The Cold War Soviet UFO Recovery Missions

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
December 7, 2018
Last Updated
October 13, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
6 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Cover-Ups

We have dedicated many articles to UFOs incidents and conspiracies of the old Soviet Union. And we will very likely continue to do so as there is such a plethora of accounts to examine. And given that many of these were hidden away from the “prying eyes” of the West for decades during the Cold War, only in the last quarter of a century have such reports ventured out into the wider world of the UFO community. There are, very likely, many other such reports residing within long-lost government files of the sixties and seventies, just waiting for public release, or for an adventurous person to discreetly pass them on to those who will filter such reports to a wider audience, whether for money or a sense of duty to a cause.

A depiction of a UFO crash in the Soviet Union

A depiction of a UFO crash in the Soviet Union

Much like their Cold War Superpower rival, the United States, the Soviet Union had a very real interest in the UFO phenomena. They would, however, keep their interest under a much tighter vest than even the American government. They regularly informed their citizens that such UFO sightings were secret weapons tests of “the evil West and the United States”. Behind closed doors, though, even to their own people, their knowledge and general stance on UFO activity was much different. As you might imagine, then, if the several accounts of UFO crashes are credible, then it is likely the Soviet government and the feared KGB would have made efforts to retrieve and conceal such crafts. According to several accounts, that’s exactly what they did. And, it would appear, on more than one occasion.

Before we look at some of those earlier cases, check out the video below. It is from an incident in 1969, and one we will examine in detail later. It makes for Interesting viewing.

UFO Accounts From The Early 1960s

Some of the earliest accounts of recovered alien crafts in the Soviet Union [1] date back to the early 1960s. In 1962, for example, rumors exist that UFOs crashed in two separate locations in the former communist state. The first was recovered by Soviet troops in the town of Semipalatinsk. According to local reports, the ruins were transferred to a base in nearby Zhitkur where attempts went ahead to reverse engineer it.

The second craft had come down somewhere in the upper northern and largely uninhabited areas of the country. Once again, though, the wreckage was soon in Soviet possession. This time, it was transferred straight to an underground facility in Moscow, although the exact location remains a mystery.

The following year, in 1963, hundreds of witnesses would report a “silver disc” that crashed into Lake Balkash. Rather than mere rumor, the incident came to light to the wider world through a declassified KGB document. Within hours, Soviet troops arrived to secure the location. And the craft, which would reside in a secure bunker in Slepnogorsk. Once again, the finest Soviet scientists and engineered would look to reverse engineer the vehicle.

While there is little information regarding any occupants of these crashed and recovered UFOs in the Soviet Union in the early 1960s, many high-ranking military and intelligence officers would speak more openly about the incidents throughout the 1990s, particularly the one over Lake Balkash, with the fall of the Soviet Union. It would appear, then, there is a most-definite amount of truth to the reports of UFOs in the possession of the Soviet regime. An incident three years later would apparently provide them with another such craft. And this time there were several witnesses to the events.

A depiction of a UFO crash in the Soviet Union

A depiction of a UFO crash in the Soviet Union

The 1966 Topolovka Forest Incident – A Geological Mission Witnesses UFO Crash!

Geologist, Oleg Ivanovich was leading a small team of scientists on a geological trip into the Topolovka Forest in 1966. This particular evening after one of the team’s horses had become temporarily stuck in the swampy mud of the area, they decided to make camp for the evening and then set out again in the morning. However, not long after falling asleep an unearthly explosion dragged them from awake. Bizarrely all around them were intense flames and thick, black smoke. Not sure what had caused the apparent forest fire, the team’s only escape was into a river that ran nearby.

The following morning the flames had largely died down, although small pockets of fires still burned here and there. When they tested their radios at the river bank, none of them would work. Nor would their compasses, whose needles would simply spin around and around with no direction. Despite this, the small team ventured back into the forests in an attempt to locate the cause of the explosion. They soon came across a site of a crippled craft which they would describe as “two washbasins set face to face”. They could also make out several flashing lights among the thick, black smoke that was still emerging from an open doorway. Perhaps more ominously, they could also see what looked like “a tentacle” protruding loosely from this doorway.

They took several pictures. However, none of them would develop properly. Ivanovich would suggest this was likely due to increased radiation. As they set out away from the craft, they noticed several military helicopters flying overhead. Suspecting they were looking for the downed craft, Ivanovich returned to the site the following day. The craft was indeed gone. However, there were substantial marks in the muddy ground suggesting recent activity in the area.

The Prohlandnyi Encounter – A Final Soviet Recovery Of The Cold War?

Before we look at one of the most interesting crashed UFO accounts to come out of the Cold War Soviet Union, we will examine an alleged crash that occurred in the final days of the regime. According to apparently leaked accounts, shortly after 1 am on the 10th August 1989, just outside the city of Prohlandnyi, the Soviet military began tracking an unidentified object. After attempts to communicate went without a response, authorization came to scramble several Mig-25 jets. Further attempts at communication received a similar non-response. Now classing this mystery vehicle as “hostile” the Migs opened fire on the disc-shaped craft. It was a direct hit, and the aerial vehicle began descending erratically to the ground, eventually crashing somewhere in the nearby mountain range.

The area around the crippled craft was under Soviet military control shortly after. The craft itself had sustained obvious damage, both from the attack by the Migs and the subsequent crash landing. According to the report, the UFO was taken, lifted by military helicopters, to Mozdok Air Base. A quickly arranged engineering and scientist team would journey to the base to begin work on reverse-engineering the cosmic vehicle.

Perhaps even more remarkable, though, was the discovery of three alien crew members. One of which was clearly still alive. However, it would die shortly after its discovery, despite attempts by Soviet doctors to save it. One of the most ominous and intriguing details of this encounter, though, is descriptions of these alien crew. Although they would appear like the standard “grey alien” it appeared the crash had torn this “skin” which was, in fact, an armor of some kind. Underneath this apparent armor, was a distinct “reptilian” skin of a strange blue-green color. The whereabouts of the crew and craft is currently unknown.

Does this show an alien entity?

Does this show an alien entity?

The “Secret” KGB Files – Monetary Opportunism? Or Genuine Proof Of Extraterrestrial Visitation?

Perhaps the most intriguing of these KGB documents and the incidents they describe come from an apparent “leaking” of secret files, smuggled illegally out of the country. In them, is the alleged UFO crash and recovery mission in the state of Sverdlovsky at some time in early 1969. Many reports claim the encounter occurred in March of that year. However, on this occasion, photographs and video footage exist and so preserve the incident. And what’s more, these were part of the leaked files.

According to a report that aired on the TNT network in the United States, ‘The Secret UFO Files of the KGB’, an anonymous buyer paid $10,000 for this particular information. According to the files, as well as the craft, the dead remains of an alien occupant were also part of the recovery. Both would go to a top-secret location (thought to be Kasputin Yar). Not only did the file contain photographs from the apparent crash site, but it also contained video footage from the alleged autopsy of the alien remains. What is interesting, is only the torso and one arm are present.  You can check out that video below.

To say this footage and the account splits opinion of many in the UFO community is a huge understatement. As tempting as it is to dismiss this as the work of an opportunistic organization looking to make fast and easy money, many of the details, in the apparent recovery operation and autopsy are remarkably authentic. For example, the truck in the footage was a 1950 ZIS151, which by the 1990s was decades out of operation. While not impossible, it would have been difficult to obtain a working model.

Check out that documentary below. The presentation style is cliché at times but is still worth watching.


1 Chronology of UFO Crashes in the Former Soviet Union, Know About Aliens And UFOs, May 17th, 2008

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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