MYSTERY WIRE — Americans are learning more by the week about secret pentagon investigations of the UFO mystery, but what about other world powers such as Russia?

Back in the ‘90s, Mystery Wire reporter George Knapp made two fact finding trips to the former USSR.

George Knapp reports from Moscow in 1996.

As in the U.S., the Russian military spent decades downplaying and dismissing the UFO mystery.

Private citizens were discouraged from openly discussing flying saucers but behind the scenes, the Russian Ministry of Defense conducted what might be the largest government study of UFOs in world history.

An order was given by the Ministry of Defense that every UFO incident must be fully investigated. Thousands of cases poured in over ten years, including videos and photographs.

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In 1993 and again in 1996, Knapp traveled to Russia, met with former defense officials, and gained access to hundreds of pages of once classified UFO materials.

Colonel Boris Sokolov (1996)

At the time, Colonel Boris Sokolov was in charge of the Ministry of Defense study for ten years. He said there were 40 incidents where Russian warplanes chased UFOs resulting in three of those planes crashing and two of the pilots being killed.

Knapp also met with the longtime commander of Russia’s air defense system who confirmed he had ordered Russia’s air force to stand down, and refrain from firing on or otherwise engaging with UFOs over Russian airspace.

George Knapp produced three reports on the Russian UFO investigations in April 1996 on KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, NV. You can watch two of them below, along with the transcript. Mystery wire will be publishing the third later this week.

Transcript of the story above:
March 1991, radar the Leningrad airport detects first one, then two, then three unidentified objects hovering over a nuclear plant from a dead stop the UFOs zipped away at 2000 miles per hour.
The Urals, 1976, a photographer clicks this shot and later provides a more detailed drawing.
May 1992, a military team in the Kola Peninsula tapes this spinning object.
In Tbilisi, a crew shooting a music video spots this overhead.
Today average Russians are free to discuss UFOs but it wasn’t always so.
Through the 50s and 60s, the Kremlin declared UFOs a capitalist creation, thus a non topic but behind the scenes, Stalin and other leaders authorized secret UFO studies.
Retired colonel Bora Sokolov commanded such a study for 10 years, the entire Russian military took part, 1000s of reports were generated, but were kept secret until 1993.
When Sokoloff first spoke to us, the study included 40 incidents of Russian warplanes and encountering UFOs.
One MIG had its wing damaged in a collision with a UFO.
This former pilot says a UFO disabled his plane with a beam of light.
In 1982, a UFO hovered over a nuclear missile base in the Ukraine for hours unexplainably codes were entered and the missiles were ready for launch until the UFO vanished.
General Igor Maltsev, for seven years commander of the entire Soviet air defense system, recalls a UFO flap over Moscow in 1990.
Hundreds of visual and radar observations by military personnel Maltsev confirms his standing order was don’t fire on the UFOs.
But he declined to say much else. His boss, the former Deputy Defense Minister, declined to speak altogether under orders and even Sokolov is now reluctant to talk in part because he was attacked in communist newspapers following our 1993 interview.
There was more than one kind of chill in the Moscow era these days.
With the double political whammy of the revived communists and the scary nationalists the Russian government needs a UFO expose like it needs a red white and blue paint job on the Kremlin.
Science has received the message, individuals and the Russian Academy are now downplaying their long term studies of UFOs.
Oddly the KGB has opened up including a release of this long secret film of a UFO. KGB adds it has no ongoing interest in flying saucers, although it does have several hundred files.

Transcript of the story above:
Awakening to a young Bruce Willis spouting Russian is the first sign you’re not in Kansas anymore.
But then the ad for Ginzu Knives lets you know it’s not Oz either.
Western influence is far more pronounced here today than under the communists, but capitalism and democracy are still hanging on by their fingernails.
Just getting to Moscow is daunting in itself, up to 22 hours by air from Las Vegas.
Even in early April, temperatures hovered close to zero most of our visit, some 400 people froze to death on Moscow streets this winter.
While the domes of the historic landmarks still gleam with gold, the vast majority of the population is dirt poor.
Driving in this city is motorized Darwinism, complete chaos punctuated by traffic as solid as cold magma.
Anyone with money is considered mafia, the generic term for criminals.
Many of the newly wealthy made theirs and one of Moscow’s 10 or so casinos, which cater to Western tourists, but whose spartan interiors and barren ads could use a little Las Vegas pizzazz.
We were in Moscow to establish ties with military officials concerning secret UFO studies.
The Ministry of Defense admitted to us three years ago that such studies weren’t top priority, hundreds of documents and photos were made available to us.
This time we interviewed the former Soviet Air Minister, the highest ranking Russian to ever talk about UFOs with a Western journalist, but Moscow was only the first stop.
After being busted trying to videotape a near white-out at the airport, it was a nine hour stormy jaunt to the end of the earth, Vladivostok.
A crime infested seaport where our hotel room service menu offered bodyguard service.
“Quite and adventure.” The sarcastic references to our ride on this ancient chariot through snowstorms and vast emptiness sometimes at treetop level to the gritty industrial town of Dalnegorsk where in 1986 something like the Russian Roswell occurred.
Witnesses saw an object crash into this mountain.
Scientists have analyzed the strange debris but note though what they have.