I am a published author, lecturer, and researcher of Russian, Chinese and Eurasian UFO/USO and paranormal phenomena. My work, and latest news from my colleagues will be featured in this blog.
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Remembering Pavel Popovich (abbreviated article)
COSMONAUT PAVEL POPOVICH AND UFOS
Stonehill and Philip Mantle
GOLDEN EAGLE, AGRESSOR, AND COMONAUT
On September 30th
2009, General-Major of
Aviation, Pilot-Cosmonaut Pavel Romanovich Popovich, the first Ukrainian
cosmonaut in history, passed away. Always proud of his ethnicity, twice Hero of
the Soviet Union award, he had many other awards and medals.
Popovich was greatly respected; a kind, nice and decent person, always ready to
life was intertwined with the turbulent history of UFO research in the Soviet Union after 1978.
was born in Soviet Ukraine on October 5, 1929. A young
engineer and amateur pilot, Popovich joined the Soviet Air Force; in 1960 he
was enrolled in the first team of cosmonauts. Popovich was the Number
"Four" Cosmonaut in the history of manned spaceflights. He underwent
a full course of training for space flights on board "Vostok”
Popovich (as a boy) lived under the Nazi occupation for several years, and this
fact could sink his chances to become a Soviet cosmonaut. The KGB took several
months to study biographies of each of the future cosmonauts; someone must have
had the courage to overlook that fact, and let him continue his training.
spaceflight was aboard the “Vostok-4"spaceship in 1962.
Later, Pavel Popovich was trained for the Soviet Moon research program.
After the program was cancelled, Popovich underwent training for flights aboard
“Soyuz” spaceships. His second mission into space was as the chief pilot
of the Soyuz-14 spaceship in 1974. The flight was part of the
Soviet program of military use of space exploration technology. Popovich’s call
name was Berkut-1 (Golden Eagle). Having docked with the Salyut 3
orbital station (this was a cover name for the secret battle station Almaz-2),
Popovich and his engineer, had conducted military intelligence operations. They
had infrared and powerful optical equipment, 14 special cameras, and even one thirty millimeter cannon. One of the tasks was to capture the American Skylab
station with three astronauts aboard. The Americans had a special nickname for
Popovich: “Aggressor”. But the program later was shut down.
the years 1980 to1989 he served as the Deputy Chief of the Y. Gagarin
Cosmonauts Training Center.
PRESIDENT OF THE UFO
SOYUZUFOTSENTR, the very first official public UFO research organization of the
Soviet Union was formed. Its director was V. Ajaja, a former naval officer, a
submariner, a long-suffering independent UFO researcher and lecturer. Its
president, Pavel Popovich clearly stated in
interviews that he headed SOYUZUFOTSENTR on
behest of his friends, UFO researchers. Popovich never considered himself to be an expert in the field of ufology. He did
help those who tried to research it independently, or as part of the secret
Soviet program. His authority and reputation had greatly helped Ajaja’s
efforts to keep his organization viable in post-1991 Russia.
POPOVICH AND SETKA: A
SECRET SOVIET UFO RESEARCH PROGRAM
In 1978, the powerful
Military-Industrial Commission created two UFO research centers, one in the
USSR Academy of Sciences, the other in the USSR Defense Ministry. The anomalous
phenomena research in the USSR Academy of Sciences became the subject of a
special scientific research program designated as SETKA-AN. The Soviet Ministry
of Defense embarked on a similar program, the secret SETKA-MO. Both centers aided
each other’s UFO research and exchanged information. The first act of the
SETKA-AN resulted in official sanction of "anomalous atmospheric
phenomena" as a descriptive term, instead of the forbidden
debunkers did its best to prove there are no UFOs, only errors in observation
of rocket launches, or at the very least, ball lightning. But there had been
occasions when "anomalous phenomena" had led to the unauthorized
launches of mobile missiles, and on other occasions, the appearance of UFOs
during military training exercises had resulted in the breakdown of radio
communications and equipment malfunctions.
The program ended in 1991, but a group of experts
remained in the Department of General Physics and Astronomy of the RussianAcademy
of Sciences where they analyzed incoming reports until 1996.
regarding the nature of UFOs had been the least of the military researchers'
concerns; they did, however, pay close attention to the hypothesis that UFOs
are manifestations of an ET civilization. They had been concerned with UFOs'
quite unpredictable impact on military technology and on personnel. They wanted
to know how they could use UFO properties for their own pragmatic military
In 1984, by the decision
of VSNTO (All-Union Council of Scientific Technical Societies), a Central
Commission for Anomalous Phenomena in the Environment was created. Its Chairman
was Soviet academician V. Troitsky, one of his deputies was General-Major of
Aviation, Pilot-Cosmonaut P. Popovich.
The Commission was born because those
in charge of the academic research of the SETKA program basically got rid of
independent UFO researchers, leaving only the debunkers together with military
specialists from secret military institutes in the program.
Independent Soviet ufologists did not
take the continuous scorn from debunkers lying down, and basically moved the Academy of Sciences aside, by directly approaching military coordinators of the secret
program. The initiative to create the Commission was supported by military
researchers, who were tired of fruitless activities of the academic debunkers.
The Commission included also those who served the Ministry of Defense research.
Pavel Popovich played a role in its workings, although due to the secrecy and
his oath, he had not revealed all he knew.
According to Popovich, most of the
information about anomalous phenomena came from military and pilots, trusted,
sane and healthy people. Among the reports many were nonsensical, but some were
historically important. UFO data started being reported from the days of
W.W.II. During the Kursk Battle, Soviet aviators and witnesses on the ground
observed mysterious objects in the sky. He revealed this in the April, 2009
interview to the Ukrainian web portal DonbassUA. The Kursk episode is described in detail in Mysterious Sky: Soviet UFO Phenomenon.
On May 29 1984, Trud newspaper published an article where Popovich told the
author about a case that took place on March 27, 1983, in Gorky (and investigated by the Commission’s Gorky section). It was an object that flew in the area of the city’s airport.
The airport’s radars registered but could not identify the object. The object
flew at the altitude of no more than one kilometer, and the speed approximately
180-200 kilometers per hour. The witness (Flight Controller A. Shushkin) who
had observed the object said that the object's size was similar to that of the
IL-14 aircraft fuselage. But there were no wings. It was a “cigar”. Its color
light gray, steely, and it moved slowly across the sky. The phenomenon lasted
around forty minutes. At the distance of 30 to 40 kilometers NE from the
airport the radars lost it. Shushkin later corrected Pavel Popovich
and said the UFO actually appeared over the city on March 28, 1983; flew at an altitude of 400-600 meters, and disappeared ten seconds
after it was sighted.
A more dramatic, episode took place in
January of 1978, and Popovich described it to Sotsialisticheskaya Industriya
newspaper on August 6, 1984.
During the flight of YAK-40 over the
area between two settlements Medvezhye and Nadim, the crew noticed something
round; a very bright foreign body that approached rapidly and sometime later appeared
straight in front of the aircraft. Every minute the size of this body
increased. When the crash appeared to be imminent, the object soared right in
front of the aircraft’s nose, not causing any harm.
THE KGB UFO
In 1991, a
file of KGB documents was provided to Pavel Popovich (he had urged them to
release the information). It was the Second Chief Directorate of the KGB
(Counterintelligence), or rather the Tenth Department within the Directorate
(Control of the defense facilities) that had received UFO information.
The file (124 pages of printed text) contained copies of UFO reports:
handwritten reports, typed testimonies, and notes from KGB informers, crude
drawings and eyewitness reports of UFOs. An accompanying letter was written by
the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for State Security USSR, N.A. Sham. This
cooperation between UFO researchers and the KGB was unprecedented and was a
landmark in UFO research in the Soviet Union and
possibly the world.
Years later Sham stated that the
KGB was not engaged in research of anomalous phenomena (he pointed to the SETKA
program as the responsible entity for such research). See Philip Mantle’s
article The Real KGB UFO Files (http://www.ufodigest.com/news/0308/kgb.html.
Inn 1992, on behest of UFO researchers, Pavel Popovich had contacted two
Russian ministries, to find out whether the Soviet-era archives contained
documents pertaining to the Roswell Crash. The reply from the Ministry of
Defense stated that the officials of the Central Archive of the Ministry of
Defense had conducted search of the materials of interest to Popovich. They did
not find any Roswell materials. The second reply came from the Ministry of Security of the Russian federation. No documentary materials about the case of the “flying saucer” crash in
the area of Roswell, USA in the year 1947 were discovered, it stated.
Soviet intelligence, quite active in
1940s, would not miss the Roswell Crash controversy.
After every interview Pavel Popovich
had to sign a special document stating that he did not reveal any state
secrets. He never did tell all he knew, a military person loyal to his oath.
…Then Pavel Popovich recalled his UFO
sighting in 1978, while aboard an airplane flying from Washington to Moscow returning
from Pittsburgh, where academicians attended the international Gagarin Readings
conference (they had also observed the strange object).
The altitude was 10,500 meters.
Popovich recalled that something urged him to keep looking (he was sitting by
the window). He noticed about a white, isosceles triangle about a
kilometer and a half from the plane and some ten degrees higher (as he and
others had estimated). The cosmonaut shouted, ran to the crew. The onboard
radar did not register anything, and nothing was registered on the ground.
The crew also observed the object, and
they determined that its side was about 100 meters. The object did not resemble
any known aircraft. It moved rapidly; the airplane flew at the speed of one
thousand kilometers per hour, while the object traveled about time and a half
faster. This flying object easily overtook them, and flew forth, but they
stayed within the range of vision for a minute. They, the professionals, could
not determine what the object was.
Popovich could not state that his
sighting was really a secret weapon being tested, although in 90 percent of
such observations this is so.
Pavel Popovich said that he did not
believe any of the contactees. In the 2001 FAKTY interview Popovich said
that 95 percent of everything written about UFOs should be discarded as
In the same interview with Bul’var Gordona Popovich was asked whether
he, a pilot and cosmonaut who grew up in the atheistic (sometimes, militantly
so) society, believed in God.
He replied that he was baptized. And in 1974, during his spaceflight he
understood that there is someone who had created stars outside the spacecraft’s
porthole, the Moon, and other planets. When one sees this, one understands how
infinite everything is. Popovich recalled thinking: “someone had created it,
and someone directs it all”. Who has created the laws of celestial mechanics?
All we did was to use them, to discern them, to explain them. That is why he
thought about God. No matter what one calls him, there is the Creator who has
lived his final years in a settlement near Moscow, dubbed Star Village because
36 former cosmonauts reside there.
He had a
dream to be able to fly the spacecraft into space again, to look at Earth from
of Pavel Popovich was given to a mountain ridge in Antarctica and a minor