers to outer space. In 1973, Lozar IV and Makarov had spent two days orbiting the Earth.


Still, they knew they were risking their lives with each new mission outside, maintenance crews evacuated the tarmac in anticipation of the launch some distance away. Lieutenant Colonel V. Elian leaned against his car and rubbed his hands together for warmth. He squinted up at the rocket, temporarily blinded by the glare of the metal. But when his eyes adjusted, he realized he was staring at so much more.


Floating above the spaceship was an aircraft unlike anything he'd ever seen. It was shaped like a cross and was partially transparent. Whatever it was, it seemed to be watching them. He pointed it out to his chauffeur, wondering if he had time to warn mission control. But it was too late that the countdown had already begun at the.


Welcome to Conspiracy Theories, a Spotify original from cast. Every Wednesday, we dig into the complicated stories behind the world's most controversial events and search for the truth. Carter Roy. And I'm Molly Brandenberg.


And neither of us are conspiracy theorists, but we are open minded, skeptical and curious. Don't get us wrong.


Sometimes the official version is the truth, but sometimes it's not. You can find episodes of conspiracy theories and all other Spotify originals from Parkhurst for free on Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts.


This is our first episode on unidentified aerial phenomena in the former Soviet Union. For decades, stories of UFOs within the USSR were strictly classified. But with the collapse of America's adversary in the 1990s, many of these mysterious tales have come to light.


This episode, we'll hear about the alleged alien encounters that shocked and fascinated the Soviet government. We'll also learn about their attempts to cover up these incidents, as documented by UFOlogists researchers dedicated to unidentified flying objects. Next time, we'll discuss some conspiracy theories surrounding the events, like the connection between the Soviet government and the New Mexico Roswell crash. We'll also explore the possibility that UFOs were a cover story for failed Russian aeronautics experiments. And finally, the idea that the USSR may have reverse engineered alien spacecrafts to create a terrifying arsenal of super weapons.


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It helps keep an eye on their well-being when you can't be their terms and conditions apply. Learn more about Symfony at CVS Dotcom Symphony or find it at your nearest CVS health hub. This episode is brought to you by wild turkey, one on one bourbon, there's a time and a place to be bold, but when something works, why change it? That's why wild turkey is still made with the same recipe as in 1940 to age longer for more character with a high rye content for spicy flavor.


While Turkey is the perfect for four year old fashioned or shall we say bold fashion, wild turkey one on one real bourbon, no apologies for on drizzly dotcom. Never compromise. Drink responsibly. Wild Turkey, Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey fifty point five percent. Alcohol volume one and one proof copy. Right. Twenty twenty one. Campari America. New York. New York. On April 5th, 1975, everything seemed to be going off without a hitch at the Baikonur Cosmodrome over at Mission Control, technicians triple check their calculations.


Every system from the booster rockets to the navigation was precisely calibrated. If anyone was off by a decimal point, it could cost billions of dollars, not to mention lives.


But no one warned them about the hovering UFO before they gave the launch signal. With an explosion of energy, the rocket lifted off the ground and raced into the atmosphere. Two minutes into the flight, Commander Lazareff jettisoned the first stage of the rocket.


Rockets like Soyuz contains several engines that the crew ditched in phases. Once the fuel in one stage was exhausted, the cosmonauts separated it from the rest of the ship to lighten the load. But when Lazareff attempted to jettison the second engine, it failed to disengage.


And when they fired the third engine, it ripped the still attached second stage off the ship entirely creating a shockwave, the rocket shook violently and veered off course.


Alarms blared on the control panel.


The cosmonauts couldn't salvage the flight. The emergency abort sequence initiated and Lazareff and Makarios descent module broke away from the ship like a three ton bullet. They plummeted from the sky.


Fortunately, the modules parachutes deployed in time to save the crew. They crashed down in Altay, a snowy enclave close to the Sino Soviet border. Their escape pod tumbled down the side of a mountain, skidding to a stop at the edge of a cliff.


Lazarov and Makarov activated their distress beacon, then pitched camp using their emergency survival kit. But that night they were reportedly roused from sleep by a piercing whistle.


In the sky above, a bright violet light seemed to hover, they couldn't make out its shape or how far away it was, then the object vanished.


According to some reports, when the cosmonauts were rescued the following day, they told their superiors what they saw, but they were sworn to secrecy. Information about the mission, as well as data from the flight recorder, was immediately classified as top secret.


However, in 1996, Makarov allegedly came clean to several European journalists. He stated unequivocally that he had encountered a UFO that early April morning. In fact, he sensed that the ship even wanted to make contact.


This is hardly the first, let alone the strangest, story to come out of Russia. In fact, there are UFO sightings that go back centuries. But one of the most famous extraterrestrial encounters may have been the Tunguska event.


At seven seventeen a.m. on June 30th, 1968, a fireball streaked across the Russian sky and detonated over the Siberian wilderness.


The explosion released energy over 180 times greater than the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.


The blast leveled more than 800 square miles of forest and by some estimates, 80 million trees. One witness described the event as follows. Quote, The sky was split in two and high above the forest. The whole northern part of the sky appeared covered with fire. At that moment, there was a bang in the sky and a mighty crash. The crash was followed by a noise like stones falling from the sky or guns firing. The earth trembled and, quote, hundreds of miles away.


People heard the boom and saw fiery smoke in the distance, according to some researchers. The explosions and charged particles into the air, triggering a magnetic storm. If such a thing happened today, it could disrupt millions of electronics and cause widespread blackouts.


The Avonex local tribe of indigenous hunter gatherers believed the fireball was sent by a wrathful God to destroy the world.


Western newspapers thought it was a volcanic eruption, but the Russian empire wasn't all that interested.


At the time, the monarchy was under constant threat of revolution. Investigating a possible meteor strike in the middle of nowhere wasn't exactly a priority.


A decade later, Imperial Russia was overthrown by communist revolutionaries. After several years of brutal civil war, they created a new government known as the United Soviet Socialist Republics, where the USSR, a mineralogist named Leonid Khalik, was sympathetic to the new cause.


He'd even spent time in prison for revolutionary activities. And in Soviet era politics, loyalty to the Communist Party was valued above all else.


By 1921, Khalik was the chief curator for the meteorite collection of the St. Petersburg Mineralogical Museum, and when he learned about the Tunguska event, he knew he had to get a sample.


In March of 1927, Coolac assembled a team and trekked into the Siberian wilderness, they hired one of the indigenous a people as their guide. And on April 13th, they were the first explorers to ever reach the blast area while they found flattened trees around the perimeter, pointing away from a central location when they got to the middle. There was nothing but scorched trees still standing. In fact, there was no massive crater where the object had landed. Confused colleague scoured the area looking for meteorite fragments, but all he found were handfuls of pebbles.


He wondered how could something so big hit the earth and leave no physical evidence behind?


Kalik went home beaten but not defeated. He returned the next year with a magnetometer, searching for magnetic rocks, but still no luck. He revisited the site again 11 years later in 1939, but he didn't know that would be his last trip while he searched in vain for space rocks. The world trembled on the edge of war. Joseph Stalin, the iron fisted autocrat, signed a non-aggression pact with Adolf Hitler. But on June 22nd, 1941, Hitler broke that agreement and invaded Soviet Russia.


Colleague volunteered for the front lines, but was later captured by the Germans and died in a Nazi prison camp in 1942. For all his efforts to discover the Tunguska meteor. He passed away no closer to the truth.


Over the course of five decades after the 1998 incident, many scientists tried to explain why no meteor fragments survived the impact it took until 1958 for a real update when Soviet scientists collected samples from the blast site within them, where trace amounts of magnetic rock, which they believed came from space.


It wasn't a smoking gun, but this discovery led to the official story that's most widely accepted today. In short, a meteor roughly 100 yards in diameter exploded before it hit the ground. The high temperatures vaporized the rock completely, which could explain why no meteorites were found.


There were plenty of other theories, such as the blast came from a comet or a ball of dark matter. The truth is, no one really knows what happened in 1988. But the mysterious circumstances led some to suggest that the two Gasca event was caused by something unnatural, something alien. Back during World War Two, word reached Soviet high command that soldiers were encountering otherworldly adversaries frequently, for example. On August 26, 1943, at the end of a brutal counteroffensive near Kursk, USSR Lieutenant Gennady Zyuganov saw a strange object flying overhead.


According to him, it looked like a dark blue banana with an orange compartment at its center. He said it moved as if the craft were breathing. Several Soviet colonels testified they'd seen it, too.


These stories captivated Stalin, as well as his terrifying henchmen. Lavrentyev Barria Barria was the head of the Soviet Secret Police, the NKVD, which eventually became the feared KGB in 1954.


Perhaps the real reason for their interest, though, was that they wanted alien technology for themselves. Stalin had seen the world shudder at the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. He wanted to ensure the same fate wouldn't befall the USSR and in order to achieve that, they needed nukes of their own.


In 1946, Barria saw an unusual way to make that happen. A Soviet engineer named Alexander Kazantsev alleged that the Tunguska meteor could only have been caused by a nuclear explosion. And since this happened decades before the creation of atomic weapons, the best explanation was that a nuclear powered spaceship had crashed at the site.


Barria allegedly felt Kazantsev story could be valid after all. Some witnesses claim to have seen the fiery meteor change directions mid-air. He wondered if any pieces of the ship survived and if so, it was curious about what kind of weapons it might have on board. Coming up, the Soviet Union looks to exploit their alien visitors.


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After World War Two, the Soviet Union found itself in a nuclear arms race against the United States. But the USSR was at a technological disadvantage and they were constantly looking for an edge.


In the summer of 1949, Lavrentyev Barria, the head of the Soviet secret police, is said to have called a meeting there. He addressed the possibility that a nuclear powered spaceship had crashed in Tunguska.


With Stalin's blessing, he dispatched an expedition to search for wreckage, according to the book Russia's Roswell Incident by Ufologist, Philip Mantlo and Paul Stonehill.


This is the Soviets first official investigation into UFOs.


Barrier's team of military experts apparently took aerial photos of the blast site and analyzed meteorological data from the year of the event. They also searched for radiation, but seemingly found none. And as far as we know, they didn't locate any alien weapons either.


Still, it's clear that the government was taking the threat of UFOs seriously, they had to because starting in the late 1940s, many UFO sightings happened near highly sensitive military bases and airfields. And Close Encounters didn't often end well, according to Mantlo and Stonehill.


In June 1953, a Soviet dissident named Benjamin Dodgin was in exile in Siberia, not far from the Tunguska blast zone. One night was particularly humid with clear skies. Dogen was returning to his hut when he heard a high pitched whine. To his astonishment, an enormous cylinder was hovering above him. It looked like a floating silver cigar. At first, Dogen thought it was a blimp. But as it drew closer, he saw that it was open as if someone had sliced off the back end.


Then the object rotated slowly, spitting out metal discs, which quickly flew away, wanting to document what he saw. Dodgin began sketching them immediately.


When the craft returned the next evening, Dogen was ready with a camera. He snapped numerous photos of the cylinder and its disks, which he estimated were about 80 feet wide.


The craft returned night after night. Dogen even tried to get closer, but when he did, he grew violently ill. It was as if his joints were being starved by some unseen force.


Soon, in early July, the secret police paid dodgin a visit. They confiscated his camera and interrogated him for hours. He wondered if the craft was a secret military project he wasn't supposed to know about. But the military was just as spooked as he was. The object had apparently interfered with their radar and emitted dangerous amounts of radiation. So on August 7th, 1953, the Soviets decided to do something about it.


They allegedly dispatched two fighter jets to attack the ship, but their missiles exploded over the forest and the two planes disappeared. DOGEN Remember the night it happened? He heard a tremendous noise and fainted. When he woke, the forest was bathed in green light that he said took a month to fade.


The Soviets were convinced that UFOs were a threat to national security, but their official response was clouded in secrecy. Even now, we know precious little about what they did next.


But according to Mantlo and Stonehill, former Soviet scientist Sergei Skvortsov confirmed that the Defense Ministry created a special research group called Lotos in the 1960s. Supposedly, it was tasked with interviewing witnesses and gathering data on all reported UFO sightings within the USSR.


It was rumored that Lotos had secret laboratories where captured alien technology was being reverse engineered, and everyone who sent a report to Lotus had to swear an oath of secrecy. For this reason, the full extent of their research remains unknown.


Well, the Russian military studied UFOs intently. The KGB tried to hide the existence of extraterrestrial life. As far as free speech was concerned, the USSR was extremely restrictive. One of the main functions of the secret police was to stamp out dissent.


This meant that every media broadcast academic paper and letter home could be carefully screened for so-called harmful contents. Any statement perceived as unpatriotic could fall into this category and was subject to immediate censorship.


According to Ufologist Jack Vallet, discussions of UFOs were included in that ban.


Soviet politicians were primarily worried that they could be part of a CIA disinformation campaign tying into the Cold War.


Paranoia was the belief amongst Soviet leaders that America wanted to sow panic amongst its citizens. They reportedly believe some of the sightings may have been hoaxes orchestrated by the CIA to do exactly that.


As a result, the state run media generally only published books that were skeptical of UFOs. Despite this climate, though, in the late 1950s, a scientist named Yuri Fermín became famous for his research on this unexplainable phenomena.


For me, it was one of the USSR s first ufologists while giving engineering lectures to military personnel. He was a.


To hear how many had their own stories about UFO encounters so for me and collected these anecdotes and shared them in his work, in response, the Soviet Academy of Sciences began a campaign to publicly discredit Fomin as the USSR s main academic body. Its distinguished scientists were unshakably loyal to the communist government, according to Vallet.


In January 1961, the Academy published an article in the official newspaper called Pravda, accusing Fermín of spreading falsehoods for means World began to topple. He was reportedly blacklisted in academic circles as membership in professional societies was revoked and his reputation was eventually destroyed.


It was a clear message for anyone looking to challenge the government's official stance on UFOs.


Yet despite these efforts, interest in UFOs continued to spread. Ballay writes that in February 1967, several prominent ufologists created a public committee to study the phenomena. It was led by Major General Porphyry, star of a veteran Air Force commander and supported by more than 400 well-known scientists. At first, it seemed like the information blackout would cease.


Still, of even reportedly convinced the aviation minister to help, the minister ordered all Air Force UFO reports to be delivered to his desk. Within 48 hours, he was flooded with thousands of documents.


Almost immediately, the Ministry of Defense swept in and classified everything. The committee was dissolved and their mission was denounced.


Suddenly, these prominent scientists and officials reversed course. They began publishing articles that claimed no UFOs had ever appeared in the USSR, given how quickly all this unfolded. It's possible the committee was actually a ruse, a way to bring UFOs into the open so they could be officially discredited. Either way, the government's harsh reaction to the committee made it clear public discussion of UFOs would not be tolerated.


Defying all odds, the number of reports kept increasing, and many of those witnesses were senior military officials.


In August 1967, a fighter pilot named Lev Yadkin claimed to have nearly crashed his plane after a collision with an unidentified craft. Around that time, the supreme commander of the Soviet air defenses reportedly issued a directive. No pilot was to engage with UFOs under any circumstance.


Try as they might. The establishment couldn't stop these events. Mysterious clouds, floating disks, ominous spheres. There were too many to ignore. Colonel Marina Popovic, a Soviet Air Force test pilot, acknowledged that her government knew of at least 14000 sightings. However, it took a very public event in the city of Petrozavodsk to kick the Soviet bureaucracy into gear.


In the early hours of September 20th, 1977, the watch officer on a Soviet nuclear submarine saw a bright, fast moving light in the sky, then the object change shape in front of him, transforming from a ribbon into a cylinder.


The UFO streaked past him steering towards the coastal city of Petrozavodsk.


From his vantage point, he saw a few spherical objects break away from the main body of the craft.


At three a.m., an engineer also allegedly reported seeing a glowing sphere exit a blimp like structure. The ship touched down in the forest, where more sightings were reported from a nearby village. But at four a.m., residents of Petrozavodsk observed an even stranger phenomenon.


Witnesses describe seeing an object resembling a luminescent jellyfish flying over the city's main avenue. It slowed to a halt and a pulsating light rain down from its belly.


People throughout the city saw beams of light descend over buildings and Lake Onaga. Then the floating jellyfish turned into a disc and flew away.


Sightings continued that morning, this time several hundred miles away over Finland. A photo allegedly taken there shows a bright oval object emitting tentacle like rays of light.


Residents reportedly claim the beams melted holes in their windows. People on the roads lost control of their vehicles, and many recalled the smell of ozone in the air.


By the following week, the international press claimed this was the result of a satellite launch, an explanation that was repeated numerous times by government officials and Western journalists, although it wouldn't be the first time a secret launch was mistaken for a UFO on December 3rd, 1967, the exhaust plumes from the Cosmos 194 orbital satellite were believed to be the beams of an alien craft. So maybe the Petrozavodsk phenomenon really was similar. Soviet authorities were likely more inclined to have the public believe it was a UFO than a secret spy satellite.


But if that's true, it doesn't explain why the government went to such lengths to study the incident later. In fact, UFOlogists say that the Petrozavodsk event was so important that it convinced the Soviet Academy of Sciences to spearhead their own special agency on UFOs created in 1978.


This alleged new organization was called Setka. It had two branches, Setka and was the civilian arm dedicated to collecting data on, quote, atmospheric phenomena. However, according to UFOlogists Mantlo and Stonehill, its real mission was to debunk UFO sightings. The other arm, called Setka M0 was much more sinister. This department was run by the military, like the alleged Lotos group. Their goal was to study UFOs and evaluate their threat to national security. If possible, they'd even develop new weapons using alien technology.


Unlike Lotos, Setka, M0 was said to contain experts from all different branches of government.


This inter-agency program was reportedly spearheaded by Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB. In 1978, Andropov told four million Russian soldiers to be on high alert for a bizarre aerial phenomena. Although most incidents could be explained, he may have suspected that a few were genuine contact with extraterrestrial life.


Andropov was likely terrified of the implications alien technology could have on a Cold War, meaning what might happen should it fall into American hands?


He ordered all Soviet UFO reports to be classified, but the presence of alien life was too big of a secret to keep forever.


Coming up, the Soviet press admits the existence of UFOs. This episode is brought to you by CVS Health, are you worried about mom or dad falling? The Symphony Medical Alert System by CVS Health is designed to help make them safer at home. Symphony works with both voice activation or a care about users can opt to wear along with smart sensors for coverage around the home. With twenty four seven emergency response and a streamlined app, you can monitor your loved ones well-being for enhanced peace of mind.


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Never compromise. Drink responsibly. Wild Turkey, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey fifty point five percent Alcohol Volume one on one proof copyright twenty twenty one. Campari America. New York. New York. Now back to the story on October 18th, 1978, one year after the UFO sightings in the city of Petrozavodsk, the USSR allegedly created an agency called Setka to study this unexplained phenomena.


There's still a lot we don't know about Setka. And truth be told, it's hard to trust what we do know. However, we're pretty certain many of the Soviet Union's top generals and scientists were involved.


A man known as Colonel Alexander Plock seen was one of the few who've come forward with information about the program. He says he was a geophysicist who up until 1991 supervised a top secret set collab based out of the research institute known cryptically as T.S. and I 22.


According to Pluck seen his laboratory created specialized equipment to estimate the size, density and speed of UFOs. They found that most anomalous events could be explained by natural phenomena such as unusual solar radiation. However, around 20 percent remained a mystery.


Hochstein didn't seem to believe those incidents had extraterrestrial origins, but he did confirm how invested the USSR was in the UFO problem. And even though he never saw proof of alien life, his lab wasn't the only one looking for it.


Sergei Korolyov, known as the father of Soviet space science, allegedly once made a reference to a, quote, flying saucers research laboratory that predated Setka over the years, Ufologist have worked hard to determine its location, and they believe it may be near what is now the border of Russia and Kazakhstan. It's situated conveniently near a flight testing center. Supposedly, the laboratories main focus was on propulsion and antigravity, and many have speculated that their research provided a bounty of new technologies.


Some of those inventions may have even come from captured alien spacecraft. Whether that's true or not, it's clear that the Soviets were spending a lot of money on UFO related studies and expending great effort to keep it a secret. But some incidents were just too big to hide.


At 8:00 p.m. on January 29th, 1986, dozens witnessed a UFO in what was later dubbed the Russian Roswell. The event took place in a small mining town known as Dounia Gorske, about 20 miles inland from the Sea of Japan. On the night in question, most people were likely home eating dinner when the sound of someone shouting drew them outside a glowing red sphere flew silently in the direction of a large hill.


When it reached the top, the object jerked upwards as if yanked by an invisible string. Then, without warning, it crashed into the mountain.


It barely made a sound when it hit, but witnesses said the downed craft burned for over an hour.


Word of the event reached Ufologist Valery Diversional nhé, who arrived three days later. There wasn't much left in the smoky ruins, but what he did find was rather odd.


Among the scorched trees were small iron balls and shreds of metallic mesh. Pollari also noted that being close to the crash site caused him to feel faint and dizzy, but it was worth it if O'Leary was right. He now possessed fragments of an alien spaceship.


Eight days after the first incident, witnesses reportedly saw two more spheres hovering over the crash site a year and a half later, it happened again on November 28th, 1987, shortly before midnight.


Hundreds of people saw flying objects over Dornier Gorske, as well as a dozen other nearby towns.


According to UFOlogists, Philip Mantlo and Paul Stonehill, officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs witnessed the phenomena for themselves. They explained, quote, A fiery object flying overhead in front of the fiery flame was a celestial sphere, and in the middle of the object was a red sphere.


And quote, In other locations, people saw a cigar shaped object nearly the size of a building drifting less than 200 feet above them. One woman said the craft emitted a bluish ray, illuminating the ground beneath it. The beam danced over the site of the first crash as if looking for something or someone with so many witnesses.


The Russian government had a hard time containing the narrative. Local news stations reportedly chalked it up to bizarre weather conditions. But that wasn't the only explanation floating around.


One common theory was that the crashed object from January was a military probe or a balloon of some kind. There were many examples of high altitude blimps being mistaken for UFOs. These aircraft were used for research as well as reconnaissance, and came in a variety of odd shapes and sizes.


Still, the Larry seemed convinced it was alien and he had the evidence to prove it. He sent his samples to more than a dozen research institutes for scientific analysis. One group found that the recovered metal was made of a complex alloy, a mixture of iron, manganese, chromium and other elements. When melted, they formed into unusual glass like crystals. As for the mesh, the results were far more interesting.


The netting contained microscopic fibers of carbon, gold, silver, nickel and other elements apparently not commonly found together in nature, at least on Earth, even stranger when it was heated to 28 degrees centigrade. The chemical composition changed. We're told that after melting, any traces of gold, silver and nickel simply vanished while new elements like molybdenum suddenly became detectable. This should be impossible, since the only place for new elements to appear in nature is within the fiery churn of the stars.


Even weirder, four witnesses saw one of the heated mesh samples disappear right before their eyes.


A chemist to, as part of the analysis, went so far as to state that, quote, This fine metallic webbing is undoubtedly a high technology product and not a thing of natural or terrestrial origin.


Remnants of the alleged UFO have since been sent to a number of academic labs around the world. They've become somewhat of a collector's item for alien enthusiasts. As of 2012, you could actually see some of the debris at the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Back in Soviet Russia, though, the authorities tried to minimize the public's awareness of the Downey Gorske incident, but the government's iron grip over UFO information was beginning to loosen, the 1980s were fraught with political turmoil.


The Soviet government was riddled with corruption and bureaucratic waste. It had endured a long, costly war in Afghanistan, falling oil prices and was entering a period of economic stagnation.


Even more threatening was the growing number of people who no longer believed in communist ideals like their parents.


Ever since its inception, the USSR maintained power through a mix of brutality, intimidation and propaganda. Yet these tools had grown ineffective.


Knowing this, in the late 1980s, Soviet Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev began instituting a series of democratic reforms under the guiding principle of glasnost or openness, he relaxed censorship of the press.


This meant that reporters had more freedom to publish stories about UFOs. Setka, an allegedly worked harder to discredit them, but some accounts were just too big to cover up.


Finally, in 1989, the media broke its silence. On September twenty seventh in the city of Voronezh, a group of children claimed they were threatened by aliens exiting a flying saucer. The story might not have gotten much press, except that other people had seen the saucer as well. A week prior to the event, locals had reported a huge number of UFO sightings. On the 27th, the children were playing soccer when a red sphere appeared in the sky and landed in front of them.


They told reporters that a hatch opened and tall, three eyed aliens in silver overalls exited the craft. One pointed a silver, too, but a 16 year old boy causing him to vanish. After a few minutes, the aliens flew off and the boy reappeared completely in shock.


Vladimir Lebedev, a correspondent for the official Soviet press agency known as Toss, broke the story, admitting, quote, Scientists have confirmed that an unidentified flying object recently landed in a park in the Russian city of Voronezh. They have also identified the landing site and found traces of aliens who made a short promenade around the park.


And quote, It may sound silly, but this article opened the floodgates. UFO reports came spilling out from behind the Iron Curtain. With the collapse of the USSR, some of those top secret reports also made it into the headlines. For example, the KGB had a blue folder containing sketches and eyewitness accounts of different alien encounters by both military personnel and civilians.


There was also a change in how UFOs were handled at the international level. A CIA report from May 1990 describe the forming of a joint commission to study UFOs composed of both Soviet and Chinese scientists.


According to Mantlo and Stonehill, the USSR formed a similar alliance with American authorities called the joint American Soviet Aerial Anomaly Federation as part of this federation. The Soviets immediately requested information on the famed UFO crash in Roswell, New Mexico.


In the years since, even more high ranking Soviet officials are said to have come forward to share their UFO experiences.


Although the mainstream media has tried to discredit them as kooks, many witnesses were reportedly decorated veterans who used to be skeptics.


We're certainly going to need that skepticism when we get to three of the most common conspiracy theories next time, like conspiracy theory. Number one, UFO incidents in the West, such as Roswell, were actually carefully planned hoaxes.


They were tactics and a broader disinformation campaign designed to sow confusion and panic amongst Soviet enemies.


Conspiracy theory number two. Many of the UFO sightings in the USSR were actually cover ups meant to hide embarrassing aeronautical accidents and secret military projects and conspiracy theory.


Number three, aliens really did land and the Soviets studied them in secret to develop terrifyingly advanced weaponry.


When talking about alien encounters, it's easy to dismiss them as fringe theories.


But considering how big the universe is, how can anyone be sure we're truly alone?


Thanks for tuning into conspiracy theories, we'll be back next time to explore more Soviet UFO conspiracies. You can find all episodes of conspiracy theories and all other Spotify originals from Park Cast for free on Spotify.


Until then, remember, the truth isn't always the best story.


And the official story isn't always the truth.


Conspiracy Theories is a Spotify original from Park asked. Executive producers include Max and Ron Cuddler Sound Design by Dick Schroder with production assistance by Ron Shapiro, Carly Madden and Freddie Beckley. This episode of Conspiracy Theories was written by Zander Bernstein with writing assistants by Lori Gottlieb and McKenzie. More fact checking by Onya barely and research by Bradley Klein. Conspiracy Theories Stars Molly Brandenberg and Carter Roy.