Mar 15, 2021 I Paul Seaburn

UFO Seen by Many in Siberia Over the Infamous ‘Road of Bones’

If a UFO falls in Siberia, can any Russian officials agree on what it was? If the recent bright ball of flaming UFO recorded passing over the village of Ust-Nera is any indication, the answer is a resounding “Nyet!” Some say rocket, some say meteor, some say falling batteries (really!), but no one seems to be saying “Da, I agree with you.” Could it have something to do with the fact that the road leading into Ust-Nera is called the “Road of Bones”?

“A video from the remote, frozen northern Russian village of Ust-Nera has gone viral online after locals spotted a seemingly burning unidentified flying object, with a clearly visible trail in the pitch-black Siberian night sky. Ust-Nera, which has a population of around 5,000, is one of the world’s coldest permanently inhabited settlements, with current temperatures dropping to around -32C at night. Founded in the 1930s, it is located on what is known as the ‘Road of Bones’.” reported that the flaming object passed over Ust-Nera at 8 pm on March 12 and posted a video from a witness (watch it here). The initial theory as to the cause of the UFO came from Viktor Grokhovsky, “an expert on meteorites at the Russian Academy of Sciences,” who blamed the UFO on 2.5 tons of dead batteries reportedly dumped by the crew of the International Space Station on March 11. Grokhovsky doesn’t say if they were Russian or American batteries, but Georgy Goncharov from the Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences disagreed, saying he thought it was a meteorite.

"Judging by the US Air Force data published on the website, this object could well have been the Fregat upper stage, which in 2009 put the Meteor-M satellite into orbit."

Ironically named Meteor satellite

While the U.S. space program seems to have no official comment on the UFO, Sputnik News (via reports that Russian space expert Igor Lysov checked it out with the US Air Force website and thinks the object was part of a Russian rocket used in 2009 to launch a Meteor-M weather satellite -- a series of spacecraft that date back to the Soviet Union days, as do the “Fregat” upper stage rockets. The Russian site reported that Roscosmos, the Russian space program, approved that message.

Cyclone 3 rocket launching Meteor 3 satellite 640x456
Rocket launching Meteor series satellite

So, why did one scientist blame ISS batteries (which, by the way, won’t burn out in the atmosphere for at least two years) and another blame a meteor? Could it have something to do with the Road of Bones? R504 Kolyma Highway is so cold, drivers won’t turn their ignitions off for fear of not being able to start them up again and freezing to death. However, the “Kolyma” in its name refers to a different kind of bones – the bones of those who died in Gulag camps along the Kolyma riverbed. Former Kolyma prisoner Varlam Shalamov wrote of working outside in temperatures as low as -50°C (-58°F) to mine iron ores, radioactive uranium and gold. Gold in Siberia?

“One of the most difficult labor was gold mining - workers had to wash up gold in water, even in the coldest days. They were not fed enough, they didn’t have proper clothes for such frost and their gloves (if they ever had ones) didn’t dry out. They constantly got frostbites and suffered from a range of illnesses, from dystrophy to tuberculosis, which they couldn’t get treatment for.”

As Russia Beyond explains, Russian officials cared more for the materials than the men, so they built more than 3,000 km (1864 miles) of roads, including a more than 2,000 km (1,242 miles) stretch from the city of Magadan to Yakutsk – the ‘Kolyma tract’ that earned its nickname -- ‘Road of Bones’ – by taking 20 frigid years to build in order to take minerals out of a Gulag that killed more than more than 125 thousand people while it was in operation.

Is the 'Just a rocket part from 2009 … nothing to see here … move along' statement by Russian officials an attempt to hide the shame of the Road of Bones? Perhaps we should thank the UFO for lighting up Ust-Nera. Sadly, there are far too many things in this world we should “never forget.”

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

Join MU Plus+ and get exclusive shows and extensions & much more! Subscribe Today!