Voronezh UFO incident

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The Voronezh UFO incident was an alleged UFO sighting reported in Voronezh, Soviet Union, on September 27, 1989.[1] The incident was allegedly witnessed by a group of children, with other members of the local community, including civil servants, claiming to have seen the craft only.[2] The area has been popular with UFO-hunting tourists.[3]


The story reported by the Telegraph Agency of the Soviet Union (TASS) claimed that a group of children had spotted a small ball in the park whilst playing (now Yuzhny Park), which quickly morphed into a disc, which landed near them. Witnesses then reported a "three-eyed alien" and a robot exiting the craft. The alien stared at a horrified onlooker, freezing them in their tracks, before departing and returning five minutes later to abduct a 16-year-old boy, using what was described as a 50 cm-long "pistol tube".[4]

Though the children were the only ones claiming to have witnessed the aliens, Lieutenant Sergei A. Matveyev of the Voronezh district police station claimed to have seen the craft.[5] The Interior Ministry said they would dispatch troops to the area should the craft reappear.[5]


On 17 September 1989, TASS reported that a correspondent had spoken to "10 or 12 youths" who claimed to have seen a flying saucer. The original article quoted Dr. Silanov, of the Voronezh Geophysical Laboratory, as confirming the location of the landing using biolocation.[6] Silanov denied that he had ever made such a remark, or carried out such an experiment.[4] The report was the most publicized of a series of UFO claims made by official government media, and were promoted as part of the government's new "openness".[7][8] It was noted that, unlike in America, the reported beings were completely apolitical and did not even speak during their 'visit'.[9] In the immediate aftermath of the alleged incident, hundreds of UFO reports began appearing, with a reporter from Komsomolskaya Pravda even claiming to have an exclusive interview with alien beings from Red Star.[10]

To this end, the Soviet Scientific Commission ordered an official inquiry into the alleged incident. Though the area was found to have an above-average presence of the radioactive isotope cesium, the vice-rector of the University of Voronezh quickly dispensed with the idea that this was significant.[11]

In the immediate aftermath of the supposed event, only Sovietskaya Kultura and TASS attempted to pass the story off as non-fiction, with the official Communist newspaper defending its decision, saying: "[I]ts coverage was motivated by 'the golden rule of journalism: the reader must know everything."[4] The newspaper was repeatedly asked whether the report was in jest and were repeatedly assured it was not.[5][12]

The description of the incident was very similar to stories that appeared in the American magazine Saga, but TASS reporters stated that the witnesses "probably haven't read it."[12] Outside of print media, the U.S. show A Current Affair also sent a crew to report on the alleged event.[13]

In a work published by Socialist Industry slightly after the alleged incident, a self-proclaimed UFO specialist asserted the marks left by the supposed landing were simply scorch marks from a burnt hay-bale.[7]


  1. ^ НЛО в Воронеже / Ф. Киселёв, Ю. Лозовцев, В. Мартынов и др. - Воронеж: Редакционно-издательский отдел, 1990. - 176 с.
  2. ^ Dahlberg, John-Thor (October 11, 1989). "Voronzeh Scientist Quoted by Tass Casts Doubt on UFO Landing Story". Associated Press. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  3. ^ "Russia's Ren TV shows report on paranormal areas and UFO sightings". BBC Monitoring Former Soviet Union. BBC. September 25, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c Dahlburg, John-thor (October 11, 1989). "Misquoted on aliens, Soviet says". The Globe and Mail. Canada.
  5. ^ a b c Fein, Esther B.; Times, Special To The New York (11 October 1989). "U.F.O. Landing Is Fact, Not Fantasy, the Russians Insist". The New York Times. p. 6.
  6. ^ "UFO lands in Russia? Writer now waffles". United Press International. October 10, 1989. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  7. ^ a b Iams, John (October 9, 1989). "Tass Says UFO Landing in Soviet Union Confirmed". The Associated Press.
  8. ^ Goldberg, Carey (October 9, 1989). "Tass, in Soviet Media's Latest Weird Tale, Says UFO Landed". The Associated Press.
  9. ^ "The Voronezh Visitors". The New York Times. October 14, 1989. pp. Section 1, Page 24, Column 1.
  10. ^ Bogert, Carroll (October 23, 1989). "They Came From Outer Space". Newsweek. pp. NATIONAL AFFAIRS, Pg. 42.
  11. ^ The Globe and Mail. Canada. October 30, 1989. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ a b Fein, Esther B. (October 10, 1989). "A Tass Bulletin: Knobby Aliens Were Here". The New York Times. pp. Section A, Page 1, Column 2.
  13. ^ Blau, Eleanor (October 12, 1989). "Rare Thrill for Tass: Joshing Over Its U.F.O. Report". The New York Times. pp. Section A, Page 18, Column 1.