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Inside the Apocalyptic Soviet Doomsday Machine

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posted on Sep, 23 2009 @ 08:56 PM

Valery Yarynich glances nervously over his shoulder. Clad in a brown leather jacket, the 72-year-old former Soviet colonel is hunkered in the back of the dimly lit Iron Gate restaurant in Washington, DC. It's March 2009—the Berlin Wall came down two decades ago—but the lean and fit Yarynich is as jumpy as an informant dodging the KGB. He begins to whisper, quietly but firmly.

"The Perimeter system is very, very nice," he says. "We remove unique responsibility from high politicians and the military." He looks around again.

Yarynich is talking about Russia's doomsday machine. That's right, an actual doomsday device—a real, functioning version of the ultimate weapon, always presumed to exist only as a fantasy of apocalypse-obsessed science fiction writers and paranoid über-hawks. The thing that historian Lewis Mumford called "the central symbol of this scientifically organized nightmare of mass extermination." Turns out Yarynich, a 30-year veteran of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff, helped build one.

Chart source: Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council The point of the system, he explains, was to guarantee an automatic Soviet response to an American nuclear strike. Even if the US crippled the USSR with a surprise attack, the Soviets could still hit back. It wouldn't matter if the US blew up the Kremlin, took out the defense ministry, severed the communications network, and killed everyone with stars on their shoulders. Ground-based sensors would detect that a devastating blow had been struck and a counterattack would be launched.

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posted on Sep, 23 2009 @ 09:38 PM
This is hardly a doomsday machine. I'd call it a "kill-our-enemies-if-they've-already-killed-us-first" machine. The article calls it the 'ultimate weapon' when in fact it is just an automatic retaliation machine, and if the nukes were disconnected, could not do a thing to end the world.

The doomsday machine has existed for about 70 years and goes by 'nuclear weapons'

Sure, its great to have a failsafe, but the true value of this would have been realized if USSR had spread the word. "Even if you pesky capitalists launch your nukes and kill us all, our missiles will automatically launch themselves!" If we did attack USSR, we would be expecting retaliation anyway. In the game of nuclear war, no side wins, no matter what.

Perfect time for
"The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost if you keep it a secret!" ..."Why didn't you tell the world?"-Dr Strangelove
yay three quotes from the same movie in one post

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