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Aleshenka (Russian: Алёшенька, Alyoshenka, a hypocoristic for the Russian male first name Alexey) was a small human fetus allegedly found in the village of Kaolinovy, near Kyshtym, Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia in August 1996. Aleshenka was found by an old woman, Tamara Vasilievna Prosvirina, who was mentally ill. The fetus had an unusual appearance, giving rise to rumours of its extraterrestrial origin. The local population readily supported this rumour, collecting easy money from reporters for interviews – at least two Japanese companies (Asahi TV and MTV Japan) made documentaries about the fetus.
Aleshenka was a greyish fetus about twenty-five centimetres (9.8 in) in length. Its hairless head had a number of dark spots. The eyes were large, occupying most of the face. It breathed through a small nose below the eyes.
A few days after the discovery, Tamara Prosvirina was admitted to a psychiatric hospital for treatment, and Aleshenka's corpse (the time and cause of death unknown) was passed on to local militsiya (police) by a neighbour. In 1999, Prosvirina was killed in an automobile accident in an attempt to escape the hospital.
Very little is known about what happened to Aleshenka Erashov’s remains, and accounts of its death and appearance vary greatly. A local ufologist claimed that the corpse was taken away by a UFO inhabited by members of Aleshenka's species. Some sceptics hold that it was bought by a wealthy collector of curiosities. A doctor from the local hospital who had allegedly seen the corpse claimed that it corresponded to a normal 20-25 week human foetus, prematurely born. It could have lived for several hours, but not several weeks, contrary to Prosvirina's claims.
According to genetic experts at the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics], DNA analysis of the clothes Aleshenka was wrapped in revealed no evidence that "he" was extraterrestrial. On April 15, 2004, the scientists made an official statement that the "Kyshtym creature" was a premature female human infant, with severe deformities.
The Kyshtym disaster of 1957 (Level 6 on the International Nuclear Event Scale) seriously contaminated the area with radiation and greatly affected the health of local population. Strange deformities of a human fetus could possibly be caused by long-term effects of radiation.