Petrozavodsk Incident

Basic Information

Petrozavodsk Incident or Pertozavodsk Wonder (Russian: Петрозаводское Диво) is an anomalous event witnessed by thousands of people living across Karelia and Leningrad region of USSR.

On September 20, 1977 about 4:00 a.m., an object described as "large bright star" appeared on the sky over Petrozavodsk. It slowly moved toward city center, changing its form to one of a "huge jellyfish" with diameter about 100m, which illuminated the area with multiple rays of light for several minutes.
After that, the object changed its form again, this time to "crescent". It headed to Onega lake and vanished in the overcast sky. The phenomena lasted for 10-12 minutes.

Newspaper articles about this event appeared in Soviet press, which initially described it as "extraordinary natural phenomenon". The investigation commission was created on the base of Academy of Science.

UFOlogists in USSR, however, weren't satisfied by official explanation, and their inquiries are claimed to discover the facts that aren't explained by it, such as:

  • The multiple holes (5-7mm in diameter) which were found in the windows of upper stories of buildings are said to be caused by the rays of the object. This allowed to calculate altitude of object, which was only 14 km.
  • The witnesses also claim that 8 hours earlier many of them had the feeling of anxiety and dread. Some of them said that they were awakened by "telepathic messages".
  • Same day, 3 hours earlier, the passenger plane flying the Kiev-Leningrad route was followed by UFO to the Pulkovo airport.
  • UFO were also observed in the region of Petrozavodsk on September 30, October 20 and 28, November 4 and 9.

Veracity of these claims, however, remain dubious.

Today, Petrozavodsk Incident is attributed to the atmospheric effects caused by launch of Kosmos 955 (Tselina-D ELINT satellite) from Plesetsk Cosmodrome.


A History of State UFO Research in the USSR by Yulii Platov and Boris Sokolov

Game and Story Use

  • What was the cause of Petrozavodsk incident? Characters, without doubt, can undertake their own investigation of the event. Some possible explanations are listed below.
    • Natural phenomena: this is official and most likely version. However, it may not be purely atmospheric effect as it is believed today. What if it was an unknown physical effect?
    • Weapon testing: Kosmos 955 was military satellite. What if it carried some experimental weapon? What if it was a target of experimental anti-satellite weapon?
      • Note that in second case that anti-satellite weapon shouldn't be necessarily of Soviet origin.
    • Mass delusion: There wasn't anything in the sky; it was in the minds of humans. Witness accounts about Petrozavodsk Incident gathered by UFOlogists are sometimes vastly different.
      • It may be caused by some psionic weapon, of course.
    • Aliens: Yes, it was a spaceship of extraterristrial origin, which came to Earth with unknown purpose.
  • The reaction of Soviet government may be used to judge its' behavior in similar situation. The report of the commission was widely published; in it the existence of Plesetsk Cosmodrome was revealed to the public (prior to that, it was considered state secret). At the same time, officials haven't tried already mentioned UFOlogists from gathering information from witnesses.
    • Which doesn't mean that they weren't covering something else.
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