Voices from Russia

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Peacemaker: How the Soviet Tsar Bomba Helped Prevent Nuclear War

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Fifty-five years ago, the USSR detonated a 50-megaton bomb over an uninhabited island north of the Arctic Circle. The most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever built by man, aptly called the Tsar Bomba, gave the USSR nuclear parity with the USA.

The Super Bomb was a Necessity

The “thaw” in Soviet-US relations resulting from, amongst other things, Nikita Khrushchyov’s visit to the USA in autumn 1959 ended on 1 May 1960, when the Soviets shot down a US U-2 spy plane flown by CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers in their airspace as it performed photographic aerial reconnaissance of the Baikonur cosmodrome and a number of Soviet military and nuclear facilities. Powers parachuted safely, the Soviets captured him, and he admitted the military nature of his mission. As a result, Khrushchyov cancelled the scheduled opening of an east-west summit in Paris. The incident prompted a marked deterioration of US-Soviet relations, especially after US-backed Cuban emigrants bungled an attempt to invade Cuba in April 1961. The Moscow-proposed moratorium on nuclear tests by the USSR, the USA, and the UK, in effect since 1958, left the USSR lagging far behind the USA in the size of its nuclear arsenal. By 1960, the Americans used the moratorium to bring the number of their nuclear and thermonuclear warheads to 18,600 from 7,500 in 1958. In July 1961, Khrushchyov decided that he had enough of the moratorium and decided to start work on super-powerful thermonuclear weapons to restore nuclear parity with the USA. He also announced the need to build a 100-megaton thermonuclear bomb as a means of forcing the Americans to wake up to reality.

The Tsar Bomba

A four-man development team of nuclear physicists… Viktor Adamsky, Yuri Babaev, Yuri Smirnov, and Yuri Trutnev… had the responsibility to design and build a three-stage thermonuclear device in just 15 weeks. Officially designated the AN602 thermonuclear bomb, the Tsar Bomba used the common three-stage Teller-Ulam design. The primary fission reaction compressed a secondary mixed fission/fusion fuel layer, which in turn compressed a large tertiary thermonuclear payload, essentially stringing a pair of hydrogen fission reactions together to generate enough energy to activate fusion in a uranium payload.

Record-Breaking Blast

At 09.00 on 30 October 1961, a specially modified Tu-95 strategic bomber took off; it carried the Tsar Bomba and a Tu-16A flying laboratory accompanied it. They headed for a testing range on the Novaya Zemlya archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. At 27 tonnes, the Tsar Bomba weighed nearly as much as the Tu-95 that carried it; it was so big that groundcrew had to cut off the bomb-bay doors to fit it in. At 11.30, the crew released the device from 10,500 metres, using a parachute to retard its fall so that the bomber and its companion craft had sufficient time… 188 seconds… to leave the area. The bomb went off at an altitude of 4,200 metres. The calculated power of the unprecedented explosion was 51.5 megatons. In reality, its power was between 57 and 58.6 megatons. The fireball from the explosion was 4.6 kilometres across; it was visible 1,000 kilometres away, despite dense clouds. The mushroom cloud rose up to almost 70 kilometres and had a diameter of 95 kilometres. For about an hour after the explosion, people observed radio signal distortions hundreds of kilometres from the epicentre due to ionisation of the atmosphere. The shockwave circled the planet three times. On Dikson Island, some 800 kilometres from the range, the shockwave shattered windows, bringing the sound of cannonade with it.

Aftermath

Even though the Tsar Bomba wasn’t an active service weapon, its creation confirmed the USSR’s ability to have as many megatons of nuclear might as it desired. With this realisation in mind, the USA stopped their nuclear buildup. On 5 August 1963, the USSR, the USA, and the UK signed a treaty banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater. Thus, the test of the Tsar Bomba played a crucial role in achieving nuclear parity between the USSR and the USA. This prevented nuclear war.

30 October 2016

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/russia/201610301046887680-ussr-bomb-history/

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Russia Calls the War Party’s Bluff

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Although Cold War 2.0 reached unprecedented hysterical levels, a hot war isn’t about to break out… before or after the 8 November US presidential election. From the Clinton (cash) machine… supported by a neocon/neoliberal think tank/media complex… to the British establishment and its corporate media mouthpieces, the Anglo-American self-appointed “leaders of the free world” stoke up demonisation of Russia and “Putinism” to pure incandescence. In fact, so many layers of fear and loathing veil no more than a bluff.

Let’s start with the Russian naval task force in Syria, led by the (officially designated) “heavy aircraft-carrying cruiser” Admiral Kuznetsov, which will be in the eastern Mediterranean at least until February 2017, supporting operations against all strands of Salafi-jihadism.  The Admiral Kuznetsov is fully equipped with anti-ship, air defence, artillery, and anti-submarine warfare systems… it can defend itself against a vast array of threats, unlike NATO vessels. Predictably, NATO is spinning with alarm that “all of the Northern Fleet”, along with the Baltic Fleet, is on the way to the Mediterranean. Wrong… it’s only part of the Northern Fleet, and the Baltic Fleet isn’t going anywhere. The heart of the matter is that when you add in the capabilities of this Russian naval task force with the S-300/S-400 missile systems already deployed in Syria, Russia now de facto rivals the firepower of the US Sixth Fleet. To top it off, as this comprehensive military analysis makes clear, Russia has “basically made their own no-fly zone over Syria”; and a US no-fly zone, viscerally promoted by Hillary Clinton, “is now impossible to achieve”. That should be more than enough to put into perspective the impotence transmuted into outright anger exhibited by the Pentagon and its neocon/neoliberal vassals.

Add to it the outright war between the Pentagon and the CIA in the Syrian war theatre, where the Pentagon backs the YPG Kurds, who aren’t necessarily in favour of régime change in Damascus, whilst the CIA backs further weaponising of “moderate”, as in al-Qaeda-linked and/or infiltrated, “rebels”. Compounding the trademark Obama administration Three Stooges school of foreign policy, American threats flew more liberally than Negan’s skull-crushing bloody baton in the new season of The Walking Dead. Pentagon head Ash Carter, a certified neocon, threatened “consequences”, as in “potential” strikes against Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces to “punish the régime” after the Pentagon itself broke the Kerry-Lavrov ceasefire. President Obama took some time off weighing his options. In the end, he backed off. Therefore, it’ll be up for the virtually elected… by the whole US establishment… Hillary Clinton to make the fateful decision. She won’t be able to go for a no-fly zone… because Russia is already doing it. In addition, if she decides to “punish the régime”, Moscow already telegraphed, via Minoborony Rossii spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov that there’d definitely be “consequences” for imposing a “shadow” hot war.

Sun Tzu Doesn’t Do First-Strike

Of course, Washington reserves for itself a “first-strike” nuclear capability, which Hillary Clinton fully supports (Donald Trump doesn’t; for that he’s demonised). If we allow the current hysteria to go nuclear, then, we must consider the matter of the S-500 anti-missile system, which effectively seals Russian airspace; Moscow won’t admit it on the record because that’d unleash a relentless arms race. A US intel source with close connections to the Masters of the Universe, but at the same time opposed to Cold War 2.0 as “counter-productive”, adds necessary nuance:

The USA lost the arms race, as it indulged in trillions of dollars of worthless and endless wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. Now, it’s no longer a global power as it can’t defend itself with its obsolete missiles, THAAD, Patriot and Aegis Land Based Ballistic Defence System, against Russian ICBMs, even as the Russians sealed their airspace. The Russians may be as much as four generations ahead of the US.

Moreover, in the deep recesses of shadow war planning, the Pentagon knows, and the Minoborony Rossii knows, that in the event some Dr Strangelove launched a nuclear pre-emptive strike against Russia, their defensive missile systems would protect the Russian population… as well as nuclear bomb shelters in major cities. Warnings on Russian television haven’t been idle; the population knows where to go in the… terrifying… event of nuclear war breaking out. Needless to add, the ghastly possibility of US nuclear first-strike turns all these World War II-style NATO war games in Eastern Europe into a pile of meaningless propaganda stunts. So how did Moscow plan for it all? According to the US intel source:

They took out almost all the military budget from their stated federal budget, lulling the West into thinking that Russia couldn’t afford a massive military buildup; there was nothing to fear from Russia, as they were finished as a world power. The [stated] military budget was next to nothing, so there was nothing to worry about as far as the CIA was concerned. If Putin showed publicly his gigantic military buildup, the West could’ve taken immediate remedial actions as they did in 2014 by crashing the oil price.

Then, the bottom line reveals the Pentagon as totally unprepared for a hot war… even as it threatens and bluffs Russia now on a daily basis.

As Brzeziński pointed out, if this is the case, it means the USA has ceased to be a global power. The USA may continue to bluff, but those that ally with them will have nowhere to go if that bluff is called, as it’s being now called in Syria.

The US intel source was adamant:

One of the greatest military buildups in history took place right under the nose of the Russian Central Bank head Elvira Nabiullina and the Ministry of Finance whilst the CIA awaited what they thought would be the inevitable Russian collapse. The CIA will wait forever and eternity for Russia to collapse. This MGB manoeuvre is sheer genius. It demonstrates that we must completely reorganise the CIA, as it’s so drowned by data inputs that they can’t connect the dots on anything. In addition, we must also reorganise the entire US military procurement system, as it can’t ever keep up if new weapon programmes, such as the F-35, take twenty years to develop and then are found obsolete before they even enter service. The Russians have a five-year development programme for each new weapons system and they’re far ahead of us in every key area.

If this analysis is correct, it goes against even the best and most precise Russian estimates, according to which military potential may be strong, asymmetrically, but still much inferior to US military might. Well-informed Western analysts know that Moscow never brags about military buildups… it’s mastered to a fault the element of surprise. Much more than calling a bluff, Moscow’s Sun Tzu tactics really rattle loudmouth Washington.

25 October 2016

Pepe Escobar

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201610251046715738-us-russia-military-analysis/

Sunday, 5 June 2016

5 june 2016. On Guard For Peace… Do The Anglo Brats REALLY Want Round Two?

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The last time that the Russians and Chinese faced off against the windy and hubristical Anglos, they won. Yes, kids, they did… in Korea, the Sov and Chinese war aim was to restore the status quo ante. In large measure, they did so. The VVS won air superiority over the skies of the DPRK and the Chinese infantryman proved himself superior to his American opponents (and certainly far better than the Yanks’ ROK collaborators). The MiGs couldn’t approach closer than 50 kilometres of the edge of the contact zone, which was behind the FEBA (Forward Edge of the Battle Area) and MLR (Main Line of Resistance)… that meant that the USAF had free rein in the combat zone, which was the only reason that the Yanks held back the Chinese infantry.

On the other hand, the Yanks failed in their war aim… to conquer the Korean peninsula and threaten the PRC. That failed miserably. The Yanks didn’t know what hit them when the Chinese infantry smashed their advance at the Chosin Reservoir. The Chinese proved themselves masters of infiltration and general infantry tactics, besides which, they were skilled night fighters, even though they had limited technical communications means. The Sov MiGs could open fire on USAF fighters before the Yanks could return fire as the MiGs had autocannon and the F-86s only had machine guns. By the way, after the war, the USAF abandoned machine guns, as the war had proven them worthless, if not dangerous to their pilots (by allowing the enemy “free space” to fire at them). That proves that the Mighty Yanks had learnt a lesson (at the price of blood shed… but that’s never fazed the Anglos, has it?).

In short, the USA doesn’t do well against peers… for that matter, it hasn’t done well against middle powers supported by major powers (as shown in Vietnam). It also hasn’t done well in insurgencies (Chinese Civil War, French Wars in Indochina and Algeria, Portuguese Colonial War in Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq), whether directly involved or as the major power backer of a proxy. That is, the USA is NOT a “hyperpower”… it is the dominant power in the Americas, to be sure, and its homeland is immune from invasion so long as the USN controls the sealanes. However, it isn’t the monopower that crackbrains like Wolfowitz maintain. Sadly, neoliberals (both “conservatives” and “liberals”) feed young American officers the pabulum that the USA can overwhelm any adversary… it’ll take much blood spilt to unlearn that “lesson”… actually, God willing, Russia and China will deter the American brats… such is my desire, any road…

BMD

Thursday, 26 May 2016

26 May 2016. A Word to the Wise From the Russian Bear

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Why does the Anglo intel apparat always get Russia not only wrong, but spectacularly wrong? Firstly, it’s getting crank sources. There are four main groups providing raw intel on Russia. Firstly, there are anti-communist émigrés… mostly Poles, Galicians, Balts, and Jews, but some KONR filth collaborationist Great Russians, too. This group hates Russians (or the present Russian government), so it’s clear that any intel that they provide is biased, inaccurate, and a caricature of reality. Secondly, there are Russian religious nutters… “Evangelicals” and oddbod schismo “Orthodox” mostly (the USA subsidised the schismos Rusantsov and Pashkov, for instance). They feel themselves “outsiders”… but they want to impose their peculiar notions on the larger society (just like the American “Evangelicals”). The third group is pro-American English-speakers… they have a “thing” for everything American and want to ape the USA… unfortunately, for the Yanks, this is a laughingly small set. Fourthly, are the Germans… resentful of their defeat in the VOV and mindful of their “superiority” to “inferior” Slavs. After 1945, German mercenaries like Gehlen entered the service of the Western intel services, providing it with much inaccurate reportage based on their racialist prejudices, not actual reality. The USSR was in no position to launch a general war in 1945 (nor in 1965 nor in 1985)… the USA was. Besides that, some Germans wanted revenge for their defeat in the VOV, so they fed crank intel to the Americans, who ate it all up uncritically and without close inspection (especially, anti-New Deal Republican filth… starting with McCarthy and continuing to the present).

Ergo, much of what passes for “knowledge of Russia” within the Beltway is dangerous twaddle… but here’s the sobering part… those with access to the nuclear codes believe this arrant bullshit. God do preserve us…

BMD

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