For the first time, I, an employee of nuclear Arzamas-16, found myself in the spacious office of Viktor Mikhailov - another deputy minister of atomic energy and industry of the USSR in the nuclear weapons complex - in the summer of 1991. The nuclear armourers were then called blind hawks, and Mikhailov, in response, publicly stated: “Yes, I am a hawk” - and later also called his book. But this was not a statement of the war advocate, but a position of a fighter and at the same time a staunch supporter of peace. In the 2003 year, after our return from China, where the Chinese made a flight to Tibet especially for him, he told me: "In the blue eyes of Tibetan children I saw the secret of the world." On the world where nuclear weapon Russia excludes war, he worked.
When we met, he turned 57 years old, and he was full of strength and energy. The voice is confident, but without the nobility, manners are also confident, but also without the nobility. We talked for more than half an hour about the role and significance of nuclear weapons to ensure a stable world and stopped at the time when he will be in Sarov, we will discuss more specifically how to defend common sense in approaches to the problem of nuclear weapons.
NUCLEAR PROBLEMS IN THE EPOCH OF CHANGES
There were times when the previously “closed” gunsmiths had to fight in the information and analytical field, to engage in the ideological defense of nuclear weapons work, and Mikhailov, as they say, supported all this with half a turn. In particular, the difficult idea of holding an Arsenamas 16 on the basis of the All-Union Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics of the Sarov Colloquium on International Cooperation and Global Stability was being seriously worked out. Such a colloquium was thought of as a kind of alternative to the Pugwash movement, more and more pro-American and non-constructive.
A project was being conceived in collaboration with the USSR Foreign Affairs magazine International Affairs, preliminary materials were already being prepared, even a draft invitation to Sarov Margaret Thatcher was written, which had a reputation as a supporter of nuclear weapons. However, August 1991 had a bad memory. Mikhailov believed that in the conditions of the impending collapse of the state, the significance of the nuclear factor as a stabilization factor only intensifies, but the project has buried the avalanche of surging meanest events.
This avalanche swept away in 1992, not just individual ideas - entire industries collapsed. In the USSR, there was a powerful "nine" defense ministries. This scientific and technical community determined not only the military, but also the pioneering capabilities of Soviet Russia in many branches of knowledge and economics. Skilfully used the potential of the “nine” could give the country a lot, but in 1992, none of the ministries found a single weighty and active defender of the interests of native industries, each of which was associated with the interests of the state and society. The only exception was the Ministry of Atomic Energy and Industry (MAEP) - MAEP had Mikhailov!
A critical moment arose - Russia's nuclear status was at stake, while it ensured the preservation of the Russian civilization principle in world culture. The loss of the nuclear industry was fraught with the loss of the Russia we had. And then “Professor M.” - as it was at the turn of 80-s and 90-s, newspapers began to be called without smoothing corners and expressions, said at a meeting with Yeltsin that the nuclear industry is not the property of Yeltsin or Mikhailov, but the common property of the peoples Russia and the result of strenuous efforts of several generations of Russian nuclear scientists. Without a single nuclear industry there is no Russia. Even at the peak of the collapse, this position was impossible to ignore, and on March 2 of 1992, a decree was signed on the formation of the Ministry of Atomic Energy of the Russian Federation with the appointment of Viktor Mikhailov as Minister.
So a major weapons physicist became the first Russian "atomic" minister. There were already many exciting and significant successes in his life - successful charges and measurement methods, successful field experiments and managerial decisions. But the behavior of Viktor Nikitovich at that historical stage in the life of Russia is undoubtedly his “star minute”, which becomes the result of all his previous life and then illuminates his whole future life.
As minister he attracted not only professionalism, decisiveness, quick reaction, open stance, but also non-demonstrative democracy, although he was by no means simple and could be on his mind and be.
Victor Nikitovich, without a doubt, was the last truly bright figure in the domestic nuclear industry. I will not prevaricate, and I will say that he did not always and not in all endure the mark to the end. However, Mikhailov secured a worthy place in history - not only in the history of the largest industry, but also in the history of Russia: he retained the Soviet Atomic Ministry (the legendary Sredmash) in the form of the Ministry of Atomic Energy of Russia.
Russia's nuclear weapons are the result of the activity of the entire industry, and not only of its part, which is called the nuclear weapon complex. The nuclear industry was created as a single organism, developed comprehensively and is needed by Russia precisely as cooperation, in which everything is mutually intertwined - fundamental research and problems of safe energy, weapons problems and the extraction of raw uranium raw materials, military and peaceful electronics and the production of special materials.
It was the integrity of the industry defended by Mikhailov. At the same time, the industry core of the industry was nuclear weapons, while the highest final “product” of nuclear weapons was a modern, high-tech and highly safe nuclear weapon (YaBP). The YaBP is the initial rung of the long ladder along which Russia ascends to the top of effective defense power. That is such a power that provides us with the outside world and the confidence in its preservation in any event in the world. That was the essence of the matter and the life of Academician Mikhailov, his associates and colleagues.
And he started in the 1958 year, where he started all the outstanding gunsmiths of the first call, that is, in KB-11, in the closed “Arzamas-16”. Born in the ancient Russian land, the son of a soldier of the Great Patriotic War, who died at the front in 1943, he was at the center of the development of Russia's most important weapon - nuclear. While still studying at the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, Viktor Mikhailov passed the theoretical “Landau-minimum” to academician Lev Landau himself, and selected him to the “Object” - the only one of that year’s release - academician Yakov Zeldovich. Mikhailova's diploma work at the “Object” commission, whose members were two acting academicians, physicists Andrei Sakharov and Yakov Zeldovich, and one future academician and future lieutenant-general, chief designer of nuclear charges, Yevgeny Negin. Three members of the commission were seven "Golden Stars" of Heroes of Socialist Labor. Mikhailov did not have time to get his “Golden Star”, but his path may well be called a star one.
In 1990, the situation in the nuclear weapons complex was alarming, and the scientific director of Arzamas-16, the All-Union Research Institute of Experimental Physics, Yuli Khariton sent a letter to the USSR President Gorbachev, which began: “Deep concern for the fate and state of the nuclear weapons complex of our state made I appeal to you ... ".
Academician Khariton wrote about the state of weapon centers, personnel problems that arise, weapons safety and the need to resume nuclear test sites, which "are a key stage in confirming their (nuclear weapons. - S.) technical characteristics: combat effectiveness, reliability and security. "
Khariton made a request for a personal meeting (as Gorbachev did not hold), and ended the letter with the following words: “The material presented reflects not just my thoughts, but also the sum of their discussions with the scientific leadership of the institutes (corresponding members of the Academy of Sciences, vol. Trtnev Yu. A. and Avrorin E.N.) and the only person in our Ministry who understands the problem as a whole is our former researcher, now Deputy Minister T. Mikhailov V.N. ”
The score of the master and the Teacher is more than complimentary.
Working in Sarov and then in Moscow, Mikhailov did a lot to solve the problem of physical measurements during field tests. The field work was, if I may say so, the passion of Mikhailov, he gave her a lot of strength and talent. Yes, Russian nuclear weapons are not weapons of war, but a means of eliminating external war. However, this is not only a tool of political importance, but also a very specific nomenclature of actually functioning military-technical systems. The nuclear weapon and its combat base - a thermonuclear or nuclear charge, this is the "spool", which in the composition of the carrier is small, but expensive. Comprehensive and full charge certification in field tests was always worried about Mikhailov.
IF THERE IS A SWORD, MUST BE AND SHIELD
Mikhailov often reminded his colleagues of the Chinese proverb: “There is a sword, there is also a shield. There is a shield - there is a sword. ” Exact in itself, especially with regard to the subject of nuclear weapons, this maxim also reflected the fascination, if it can be said so, of Mikhailov with China. There he was well known, he was awarded the highest order of the People's Republic of China, but Victor Nikitovich always behaved with dignity and in matters of principle and in trifles. I remember how he, without hesitating, made a public reprimand to one of the Chinese participants of the next Russian-Chinese seminar on strategic stability for having presented the presentation of the report in English. “You came to Russia and must remember this! For the future, we will simply shoot such reports, ”said Viktor Nikitovich.
He had, of course, many detractors, and enemies too. In 1996, they gave him a conflict with Zhirinovsky: the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, initially “decorated” in a closed Sarov, where he was supposed to speak, was braked at the last moment before the checkpoint and “out of the thorn” was not allowed. Zhirinovsky loudly stated that he would not tolerate this and Mikhailov would be removed. In those days I had a conversation with one of the leaders of the LDPR faction in the State Duma, and he asked:
- What, Mikhailov so need?
“If you want the nuclear industry to collapse, bring down Mikhailov,” I replied.
- Yes, we all say that, and we will take this into account ...
Of course, not my modest intercession then played its role in the fact that the LDPR’s reeling in on the minister stopped, and I remember this case because it was pleasant to hear from the outsider that many weighty people stand behind Mikhailov.
But in the 1998 year, he still had to quit - he was really pushing out of the general line with his obstinacy, both in personal behavior and in government position. His successors lowered lower and lower: the status of the ministry was first lost, and then Rosatom was transferred to the Ministry of Economy without any special protests in the industry. And here Mikhailov’s character once again manifested itself - he became one of the decisive factors in restoring Rosatom’s independence, especially since he retained the post of RFNC-VNIIEF scientific adviser and chairman of Rosatom’s weapons and technology scientific and technical association. He acted in the direction of the restoration of the headquarters of the industry in the form of a dual ministry with two federal agencies - the "weapons" and "peace." But the circumstances were not in his favor, not in favor of the state interest.
His personal authority remained, however, high. Even within the framework of the IAE of the Russian Federation, he, being for some time the first deputy minister, laid the foundation for the Institute of Strategic Stability (ISS), a compact but strong analytical organization of Rosatom. ISS immediately became the center of attraction for state-minded military-political circles.
ISS, too, was not convenient for everyone, and some people had thoughts about the winding down of its activities, but again it helped out Mikhailov’s ability to put the question squarely. He said that the ISS was formed by a decree of the President of the Russian Federation, and therefore the President should also abolish it or lower its status. The argument worked ...
Mikhailov died - as he lived. On Saturday, 25 June, 2011, climbed onto the porch near Moscow dacha and immediately fell. After his death, it turned out that he had bequeathed to dispel his dust over the Volga. So did.
In his own circle, Viktor Nikitovich is still often remembered - this is the lot of any large person after his final departure. He was known both in the world and in Russia. At one time, experts included him in the first hundred of the most influential Russian politicians, but Viktor Nikitovich himself was interested in only one kind of policy - a balanced state policy that meets Russia's interests and technical policy in the field of nuclear weapons.
Only for this policy he worked, and so he is famous. The words “the best monument to him has become Russia's nuclear arsenal” may seem like a stamp, but that’s what it is. And can it be said better and weightier?