Russian Underwater Encounters: What Lurks Beneath The Surface
Article from Paul Stonehill
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 the 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 frogman 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-gated expedition were stricken by aeroembolism, of 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 more shallow 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 of 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 Russians). Superpowerful instruments and devices of the Soviet military sub-unit (that had been doing the actual "tracking") had repeatedly registered submersion int Sarez of disc-like objects, their surfacing and subsequent liftoff.
The files of the Russian Ufology Research Center contain much more information about Russian underwater sightings, including statements of Naval officers and intelligence operatives. While the most interesting information will be published in the new book, co-authored by Paul Stonehill and Philip Mantle, it is safe to conclude that the Soviets (before), and the Russians (now) are preoccupied with the strange and sinister creatures lurking in their waters.
The Russian Ufology Research Center has a collection of "hydrosphere aspect" sightings. The secret files of the Soviet Navy contain much valuable information on UFO sightings. Soviet military researchers are quite thorough. The files have been largely inaccessible, even after the fall of the USSR. But I was able to collect some interesting information.
Mr. Krapiva, 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 hydroacoustics 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.
A few 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.
The earliest mention of giant beings (resembling Shteynberg's "swimmers") goes back to early 1900's. Several boys in Georgia (Russian Empire) discovered a cave inside a mountain, full of human-like skeletons. Each skeleton was three meters in height. To get to the cave, the boys had to dive into a lake. George Papashvili and his wife recall the incident in a book, Anything Can Happen published in New York in 1925, St. Martin's Press.
Vladimir Georgiyevich Ajaja, nowadays is a prominent personality in the Russian Ufological Association. But he was not always a ufologist, and when he became one, he earned the ire of the Communist Party's dislike of those who study forbidden topics. 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). 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 The Bermuda Triangle book 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 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 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. 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. For many people in the Soviet Union this book was an introduction to the forbidden world of ufology, of paleocontact (a Russian term for the ancient astronaut hypothesis), and mysteries of our ancient history. Gorbovsky mentions 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 XX vek: khronika neobjasnimogo (Moscow, 1996).
D. Povaliyayev was handgliding 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.
To those of you interested in the current UFO research, remember the names of present-day Russian and Ukrainian ufologists who doggedly pursue the study of the phenomenon, in spite of the great difficulties experienced by their countries. I have nothing but respect for people like Aleksandr Rempel, Yuri Smirnov, Nikolay Subbotin, Gherman Kolchin, Mikhail Gershtein, Vadim Chernobrov, Dr. Rubtsov, and others like them. I hope that I and Philip Mantle will be able to tell you about them and their research in our new book. And if any of you are truly interested in Russian/CIS ufology, let the information I have provided here be your first step on a road of discovery.
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