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"Soviet Saucers and Space Secrets"

In the opening years of the Space Age (the 1960s), the Soviet public was gripped by two big enthusiasms -- their country's pioneering feats in space exploration, and their country as host to visitations by space aliens aboard UFOs (only natural, since everybody knew that advanced societies anywhere would be communistic). This talk reveals for the first time how these two themes were secretly interwoven, as Soviet military missile and space activities accidentally sparked most of the most famous 'UFO flaps' in Russia -- and then how Moscow officials opportunistically adapted the 'UFO identity' as camouflage to divert and suppress public reports of strange lights in the sky (reports that could provide Western military intelligence services with key insights into features of the top-secret aerospace systems, some of them treaty-breaking, being witnessed in action by ordinary people all across the Soviet Union). Meanwhile, Western UFO experts enthusiastically embraced these faux-UFO reports as more evidence that "UFOs are real and Soviet cases prove it", with the delicious irony that while they railed against "government cover-ups" of UFO data in their own countries, they became unwitting dupes of a genuine Moscow military cover-up campaign (and many of them remain so long after the collapse of the Soviet Union). This talk presents decades of original research integrated into a narrative both fascinating and amusing, and after half a century of secrecy and deception, satisfyingly eye-opening.

In detail, the talk addresses the 'crescent-UFO' flap of 1967 (that revealed detailed maneuvers of the illegal space-to-ground nuclear weapons platform called FOBS), the 'jellyfish UFOs' that revealed the existence of the Plesetsk cosmodrome, the role that Russian space junk reentries had in sparking worldwide pilot reports, and the radar-visual and medical effects of the "Minsk UFO" of 1984 that traces (almost certainly) to a still-undocumented SLBM launch from the Barents Sea.


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