In our country, the broad masses like to represent Americans as slightly limited people. This is a tradition, and it probably will not change, in the same way as the attitude of the United States towards the rest of the world will not change: they consider them to be “smaller brothers”. However, if we want to get a real idea of the processes taking place in the States, then it is useful to separate our ideas about them from the country itself.
When “Rossiyskaya Gazeta”, through the mouth of its journalist Vladislav Vorobyov, declares that Sarah Palin confused the Czech Republic and Chechnya after the Boston terrorist attacks and said: “Let's shoot a couple of nuclear missiles in Islamabad, we will burn Prague, then we will bomb, fucking, Tehran” is our idea about "dumb Americans." In life, the quoted “words of Palin” came up with a satirical electronic edition of The Daily Сurrant, which in its entire history has not published a single serious message. In other words, not the “level of intelligence of this“ American politician ”undoubtedly surpasses it,” as Mr. Vorobyov believes, but rather the level of a journalist of the Rossiyskaya Gazeta, as well as the masses of his colleagues who repeated this stand-up nonsense. Or give comments to an article in The Daily Сurrant: “Do you understand that The Daily Сurrant is a satirical site? Those who call Sarah Palin ignorant need a long look in the mirror. We promise: you will find the real ignoramus there. ”
In November, 1983, the armed forces of the USSR and the USA could arrange such a memorable spectacle more than 50 000 times in a row. This world would be enough for a long time ...
Well, let's follow this wise advice and look into America as a mirror of Russian statehood.
November 2 NATO's 1983, the start of the ten-day Able Archer 83 exercise. Exercises as exercises, only in their course, actions in the event of a nuclear war were practiced, including a simulation of the launch of nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles throughout the USSR. There were other nice details: in particular, the readiness of DEFCON 1 was announced. To make it clearer, we recall that during the 1962 Caribbean crisis of the year, there was a readiness of DEFCON 2, which is also a “red readiness”. DEFCON 1 is "white readiness", its description in the relevant literature briefly: "Nuclear war is inevitable." Of course, it could not be declared seriously, since DEFCON 1 required a real nuclear attack of the enemy, so it was also simulated. The trouble was that during the 1983 exercise, new unique communication codes and a complete radio silence mode were used for the first time, and the heads of state of NATO were involved.
From the foregoing, it is obvious that in the United States they did not understand the depth of penetration of Soviet intelligence organizations into the NATO military machine. For the USSR, it all looked like a real DEFCON 1 - that is, a nuclear war. The reaction was predictable: the Strategic Missile Forces were transferred to readiness number XXUMX (analogue of DEFCON 1), but not simulated, but real, and air force units relocated to the GDR and Poland.
What is even sadder, all this took place at a rather specific time. Ten months after these exercises, Ronald Reagan, checking the microphone before addressing the American people, said right before the broadcast: “My compatriots are Americans, I am pleased to inform you today that I signed a decree declaring Russia outlawed forever. Bombing will start in five minutes. ” This joke, uttered, as he thought, in a narrow circle, of course, was immediately heard in the USSR. TASS, of course, strongly condemned the "unprecedentedly hostile attack by the US President." And eight months before the teachings, the same man called the USSR an evil empire at all.
It cannot be said that the Soviet leaders were shocked. In May, 1981-th at a closed meeting of the Politburo of the CPSU Central Committee, where high-ranking KGB officers, L.I. Brezhnev and the KGB chairman Yu. V. Andropov were invited, said that the US was preparing a nuclear attack on the USSR. Allegedly, in order to develop countermeasures, Andropov announced the launch of Operation RYAN (“Nuclear Rocket Attack”) conducted by the KGB and the GRU. Details are unclear. The use of such a transparent abbreviation for the name of a secret operation looks strange, and the only source for it is the defector Oleg Gordievsky, the former colonel of the PGU KGB.
The decision of the USSR was not even the answer to Reagan’s rhetoric, but to the deployment of X-NUMX ballistic missiles “Pershing-108” in Western Europe, the flight time of which to the targets in the European part of the USSR did not exceed 2 – 4 minutes. Of course, it can be said that this was a response to the US backlog in nuclear weapons from the USSR by the middle of 6. But Soviet leaders believed that the medium-range missiles RSD-70 in Europe are not threatened by the United States. And so they were somewhat surprised by the deployment of American medium-range missiles in the Old World (the USSR, on the contrary, threatened). From their point of view, the Pershing were dangerous because they left too little time for a retaliatory strike, and a preventive nuclear missile strike became the only effective means of defense for the USSR. Thus, perceiving Able Archer 10 as a disguise of a real attack, Andropov was going to sanction just such a preemptive strike.
According to some open materials by the CIA, Moscow sent new instructions to its residencies in NATO countries, which explicitly stated that Operation RYAN "now lies at the core of [Soviet] military strategy," and the warning about a NATO strike should give the USSR "time to retaliate . Otherwise, the deadline for the act of retaliation will be extremely small. "
From this, the CIA analyst concludes that in fact the USSR planned preventive, not retaliation. Why? “If they receive allegedly reliable information about the impending attack from the United States, it will not make sense for them to wait for the start of this attack in order to undertake a retaliatory response. It will make sense for them to try to destroy American missiles before they take off, ”says Benjamin B. Fischer, a prominent CIA analyst.
It is very difficult for our compatriot to understand what he means, because the reasoning looks like wishful thinking: the American intelligence officer decides what makes sense for the Soviet leadership and what it does not have, and makes a decision on this basis.
It is stupid in the first place because of the vagueness that it makes sense in the eyes of the concrete Soviet leadership, and that it is not. Say, in May of 1941, G. K. Zhukov wrote the following to Stalin: in the conditions of concentration of the German army on our border, "she has the opportunity to warn us in deployment and deliver a sudden blow"; it makes sense to “prevent this (and crush the German army) ... to preempt the enemy in deployment and attack the German army at the moment when it will be at the deployment stage and will not have time to organize the front and interaction of the arms of the armed forces.” Nevertheless, for the Soviet leadership at that moment Zhukov’s idea did not make sense. One can argue for a long time about why, but the fact remains: the logic of the leaders of that time is already being tried to understand 72 of the year, but there is no obvious success. Why did Benjamin Fisher decide that Andropov’s thinking was better than Stalin’s?
But put yourself in the analyst’s place. He worked all his life against the evil empire, vigorous and self-assured, who craftily and prudently prepared the revolution throughout the world. In his eyes, Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, then Pol Pot), a third of Africa, and then Afghanistan disappeared in the flame of the latter. Yes, maybe everything was different, you say. But this was how our country was perceived, and, based on this vision, a preemptive strike from the USSR was logical.
Note that we do not know anything about the real intentions of Andropov. But suppose that the American intelligence officer is right, and the ex-head of the KGB, and at that time simply the general secretary really wanted to erase the United States and the rest of the world with post-nuclear dust. Why not erased?
The question of what is there, interesting. Able Archer 83 could not be distinguished by any human forces from a real war. Yes, the coffins of the NATO troops were not harvested, but the fuel and reinforced ammunition for them were delivered, and Reagan, unfortunately, was not a Soviet spy and could not reassure our leadership, explaining that simulating missile launches and “white readiness” is just a joke, as his future phrase, "The bombing of the USSR will begin in five minutes."
There are two versions of the one who saved the world in this situation, telling the Soviet side the truth about the teachings and removing the secretary’s unwavering finger from the conventional red button. One of them was told by Oleg Gordievsky and his friends from MI-6. According to him, having learned from Gordievsky (at that time, a double agent) about the “panic” in the Soviet leadership, because under the guise of the West’s training is preparing for a nuclear strike on the USSR, the United States and Great Britain were able to reduce the accuracy of imitation exercises of a real strike, that reassured the USSR and allowed the West to avoid a preemptive strike from the Soviet side, which had a more powerful nuclear arsenal. In some retellings, it is added that Gordiyevsky’s reports that NATO had no real intentions to attack in November 1983 also calmed the Soviet leadership.
Notice, we said that “Oleg Gordievsky and his friends from MI-6” think so. The CIA in the face of Benjamin Fisher slightly doubts the details. His sources agree: after Gordievsky London sent a clear message to Washington: “Stop helping the hawks and start supporting the pigeons”. But it is unclear how analytic conclusions were based on Gordiyevsky’s information, and how much the British top’s own thoughts, led by Thatcher, are.
The most amazing thing in this version is different. When it was reported to Reagan that the USSR was afraid of his first strike, he was shocked. It is hard to believe, but, according to him, he was very surprised to find out that “many Soviet leaders fear [the Americans] not just as opponents, but as potential aggressors ... who can strike them first with the help of a nuclear weapons».
Recall: it says a man for whom the USSR was only a variation on the theme of Nazi Germany, a global superpower-cannibal. Of course, he was surprised at the thought of the cannibal’s fear that his “victim” (“free world”) would suddenly be the first to devour him.
But we would not unconditionally trust the version that Gordievsky, an agent of the USSR in London, saved the world alone. For there is another story on the same topic: it’s only the defeats that have no fathers, and there will always be more than one challenger to save the world. German citizen Rainer Wolfgang Rupp, recruited by the Stasi (more precisely - Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung) in 1968, in 1983, worked in the political department of the NATO Economics Directorate, where he massively photographed NATO documents up to Cosmic Top Secret, which translated into Russian means roughly "Dream scout".
It is clear that the level of trust in him was extremely high: suffice it to say that it was he who delivered the MC 161 document to the Soviet bloc. 5 January 2008 of the television program of the British fourth channel "1983: on the Edge of the Apocalypse", he said that during the exercise he sent using a transmitter disguised as a calculator, a Stasi message in which he indicated that NATO is not planning a sudden nuclear attack under the guise of an exercise. As he claims, it played a crucial role in preventing a preventive nuclear attack by the USSR. By the way, citizens from the CIA consider his opinion not unfounded.
So choose for yourself the world in which you prefer to live — saved by a Soviet traitor or a West German Stasi agent.
And let us allow us to avoid such a choice between “good” and “even more good”. All that we know about that era is crying to heaven: decisions about the destruction of enemy countries and coalitions in the Soviet bloc were not taken by such a state as the GDR. Only the Soviet leadership could accept them, and he could not be convinced by the solitary statement of his KGB colonel in England or by the message of the Stasi agent from Brussels.
Time Magazine knowingly put them on the cover. It was easy to call any of them not only the “man of the year”, but also much stronger words: not every time the fate of the world depends on people who represent absolute evil in a vacuum in the place of their enemy and are ready to harass it to good post-nuclear desertification.
We do not know how many sources the Secretary General of the Central Committee of the CPSU had and how much information about the intentions of NATO received. The same Rainer Rupp “burned down”, he served a German prison and became known to the public only because the GDR fell and its documents fell into the hands of the United States. The USSR fell, but its documents passed away the hands of the Western powers, because we have no idea how many “Reiners Rupps” Andropov had.
But the matter is not even in intelligence, which, most likely, “reported exactly,” without any Stasi agents and overdone traitors. Strictly speaking, in general, no shaft of messages about the intentions of a likely enemy, as historical experience shows, did not guarantee that the Soviet leadership would believe in him.
For it believed only to itself. Even Andropov, who was extremely serious about the work on which he grew up, was no exception. Any information from intelligence was only food for the mind, and Soviet leaders always left themselves analysis and decisions. Andropov was not just a soft gasket between a button and an imaginary first-strike threat from the West — he was the main part of this button. And ultimately, in the main, to his sanity, we owe it to the fact that all of humanity did not burn in the flames of nuclear war.
But what makes the brightest impression in this whole story: both the USA and the USSR quite seriously, having mentally healthy people as leaders, believed that the other side was asleep and saw how to be the first to strike with nuclear weapons. As in the famous film: “I’m surely cheating, and more than once, the whole world is in dust!” But when something like this is said by an alcoholic ensign, you can understand it. Surprisingly, both countries, which determined the destinies of the whole world in 1983, were headed by people who were not far from the ensign in the ability to put themselves in the place of a hostile nation.
In 1983, the threat of nuclear war was more real than ever since the Caribbean crisis, and maybe even more real. And the only reason for it was the absolute misunderstanding of the Soviet and American leadership thinking each other. Both sides considered themselves moral and sane, believing that a nuclear war would kill both the victor and the vanquished. But the leader of the enemies, they totally denied both morality and a sound assessment of the situation. Reagan’s jokes about the bombing of the USSR in 1984 were therefore taken as seriously as the tales of a satirical site that major American politicians are proposing to launch a nuclear strike on the Czech Republic in 2013.
So you say the cold war is over?
Based on materials from the CIA and other sources.