What was new on START Web site?

September, 1999

September 25, 1999
Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov and President Clinton discussed problems with ABM treaty last Thursday: Discussion of Ivanov and Clinton on Nuclear Balance - in Russian, (by Dmitri Gornostayev, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, September 24, 1999)

Secretary of the State Strobe Talbott and Minister of Defense William Cohen on outcomes of the discussions with the Russians on ABM treaty modification and START III:

See also: Allies Have Important Role In ABM Treaty's Future, White House Says (Inside The Pentagon, September 23, 1999, Pg. 1)

Senior Minatom officials Lev Ryabev, Viktor Mikhailov and Nikolai Voloshin describe requirements to nuclear weapons of the XXI-st century ("Secure"...weapons, - in Russian, Krasnaya Zvezda, September 23, 1999, p. 4)

Details of the recent flight of the Russian bombers over the Pacific, which caused a harsh reaction of the United States, in the recent issue of Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye: American Strength Has Been Tested, (by Valeri Alexin, Iliya Kedrov and Sergei Sokut, NVO-NG, September 24-30, 1999, N 37, p. 1)

The State Duma held a first consideration of the "Law On Environmental Protection" yesterday. One of its articles, which forbids import of nuclear wastes in Russia, caused a lot of contradictions:

See also a comment of Bellona: Minatom rules out storage only option (September 6, 1999).

Of the millions of dollars the United States gives Russia to help protect against the theft of nuclear materials, a "significant" amount is siphoned off to pay Russian taxes and customs fees, an Energy Department investigation found. The review also determined that nearly $1 million earmarked to protect nuclear weapons material was spent safeguarding items that posed little or no nuclear proliferation threat

Carnegie Endowment held a seminar Russia's Nuclear Cities, with the principle speaker Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA).

Nine Russian military officers have arrived in Colorado Springs to get a first glimpse of the joint missile warning center intended to prevent a Y2K-induced nuclear catastrophe, U.S. Space Command announced Tuesday. This is expected to be the only Russian team to visit Peterson before the center becomes operational in late December. (Russians Get First Look At Missile Warning Center, By John Diedrich, Colorado Springs Gazette, September 22, 1999).

In the recent issue of Military Parade (July-August, 1999):

September 21, 1999
Dr. Alexandr Pikayev presents the first authoritative account of the START II treatys troubled history in Russia in a new paper: The Rise and Fall of START II: The Russian View, published in Carnegie Endowment Working Papers series.

"..Not only nuclear arms are relatively cheaper, but they need less personnel to maintain, and they rely on fairly compact, but superior technology. Nuclear and missile technologies have been mastered long ago, and they do not need to be reinvented. Nuclear arms can reach any point on the globe and they have an absolute destructive power. This fact equalize a balance of forces in the world, which is unfavorable for Russia in economical, technological and demographic terms. Unfortunately, Russia does not have any other means to equalize its chances with other powers at the moment..." (Strategically Advantageous Asymmetry, - in Russian, by Stanislav Voronin and Sergei Brezkun, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye, September 17-23, 1999, p. 4).

Two Russian bombers approached the Alaska coastline last week for the first time in six years. This was a part of a major exercise conducted by the Navy and the Air Force on the East of Russia

Plans of the Clinton administration to develop ballistic missile defences are continued to be criticized:

Once again about Typhoon SSBN disposal: Our Proud "Typhoon" Is Not Surrendering. The Americans Failed To Get Rid Of Their Fears Again, - in Russian, (by Yuri Golotyuk, Izvestiya, September 16, 1999, p. 2).

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): Iran nonproliferation act is adopted and on acceptability of using nuclear arms in Chechnya.

September 15, 1999
Cast your vote: Should Russia agree to ABM Treaty modification?

Efforts to negotiate a modification to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty continued at the meetings of the State Secretary Madeleine Albright with Foreign minister Igor Ivanov in Auckland and U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen with his Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev in Moscow. Russia bitterly opposes the plan.

U.S. and Russian defense officials have agreed to set up a joint center in Colorado to watch for any false alarms of missile attacks caused by Year 2000 computer problems:

"...The US wants Moscow to accept an American exemption from part of the anti-ballistic missile (ABM) treaty of 1972, and to that end the Clinton administration has begun to pile pressure on Mr Yeltsin's beleaguered regime...," - The Guardian reported Saturday. Paul Podvig, a leading expert of our Center, said in an interview to The Guardian correspondent, that "...the Russian military feared the new system could be the basis for a more robust missile defence scheme later...The US could link this Alaska-based radar with just a few interceptor rockets for use against North Korea, but then quickly add hundreds of interceptors. It takes five to 10 years to build a large phased-array radar installation, allowing time for the other side to build better missiles to counteract it....If the US scheme goes ahead as though it is just a regional defence, then Russia loses the lead-time... The Russian military was not, however, seriously worried that its missiles would lose their deterrent power, since no ABM system could ever give the US a guarantee of hitting Russia without having to worry about successful retaliation. The worry is partly financial. It will force Russia to keep upgrading its missile systems. It is also conceptual. The ABM treaty helps to bring about a reduction in offensive weapons. As the Clinton administration used to say, it is the cornerstone of nuclear arms reduction..." (US bid to alter arms treaty alarms Russia's military, by Jonathan Steele, The Guardian, September 11, 1999).

"...We should be prepared to reconsider the START II ban on land-based missiles with multiple warheads in order to address Russia's affordability concerns, and to increase their confidence that they could penetrate any missile defenses we would deploy. One possibility might be to permit them to deploy a two warhead version of their new SS-27 missile, a capability which would not have much impact on our own deterrent or on strategic stability...", (A deal with Russia on arms control?, by Sam Nunn, Brent Scowcroft, and Arnold Kanter, Boston Globe, September 13, 1999). See also proposals of Anatoli Diakov and Paul Podvig made in March 1999.

U.S. Intelligence community has published a new intelligence estimate Foreign Missile Developments and the Ballistic Missile Threat to the United States Through 2015. Links to previous intelligence assessments, media coverage of the report, other relevant reports can be found at the Carnegie Endowment web site. See also a comment by Joseph Cirincione, the Director of the Non-Proliferation Project.

On the last day of his stay in Russia, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen flew to the city of Severodvinsk to tour Russian defense sites and submarine shipyards and see the first Typhoon-class submarine awaiting dismantling:

Moscow is at risk to repeat the destiny of Belgrade in case of missile or air attacks, (Worn Umbrella Over Moscow, by Oleg Blotski, Izvestiya, September 11, 1999).

On future of nuclear weapons development in Russia - an interview with Lev Ryabev, the First Deputy Minister of Nuclear Energy (Long Life Of Nuclear Arsenal, by Vladimir Dernovoi, Krasnaya Zvezda, September 11, 1999, p.3)

The only exercise in U.S.S.R. with a real explosion of a nuclear bomb was conducted forty five years ago, (A Big Explosion At Totski Test Site, by Georgi Kaurov, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 35, September 10-16, 1999, p. 5)

September 10, 1999
A one day conference "Reductions Of Strategic Nuclear Arms And Transparency Of Nuclear Arsenals" was held yesterday, September 9, 1999 in "Mariott-Tverskaya" hotel (Moscow). The meeting was organized by the Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. Participants included representatives from Minatom, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 12-th Main Directorate of the Ministry of Defense, Strategic Rocket Forces and Russian independent experts. Presentations were made by Valeri Tsvetkov (4-th TsNII of MoD), Pavel Podvig (Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT), Rodion Voznyuk (VNIITF), Anatoli Diakov (Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT), Nikolay Rubanenko (VNIITF), Vladimir Rybachenkov (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and Gennadi Pshakin (FEI).

A U.S. delegation led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott wrapped up two days of talks Thursday on nuclear arms reduction and possible amendments to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, but no progress was reported. As statements of the Russian officials indicate, Russia continues to strongly oppose a U.S. proposal to modify the ABM treaty in order to build a limited missile defense system. Nevertheless, Strobe Talbott characterized the results of the meeting as "positive" ones:

Rejecting calls from Republican lawmakers to overhaul the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty all at once, President Clinton has decided to ask Russia to agree initially to relatively modest changes in the agreement. The first set of changes sought by the administration would permit the United States to place 100 interceptor missiles in Alaska, which is the Pentagon's latest plan for defending the country against, at a bare minimum, a few incoming warheads from a state such as North Korea, Iraq or Iran. As the missile threat is perceived to grow and as U.S. technologies improve, officials said, the United States would seek further treaty amendments to permit more than 200 interceptors, at least two launching sites, advances in radar and the use of space-based sensors. Congressional Republicans attacked the strategy, accusing the administration of squandering an opportunity to alter the treaty substantially now and arguing that the phased approach would only prolong tensions with Russia. They said that Moscow, which has long opposed U.S. defenses against long-range missile attack, likely would reject even the limited proposal for modifications. They also predicted trouble in Congress (U.S. to Go Slowly on Treaty. Quick ABM Overhaul Rejected by Clinton, by Bradley Graham, Wednesday, September 8, 1999; Page A13).

According to Agentstvo Voyennyh Novostei, the General Staff Of the Armed Forces Of Russian Federation considers an option of increasing number of missile submarines patrolling in ocean. The Russian Navy has diminished the number of patrolling missile submarines in ocean by the factor of 4 or 5 since 1991. See also a comment by Eugene Miasnikov in START Forum (in Russian).

In the recent issue of Yaderny Control magazine (v. 47, N 5, September-October 1999):

Publications of the recent issue of Yadernaya Bezopasnost (N 27-28, August-September, 1999) include: Electronic versions of The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, (September-October, 1999) and Arms Control Today (June, 1999 .) include:

Using newly declassified US intelligence reports and Cold War Corona satellite reconnaissance imagery together with Russian accounts, Joshua Handler provides for the first-time an open-source guide to the location, organization and size of Russia's nuclear weapon storage facilities (Lifting the Lid on Russia's Nuclear Weapon Storage,by Joshua Handler, Jane's Intelligence Review, August 1, 1999, Vol. 11; No. 8).

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): consultations on strategic stability in Moscow and alleged purchase of Typhoon class SSBNs by China.

September 7, 1999
August 29, 1999 was 50-th anniversary since the first Soviet nuclear bomb was tested:

Today's life of Arzamas-16 (Sarov), the town where Russian nuclear weapons are designed, is described in:

Moscow must improve its nuclear weapons because of the development of US anti-missile systems, Deputy Atomic Energy Minister Lev Ryabov said (Minister: Moscow Must Respond To US Anti-Missile Systems, by Agence France Presse, August 27, 1999).

"...Did Russia come along with American attempts to reconsider principal provisions of the ABM Treaty, that would be not only a miscalculation in military terms, but an unforgivable mistake of its foreign policy...", (Russia Should Keep The Defense of the ABM Treaty, by Valeri Alexeyevski, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 34, September 3-9, 1999, p. 8)

BMD development plans are continued to be criticised by their opponents:

Russia said Friday it had successfully test-fired an eighths silo based Topol-M missile. Yuri Solomonov, Director And Chief Designer Of the Moscow Institute Of Thermoengineering claimed about possibility to carry out the first test launch of mobile variant of Topol-M before the next year (First Launch - This Year, by Igor Korotchenko, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 34, September 3-9, 1999, p. 6).

Americans keep concerns about the state of Russian early warning system. Recent letter of the Congressional Budget Office analyzes a somewhat strange proposal - have the United States pay to put six of the satellites in orbit -- "enough to give Russia 24-hour coverage of U.S. missile fields," (Nuclear option: Aid for Russia?, by Greg Schneider, Baltimore Sun, August 27, 1999). Possible Y2K computer glitches in the early warning system is also a concern. Discussions between the two powers resumed on a plan for American and Russian nuclear weapons officers to jointly man an early-warning missile launch center in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the turn of the year. If no further diplomatic glitches develop, a formal agreement could be signed on Sept. 13, when Defense Secretary William Cohen and Russian counterpart Igor Sergeyev are scheduled to meet:

The Russian Ministry for Atomic Energy (Minatom) failed to persuade the Russian Cabinet to amend the Law on Environmental Protection to allow spent fuel imports:

See also an open letter of T. Zlotnikova, the Chair Of the State Duma Committee on Environment to V. Putin, Prime Minister Of Russian Federation On Inadmissibility Of Appointing Ye. Adamov a Head Of Ministry Of Atomic Energy - in Russian, (August 16, 1999).

China is planning to buy two Russian Typhoon class submarines capable of firing long-range missiles that could hit the mainland United States, two Hong Kong newspapers reported last week. Both Chinese and Russian officials dismissed the information.

Admiral Ivan Litvinov, a former commander of Flotilia of strategic submarines asserts, that SOSUS system tracked nearly 20% of the Soviet SSBNs (Soviet Secrets Of Bermuda Triangle, by Vladimir Gundarov, Krasnaya Zvezda, September 4, 1999). See also estimates of detectibility of Russian submarines by experts of our Center.

A danger of a nuclear conflict looks quite real to many of Russians, as results of the poll by "Public Opinion" Fund suggest. Nearly 30% of the respondents said that they are concerned by a possibility of a nuclear war, and 8% only answered, that they do not care at all (in Russian).

Today at the START Forum (in Russian): current status of the Russian early warning system and alleged purchase of Typhoons by China.

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Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies at MIPT, 1999.