The real KGB UFO files
An interview with the former Deputy Commander of the KGB Nikolay Alekseyevich Sham.
On October 24th, 1991, documents were provided to former Soviet cosmonaut Pavel Popovich, the then President of the All-Union Ufological Association in Russia. These files contained copies of UFO reports sent to the infamous KGB. An accompanying letter was written by the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for State Security USSR, N.A. Sham. The files consisted of handwritten reports, typed testimonies, and notes from KGB informers, crude drawings and eyewitness reports of UFOs. 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. Sixteen years later we have managed to catch up with the now former Deputy Commander of the KGB, and published here for the first time is an interview with the man himself.
Translated by Paul Stonehill and reproduced with the kind permission of NTV.
In June 2007 I was asked for an interview by NTV. NTV is one of the largest TV companies in Russia. Apparently they were making a new UFO documentary and wanted to discuss with me my research into the Alien Autopsy film and the book I had co-authored with Paul Stonehill (Russia’s Roswell Incident).
The journalist Alexey Egorov along with his cameraman and translator Elena Volkovaya duly arrived and the interview took place at my home in West Yorkshire. After the interview we discussed many things and Alexey informed me that he had interviewed the former Deputy Chairman of the KGB Nikolay Sham, and discussed with him their release of official KGB UFO files to Russian UFO researchers. This is covered in our books. Alexey went on to say that he could provide me with a transcript of his interview with Nikolay Sham. This duly arrived via email and was quickly translated by my colleague Paul Stonehill. Nothing has been omitted from the following interview, although Paul Stonehill has inserted a few things in brackets for clarification purposes only.
The full interview is reproduced here with kind permission of NTV in Moscow.
Nikolay Alekseyevich Sham was born in 1940. He was in the KGB from 1966 to 1991. From 1974, he worked in the central administration of the KGB. He was
involved with the operational, technical and scientific projects. In 1986 he
was with the commission that investigated the Chernobyl disaster. His rank
was deputy chief of the 6th Directorate of the KGB (this is where
revolutionary scientific ideas and hi-tech technologies were researched and
provided protection from foreign agents; this is also where the Soviet
economic espionage against other nations was generated). He left the KGB in
1992, because of health reasons. In 1999 he headed a private corporation,
Greenmaster, involved in the production of various devices using
technologies of the defense industry. Later he was the General Director of
First Leasing Company (2003). He is mentioned in Russian media in connection
with paranormal phenomena.
The former KGB Major-General, Nikolay Sham, who for a time served as a KGB
deputy chairman, had turned over to cosmonaut Popovich a 127-page record of
anomalous events observed on the territory of the former Soviet Union and in the Russian Federation.
Nikolay Alekseyevich Sham. (NAS)
Alexey Egorov (AE)
AE: “Nikolay Alekseyevich, this document here from the KGB, sent to Cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; did you send it?”
NAS: “Quite right.”
AE: “What year was it?”
NAS: “It was in ‘91; the document’s registration indicates so, that is why the year was ‘91.
AE: “Hence, you sent a complete file of documents from the KGB?”
NAS: “Quite right. I simply (unclear-P.S.) story, why the accumulation of these documents took place specifically in the KGB. There was a special decree of the Government and the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union about the commencement of the research of these phenomena that occur in nature. According to this decree all law enforcement agencies (KGB, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior Affairs, and the border guards) had to inform and report to the Center about facts they had been receiving regarding all such phenomena in nature. And all the agencies had factually accumulated the information. But the KGB was not engaged in research of such issues; it is just that some administration, some special department, if they would get some eyewitnesses of all that was happening in the atmosphere… they would take explanations and mostly hand-written materials that were sent there, describing how they saw (phenomena-P.S.), what they felt during (sightings-P.S.); describing the background of the event, and so on. All that we had eventually accumulated…accumulated, and by the same decree a few academic institutes were obliged to undertake (measures-P.S.) in order to research all these effects, various phenomena, and come to some conclusion of every incident. The main institute in the Academy of Sciences selected and appointed (to head the research-P.S.) was the Institute of Space Studies. All interesting facts were always addressed. Experts, scientists left for the place of the incident, asked questions, took soil samples, took various measurements, and so on; and reached some conclusion based on the results of the event or a fact (that was being researched-P.S.). This work was conducted for several years, and some time in mid ’85-’86, in that area, it was completed, this work…and produced was a report about all the events that were registered through a number of years over the territory of the Soviet Union.
I remember that report; I held it in my hands. Of course, I do not remember all of the details there, but from what I remember now, up to 70 percent of all phenomena that were somehow registered had been explained”.
AE: “They were explained from the point of view of classical science?”
NAS: “Quite right.”
AE: “And, (remaining-P.S.) 30 percent?”
NAS: “Well, 30 percent…of those 30 percent, half were explained; not just one explanation, but variations of: it could be explained this way, or that way. But not in the sense that again, (it was-P.S.) some extraterrestrial civilization, its manifestation, and so on. No. And some 10-15 percent could not be explained at all…what it was, what effects, manifestations, what kind of phenomena occurred in nature, atmosphere, and so on”.
AE: “Do you remember any examples of what could not be explained”?
NAS: “Mostly it…things that could not be explained, when some object materialized. Observed was a materialized object, mostly they were spots, some luminescent points, something else of different configurations and so on. As for materialized objects, that truly, if they were photographed, they had a materialized background in the shape of a saucer, some cylinder, or something similar. All such things, of course, could not have been explained: what it was, how one can comprehend all of it. That is what I remember from everything that took place back then. Moreover, all these sharp increases in public interest, they take place periodically. Time after time, the same question…you are fifth or sixth party that come with the same question. Also, from the West I was approached, why? Because these materials; this digest, travel all over the world”.
AE: “All comes from this letter, because after this letter, the KGB secret files were sent to ufologists”.
NAS: “No, there was not any secret document”.
AE: “That is, the documents were not secret before?”
NAS: “Of course… quite right. Imagine, some citizen saw some luminescent loop, and he wrote about it. The officer on duty of some administration or a special department received this information, registered in the logbook, wrote an accompanying letter, and sent to the Center. What secrets are here? No secrets at all. On the other hand, the explanation for all such phenomena in most cases…you understand, tests were conducted, launches were performed, airplanes fly about, helicopters fly about, and the space is full of space (manmade-P.S.) objects and fragments of the space objects that periodically descend and enter the dense layers of the atmosphere. That is on one hand. On another hand, so-called “mirage” phenomena, mirages. You know, you have heard of mirages. Things related to crashes, disasters; aircraft crash when (the craft-P.S.) falls apart in flight and falls to the ground and so on. That is, a multitude of things that due to some optic distortions and so on, sometimes create such background, that really it can appear that you are in some fairy tale world, and are surrounded humanoids, that another civilization attacks the Earth, and so on. In all of my life I have never met such a fact or event, or something similar, as a result of which one could with some certainty and credibility say, that this was appearance of an extraterrestrial civilization. In all of my life, regretfully, nothing like that happened. At the same time, if we, for example, will find explanations for all of that…Here in Russia now, for some years there is research, various experiments; at their core lies, to say generally, registration of the Galactic and Universal influence on the Earth. If one can imagine this entire world…
AE: “In this file people write… “I saw a strange object, a luminescent cloud”. This is not a hallucination; here he exactly…”
NAS: “And I want to address this point…how one can explain such things. Here, based on the results of the work that is being performed here in Russia. What is the heart of the problem? If we imagine this Earth where we live-it is constantly subjected to the effects of the external environment. In fact, we have…we have gravitational fields. Further…we have the Sun, and gigantic energy of the Sun comes to the Earth. Correct? Then, we have heavy planets, we have galaxy, we have so-called “relic radiation”; we have a tremendous amount of electromagnetic fields with different frequencies, and so on. And human being, it is also such a being that has everything moving inside, shifts. You know, there is some aura around a human being; a human being emits some radiation, and so forth and so forth. As a principle, one cannot exclude that in conjunction with certain factors and creation of certain fields, with manifestation of certain electromagnetic fields with certain frequencies there comes some influence on human beings. And results of these studies demonstrate, really definitely and truly demonstrate, that a human being, entering into the area of influence of such natural phenomena…he starts changing, this human being. That is, in principle, he comes to the point where he ceases to comprehend. That is, entering into the field, into this zone, that can continue for dozens of minutes… he becomes inadequate, this human being”.
AE: “Can the same objects often be called hallucinations?”
NAS: “Quite so …in the mind of the human being affected by all that, it can (be a hallucination-P.S.), on one hand. On the other hand, because the Earth, too, is not of one origin, that is, there are so-called break-up lines. What is the break-up line? To speak figuratively, it is electrolyte. In the fissure, there is electrolyte. And as this is electrolyte, and imagine, there is some movement of this firmness, naturally it comes (movement-P.S.), currents are registered, and the mechanism…of the equipment in the cables registers currents up to 27 amperes!
AE: Can you imagine the power that comes as a result of these waves, radiation that comes from the very Earth?
NAS: Neutron streams. Neutron streams, they come from space, neutron streams come from the Earth. And this gigantic energy component in various shapes…and what is a human being in comparison to all this power as such? The water, too…it is the stuff that, as it is said, the original mother of all that exists.”
AE: “These accumulated documents the ufologists nicknamed Blue File…Do you know the fate of the Blue File (name given for the KGB UFO documents PS), what happened with it, after ufologists were given these documents?”
NAS: “Also, there was some interest two-three years ago in the same subject, in this file. I offered them to just meet, I know some ufologists, I offered to meet them in order to…and I organized this meeting; I do not know what happened after that, but I did previously speak with these comrades on the subject of all these documents. And they said, generally, with regret, with resentment, they told me that all of the materials that had been accumulated in the institutes and so on, it did, to say figuratively, left Russia.
AE: “They say, for five hundred dollars…”
NAS: “In fact…with such (great-P.S.) resentment I was told of all these things. Indeed, some unscrupulous people used the situation, the lawlessness and uncertainty that exist in the country, and tried to make business out of it. And in fact, these materials left the country”.
AE: “I can give this example. The letter was addressed to Pavel Popovich. Three days ago we posed a question to Popovich, and he said: let me go through this file, I want to understand, what is there, because he (Popovich-P.S.) did not see.
NAS: “In this case, it was, so to say, the enthusiasts of this field (ufology-P.S.), they are in the world, enthusiasts of this field, because a human being in its essence is such, he needs something that is always certain, that is why people have sorts of hobbies…”
AE: “How seriously can we take these here shots of the flying saucer?”
NAS: “Firstly, I know absolutely nothing about this. This is the first thing. I can only comment that in the Soviet Union during the period of, so to say, blooming of the rocket-space system industry here, every year more than 100 satellites of various types had been launched. We had that main spacecraft that is still with us, the piloted Soyuz craft, and its descending capsule. At the same time, our other organizations developed completely different systems, including (those for-P.S.) evacuation of the crew, and landings. These systems had been tested, and really they were in their essence, unique, these systems. It seems to me, one of the emergency breakdown situations connected to the experimental work to develop these systems, is depicted in this film. This is most likely. Usually, when there was an emergency breakdown situation, naturally, the site would be sealed off, and experts would arrive there. In principle, all these developments were conducted in the interests of the Ministry of Defense, interests of the Armed Forces. They were not the only developments; they were done in the interests of the Ministry of Defense.
AE: “And that, precisely, is what could have taken place?”
NAS: “Quite right. That very “Buran” (This was a Soviet attempt to create a space-shuttle like vehicle PS) that we created, the orbital craft, it was preceded by a bunch of experiments, connected with tests of various models and so on and so forth. That is, we had a massive volume of undertakings in that direction; various undertakings. Long-term orbital stations, like Mir, this currently international…All of this was preceded by military developments, they were completed these military developments, they were in use and so on”
AE: “If this here autopsy took place, would you be informed?” (Most likely TNT TV show The Secret KGB Files broadcast in the USA in l998).
NAS: “Of course, naturally...Such event, it just could have gone unnoticed, could not have. Why? Because the KGB, counterintelligence, it was concerned with all our military-industrial sites, that is why…such event, if it truly took place, of course the KGB would have been in the know. I have no doubts about that whatsoever. That is why here, whatever is taking place (in the film-P.S.), and I do not know what it is. Why? Because, in reality, experiments did take place…
And then, we had lots of programs for the study of the planets of the Solar system. If you look at all the apparatuses, which descend, be it on Mars, be it Venus or our moonwalkers and so on. And there, imagine, how many experiments were conducted here on Earth to supply this or other Martian program, or a program connected with launch of our apparatuses to Venus? These apparatuses were of various shapes. Mostly, of course, they were spherical. Why? Because, for example, it lands on Venus with a parachute, naturally, the best is the spherical shape. As for the strategic weapons that we had created…Strategic weapons, before they are added to the armory, they (weapons-P.S.) go through a whole series of design experiments. When it flies, the missile, one part separates, the second part separates, the third…There are emergency landings, with breakdowns, and the missile has these discs, these parts…There can be anything, in fact…and in all the cases, you can imagine, you prepare for turning over for utilization some strategic complex. And suddenly, in the final stage, an emergency breakdown takes place. The chief, general designer, he has to understand the reason for this breakdown that is why all fragments we had were always collected. And always, special units were dispatched…”
AE: “Nikolay Alekseyevich, in 1991, with this file, at that moment, what was your position in the KGB?”
NAS: “From September ‘91 I was Deputy Chairman of KGB and remained at that position until June of ‘92. And, then left because of health reasons”.
AE: “In your service, what did you oversee or control that is connected with what we now call UFO; what units and projects were under your control?”
NAS: “That subject of UFO appeared in mid ‘70s. I already mentioned...From mid-‘70s there was a sharp increase, related to these unidentified flying objects. There was a resolution of the government and Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to conduct related projects to bring clarity to these phenomena that took place in the country. This resolution was made, and all law enforcement agencies-Ministry of defense, KGB, Ministry of Interior Affairs-were obliged to receive information from citizens regarding such events and send this information to the center.
Thus, this system was created, worked out, and from all the corners of the nation, wherever something happened, related to such events and phenomena, all this came to us, to the Center. And from the Academy side, several institutes were obliged to conduct research of the phenomena that were registered on Earth.
The Institute for Space Studies was designated to be the main one. And for several years this work had been conducted; it was completed some time in mid ‘80s; a report, a fundamental report was produced, where, generally, all collected matters, related to the events in this or that corner of the country, all were put on shelves, systemized, materials were related to every (appropriate-P.S.) event, location of the event, time of the event, what eyewitnesses, what did they observe, what did they feel at the time, what effects and what shape the thing had-all this was systemized; they even made tabular shapes, shapes and silhouettes (outlines-P.S.) of UFOs that had appeared in the atmosphere.
In most cases, experts went to the most interesting sites. Performed appropriate measurements, conducted questioning of eyewitnesses, and conducted various researches of sorts, and so on. And as a result some conclusion was made for every event.
I remember, around seventy percent of the events were provided with real and objective explanations. What were they connected with? Tests of aviation technology, missile technology, launches of space objects, parts of spacecraft objects falling into the atmosphere, aircraft technology disasters, some cataclysms in nature connected with something being discarded and so on. That is, everywhere they found an explanation.
But in thirty percent of cases, it is as if half of an explanation was given, but not a single one, meaning that yes, something took place, but facts that certainly confirm what is, are not sufficient. And in some instances, simply due to lack of information and due to dearth of any material proof at the incident site, no conclusions were made.
The annual report was completed somewhere in mid ‘80s. The KGB itself, naturally, did not research these issues; we did not have such direction. There simply was collection, gathering; and periodically the materials, as they say, were dumped into the Institute of Space Studies or other departments, depending again on the contents of an event, as they say. That is what took place”.
AE: “Who took the lead in the government to issue resolutions; was it Brezhnev himself; did it fascinate him, was he interested in it? Why all of a sudden in the mid ‘70s this resolution came about, and who took the lead?”
NAS: “I do not know about taking lead. After all, at the time we had a military-industrial commission, and in cat, many things were originated there. But who specifically at the military-industrial commission all of a sudden took the lead, I do not remember…Most likely it (the initiative-P.S.) could had been the military-industrial commission, or, let’s assume, we had the rocket-space technology field; the Ministry of General Engineering Industry, it could have come from there. Or, for example, from the same Academy of Sciences. That is, where would the initiative come from? Well, the initiative came about because the media, as they say, began to play up with things, as such. And since it began to play up, our government and Party always reacted to such things. I cannot say who took the lead with the release of the resolution. The topic was named, I recall, Setka AN (A sharp increase in UFO activity in l977/78 had forced the appropriate departments with the USSR Academy of Sciences to agree a research program for anomalous phenomena. The code name for this program was SETKA AN-P.S.), the name of this subject, the Setka AN program. And since then…”
AE: “Why Setka AN?”
NAS: “I do not know why it was exactly Setka AN. I cannot say. That did not interest us; what was interesting was why? Because…As a matter of principle, all these things, (unclear)… that take place in the atmosphere, and that assume such various forms, all this, generally, first of all are connected with, of course, power engineering, with electromagnetic fields, with massive radiation that surround us. This radiation…just the enumeration, as they say, God knows how much there is, starting with… (unclear)…was given a Noble Prize for discovering this relic radiation. These scientists had discovered first, launching a specialized satellite, and see how the Americans had developed that topic, and received a Noble Prize for it. And our program was terminated, did not get to be developed.
End of interview.
You don’t have to be Einstein to see that Sham is still a little guarded all these years later. It is nonetheless interesting to note that he readily admits that a large percentage of things did remain unidentified and he did clarify what western researchers had speculated about for years, the fact that the Soviets used UFO stories to mask weapons testing. The reason for this is that they were breaking a number of international treaties at the time.
I would like to thank NTV in Moscow for allowing us permission to reproduce this interview and my colleague Paul Stonehill for its translation.