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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Operation RYAN (or RYaN, Russian: РЯН, IPA: [rʲæn]) was a Cold War military intelligence program run by the Soviet Union during the early 1980s when they believed the United States was planning for an imminent first strike attack. The name is an acronym for Raketno-Yadernoe Napadenie (Russian: Ракетно-ядерное нападение, "Nuclear Missile Attack"). The purpose of the operation was to collect intelligence on potential contingency plans of the Reagan administration to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union.[1][2][3] The program was initiated in May 1981 by Yuri Andropov, then chairman of the KGB.

According to the historian Christopher Andrew, Andropov suffered from a "Hungarian complex" from his personal experience of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956. He had, as the Soviet ambassador to Hungary, "watched in horror from the windows of his embassy as officers of the hated Hungarian security service were strung up from lampposts". Andropov remained haunted for the rest of his life by the speed with which an apparently all-powerful Communist one-party state had begun to topple. Leonid Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov, then Chairman of the KGB, justified the creation of Operation RYaN because, they claimed, the United States was "actively preparing for nuclear war" against the Soviet Union and its allies. According to a newly released Stasi report, the primary "Chekist work" discussed in the May 1981 meeting was the "demand to allow for 'no surprise.'"[4]

The Soviet defector Oleg Gordievsky divulged a top-secret KGB telegram sent to the London KGB residency in February 1983. It stated: "The objective of the assignment is to see that the Residency works systematically to uncover any plans in preparation by the main adversary [USA] for RYAN and to organize a continual watch to be kept for indications of a decision being taken to use nuclear weapons against the USSR or immediate preparations being made for a nuclear missile attack." An attachment listed seven "immediate" and thirteen "prospective" tasks for the agents to complete and report. These included: the collection of data on potential places of evacuation and shelter, an appraisal of the level of blood held in blood banks, observation of places where nuclear decisions were made and where nuclear weapons were stored, observation of key nuclear decision makers, observation of lines of communication, reconnaissance of the heads of churches and banks, and surveillance of security services and military installations.[4]

RYAN took on a new significance after the announcement of plans to deploy Pershing II nuclear-armed missiles to West Germany.[1] These missiles were designed to be launched from road-mobile vehicles, making the launch sites very hard to find. The flight time from West Germany to European Russia was only four to six minutes (approximate flying time from six to eight minutes from West Germany to Moscow), giving the Soviets little or no warning.

On 23 March 1983 Ronald Reagan publicly announced development of the Strategic Defense Initiative. The Soviet government felt that the purpose of SDI technology was to render the US invulnerable to Soviet attack, thereby allowing the US to launch missiles against the USSR without fear of retaliation. This concern about a surprise attack prompted the sudden expansion of the RYAN program. The level of concern reached its peak after the Soviets shot down KAL 007 near Moneron Island on 1 September 1983, and during the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation exercise Able Archer 83. The Soviet Union believed that a United States first strike on the Soviet Union was imminent.[1]

Although Andropov died in February 1984, RYAN continued to be maintained and developed under the direction of Victor Chebrikov. Consultations held in August 1984 between the STASI's head of the Main Directorate of Reconnaissance, Markus Wolf and KGB experts discussed the early detection of potential war preparations in adversaries and indicated that the First Chief Directorate of the KGB was proposing to create a new division to deal exclusively with RYAN. 300 positions within the KGB were earmarked for RYAN of which 50 were reserved for the new division.[5]

Operation RYAN continued to be maintained until at least April 1989.[6]

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Have you ever been in an argument about Nuclear Power? We have, and we found it frustrating and confusing So let's try and a grip with this topic It all started in the 1940s. After the shock and horror of the war in the use of the atomic bomb, Nuclear Energy promised to be a peaceful spin-off of the new technology, helping the world get back on its feet. Everyone's imagination was running wild. Would electricity become free? Could nuclear power help settle the antarctic? Would there be Nuclear powered cars, planes, or houses? It seemed that this was just a few years of hard work away. One thing was certain, the future was atomic! Just a few years later, there was a sort of atomic-ish hangover. As it turned out, Nuclear Power was very complicated, and very expensive. Turning physics into engineering was easy on paper, but hard in real life. Also, private companies thought that Nuclear power was much too risky as an investment. Most of them would much rather stick with gas, coal, and oil. But there were many people who didn't just want to abandon the promise of the atomic age: An exciting new technology, The prospect of enormously cheap electricity, The prospect of being independent of oil and gas imports, And in some cases, A secret desire to posses atomic weapons, provided a strong motivation to keep going. Nuclear power's finest hour finally came in the early 1970s, when war in the middle east caused oil prices to skyrocket worldwide. Now, commercial interest, and investment, picked up at a dazzling pace. More than half of all the nuclear reactors in the world were built between 1970 and 1985. But which type of reactor to build given how many different types there were to choose from? A surprising underdog candidate won the day. The light water reactor. It wasn't very innovative and it wasn't too popular with scientists, but it had some decisive advantages: It was there, it worked, and it wasn't terribly expensive So what does a light water reactor do? Well, the basic principle is shockingly simple. It heats up water using an artificial chain reaction. Nuclear fission releases several million times more energy than any other chemical reaction could. Really heavy elements on the brink of stability like Uranium 235, get bombarded with Neutrons. The Neutron is absorbed, but the resulting is unstable. Most of the time, it immediately splits into fast-moving, lighter elements, some, additional free Neutrons, and energy in the form of radiation. The radiation heats the surrounding water, while the Neutron repeats the process with other atoms, releasing more Neutrons and radiation in a closely controlled chain reaction. Very different form the fast, destructive, runaway reaction in an atomic bomb. In our light water reactor, a moderator is needed to control the Neutron's energy. Simple, ordinary water does the job, which is very practical, since water is used to drive the turbines anyway. The light water reactor became prevalent because it's simple and cheap. However, it's neither the safest, most efficient, no technically elegant nuclear reactor. The renewed nuclear reactor hype lasted barely a decade though. In 1979, the three mile island nuclear plant in Pennsylvania, barely escaped the catastrophe, when it's core melted. In 1986, the Chernobyl catastrophe directly threatened central Europe with the radioactive cloud. And in 2011 the drown out Fukushima disaster sparks new discussions and concerns While in the 1980s two hundred and eighteen new nuclear power reactors went live, their number and nucleus global share of electricity production has stagnated since the end of the 80s So what's the situation today? Today, nuclear energy meets around 10% of the world's energy demand. That are about 439 nuclear reactors in 31 countries. About 70 new reactors are under construction in 2015, most of them in countries, which are growing quickly. Or at all, 160 new reactors are planned world-wide. Most nuclear reactors were build more than 25 years ago with pretty old technology. More than 80% are various types of light water reactor. Today, many countries are faced with a choice: The expensive replacement of the aged reactors possibly with more efficient, but less tested models, or move away from nuclear power towards newer or older technology with different cost and environmental impacts. So, should we use nuclear energy? The pro and contra arguments will be presented here next week. Subscribe and then you won't miss it! Our channel has a new sponsor, If you use the URL, you can get a free audiobook and support our channel. Producing our videos takes a lot of time and we fill a lot of it by listing audiobooks. For really entertaining book, we recommend "Into thin air" by Jon Krakauer. He's a great writer and the story is really absorbing and true. Go to to get the book for free. thanks a lot to for supporting our channel and to you for watching

See also


  1. ^ a b c Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
  2. ^ A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare — Phase II: A New Sense of Urgency by Benjamin B. Fischer
  3. ^ Benjamin B. Fischer. "A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare — Appendix A: RYAN and the Decline of the KGB".
  4. ^ a b "Forecasting Nuclear War". Wilson Center. Retrieved 2016-01-23.
  5. ^ History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Federal Commissioner for the Stasi Records (August 24, 1984). "Deputy Minister Markus Wolf, Stasi Note on Meeting with KGB Experts on the RYAN Problem, 14 to 18 August 1984". Translated by Bernd Schaefer.
  6. ^ Archive, Wilson Center Digital. "Wilson Center Digital Archive".

Further reading

  • The Brink, Marc Ambinder, Simon & Schuster, 2018.
  • 1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink, Taylor Downing, Da Capo, 2018.
  • The Vicious Circle of Intelligence - Nate Jones, The National Security Archive [1]
  • The Able Archer 83 Sourcebook - Nate Jones, The National Security Archive [1]
  • Forecasting Nuclear War: Stasi/KGB Intelligence Cooperation Under Project RYAN - Bernd Schaefer, Nate Jones, and Benjamin B. Fischer - The Wilson Center [1]
  • Stasi Documents Provide Details on Operation RYaN, the Soviet Plan to Predict and Preempt a Western Nuclear Strike; Show Uneasiness Over Degree of "Clear-Headedness About the Entire RYaN Complex. [2] - Nate Jones, The National Security Archive
  • War Scare – Peter Vincent Pry
  • A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare – Benjamin B. Fischer [3]
  1. ^ a b "Forecasting Nuclear War | Wilson Center". Retrieved 2015-07-27.
This page was last edited on 6 February 2019, at 11:57
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