A story is circulating around the Internet that suggests Russia has known about alien civilizations for many decades.
Part of this fantastic tale involves a UFO that allegedly crashed in 1969, was recovered by Russian military (see image below) and a dead alien that was reportedly autopsied, according to TheVoiceofRussia.com.
If this scenario sounds familiar, it's probably because of the most fabled and legendary story involving an alleged crashed UFO and the subsequent autopsy of its alien crew: Roswell, N.M., where those events supposedly occurred in 1947.
Despite official explanations that it was a secret military spy balloon that came down in New Mexico, the Roswell crash has kept the public enthralled for decades.
Not to be outdone, the nearly identical story emerged from the Soviet Union about an unknown craft that crashed near the former district of Sverdlovsk in 1969.
Maybe it's just easier to pronounce Roswell vs. Sverdlovsk. But before we get all excited about the Soviet UFO-autopsy story, it should be pointed out that it's not new. The twist in this storyline is why the Russian event is suddenly getting more media attention than it has in the past.
This entire alleged incident was actually reported on a 1998 TNT special, "The Secret KGB UFO Files," and hosted by former James Bond actor Roger Moore. The program showed startling filmed segments of the alleged UFO crash -- as well as several minutes of the supposed autopsy of the dead alien.
CAUTION: Whether or not the autopsy is real, the following video is quite graphic.
Most serious UFO researchers consider this story to be a complete hoax.
In his 1998 review of "The Secret KGB UFO Files," NBC News space consultant, former rocket scientist and UFO skeptic James Oberg pointed out how a disclaimer at the beginning of the program said: "What you are about to see may or may not be true."
"And at the end," Oberg writes, "two screens full of warning messages were even more to the point. One paragraph read: 'The Producers disclaim and do not guarantee the accuracy or truthfulness [of] any of the documentation or materials that have been provided by any source ... The materials and opinion presented on this program, including documents, film, photo, or video footage come from the sources and are not the responsibility of the Producers.'
"They couldn't have been more explicit in their announcement that the whole series of episodes about the recovery of a crashed flying saucer in 1969 near Sverdlovsk, and a subsequent autopsy ... was a made-up story with posed footage," Oberg wrote.
If, indeed, this was all a staged hoax, why would The Voice of Russia -- which currently broadcasts to 109 million listeners in 160 countries and is considered one of the top five radio broadcasters in the world -- suddenly circulate this story again now?
The Voice of Russia also includes references to unconfirmed reports that a UFO crashed or was shot down near the city of Prohlandnyi, in the USSR on Aug. 10, 1989. Like the previous story, this one included alleged alien bodies.
Those aren't the only dubious stories involving UFOs and aliens to originate in Russia without any major media fanfare in the U.S. or anywhere else.
Earlier this year, the Russian Internet newspaper, Pravda.ru, suggested that a group of scientists had been in contact with extraterrestrials.
According to Pravda, a retired Ministry of Defense official, Alexey Savin, revealed to journalists that "in the late 1980s, a group of researchers from the Expert Management Unit of General Staff managed to make a contact with representatives of another civilization."
The Pravda story reported how the Ministry of Defense, in the mid 1980s, "organized a large-scale study of paranormal phenomena. The military training site was not a random choice. Experts have long come to the conclusion that UFOs inevitably appear in places where military equipment and weapons are tested."
Vasily Yeremenko, a member of the Academy of Security, Defense and Law Enforcement -- and formerly with the Soviet Union's security agency, the KGB -- was quoted by Pravda as saying that "the UFO topic today is ubiquitous. Precisely because of its scandalous nature, serious scientists are not willing to identify their position on this issue."
Aside from the question of why the 1969 crashed UFO-ET autopsy is making the rounds again, is it a surprise that mainstream U.S. media hasn't paid more attention to these stories over the years?