Military history



Digital National Security Archive,


Electronic Briefing Book of the National Security Archive


Freedom of Information Act


Foreign Broadcast Information Service


The papers of Vitaly Katayev at the Hoover Institution Library and Archives, Stanford University, and in author’s possession


National Intelligence Estimate


The National Security Archive,


Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

—————  ENDNOTES  —————


1 Margarita Ivanovna Ilyenko, interview, Nov. 30, 1998. Roza Gaziyeva is quoted by Sergei Parfenov in Rodina, no. 5, Oct. 24, 1990.

2 Matthew Meselson, Jeanne Guillemin, Martin Hugh-Jones, Alexander Langmuir, Ilona Popova, Alexis Shelokov, Olga Yampolskaya, “The Sverdlovsk Anthrax Outbreak of 1979,” Science, 1994, vol. 266, pp. 1202-1208; Jeanne Guillemin, Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999); Ken Alibek, with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), Ch. 7.

3 Theodore J. Cieslak and Edward M. Eitzen Jr., “Clinical and Epidemiologic Principles of Anthrax,” in Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 5, no. 4, July–Aug. 1999, p. 552.

4 Alibek was told the accident resulted from failure to replace a filter, but this account has never been confirmed. Alibek, pp. 73–74. Alibek said the release occurred on Friday, March 30. Given wind patterns, Monday April 2 seems more likely. Alibek told the author Monday was possible.

5 The children may have been indoors, in schools, or had a different immune system reaction, or been less susceptible to airborne anthrax than adults.

6 Lev M. Grinberg and Faina A. Abramova, interviews, Nov. 30, 1998. Abramova’s account also appeared in Rodina.

7 Guillemin, p. 14.

8 Vladlen Krayev, interview, Nov. 1998. It was later realized the incubation period could be much longer.

9 Some months after the epidemic, the KGB searched Hospital No. 40 for materials. Abramova hid unlabeled samples on a high shelf. The KGB did not find them.

10 Petrov interviews, January 1999; Jan. 22, 2006, May 29, 2007.

11 Pavel Podvig, “History and the Current Status of the Russian Early Warning System,” Science and Global Security, October 2002, pp. 21–60.

12 Podvig, p. 31.


1 Bernard Brodie, ed., The Absolute Weapon: Atomic Power and the World Order (New York: Harcourt Brace and Co., 1946).

2 Albert Carnesale, Paul Doty, Stanley Hoffmann, Samuel P. Huntington, Joseph S. Nye Jr., and Scott D. Sagan, Living with Nuclear Weapons (New York: Bantam Books, 1983), pp. 31–32.

3 Admiral G. P. Nanos, “Strategic Systems Update,” Submarine Review, April 1997, pp. 12–17. Nanos quoted another admiral but affirmed this was a “reasonable, unclassified scale.” See “The Capabilities of Trident Against Russian Silo-based Missiles: Implications for START III and Beyond,” George N. Lewis, Theodore A. Postol, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Feb. 2–6, 1998.

4 David Alan Rosenberg, “The Origins of Overkill, Nuclear Weapons and American Strategy, 1945–1960,” in Strategy and Nuclear Deterrence, Princeton University Press, 1984, pp. 113–181. Also see William Burr, ed., “The Creation of SIOP-62: More Evidence on the Origins of Overkill,” EBB No. 130, doc. 23, “Note by the Secretaries to the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Strategic Target Planning,” Jan. 27, 1961.

5 McGeorge Bundy, Danger and Survival: Choices About the Bomb in the First Fifty Years (New York: Random House, 1988), p. 354.

6 “History of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff: Preparation of SIOP-63,” January 1964. “New Evidence on the Origins of Overkill,” TNSA EBB No. 236, doc. 2. Also see McNamara commencement address at the University of Michigan, June 16. McNamara may have been influenced by the fact that, through improved satellite intelligence, the United States had obtained the first comprehensive map of the Soviet missile bases, submarine ports, air defense sites and other military installations. Desmond Ball and Jeffery Richelson, eds., Strategic Nuclear Targeting (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1986), p. 65. Also see Alfred Goldberg, “A Brief Survey of the Evolution of Ideas about Counterforce,” Rand Corp., Memorandum RM-5431-PR, October 1957, rev. March 1981, p. 9. DNSA, No. NH00041.

7 Alain C. Enthoven and K. Wayne Smith, How Much Is Enough?: Shaping the Defense Program, 1961–1969 (New York: Harper & Row, 1971), rev. ed. (Santa Monica: RAND Corp., 2005), pp. 67 and 207.

8 The acronym was advanced by Donald G. Brennan of the Hudson Institute to capture what he thought was the folly of the idea of MAD. Brennan was an advocate of missile defense and finding a way out of mutual vulnerability. See “Strategic Alternatives,” New York Times, May 24, 1971, p. 31, and May 25, 1971, p. 39.

9 Arnold L. Horelick and Myron Rush, “Deception in Soviet Strategic Missile Claims, 1957–1962,” RAND Corp., May 1963. DNSA NH00762.

10 An exception to this was Europe, where the Soviets knew that tactical nuclear strikes were possible early in any war, and they planned for preemptive nuclear attack. See Vojtech Mastny and Malcolm Byrne, eds., A Cardboard Castle: An Inside History of the Warsaw Pact, 1955–1991 (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2005), pp. 406–412.

11 John Hines, Ellis M. Mishulovich, John F. Shull, Soviet Intentions 1965–1985, BDM Federal Inc., for Office of Secretary of Defense, Sept. 22, 1995, offers a good overview of Soviet thinking based on interviews with Soviet participants. See Vol. I, An Analytical Comparison of U.S.-Soviet Assessments During the Cold War. Also see Aleksander Savelyev and Nikolay Detinov, The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-making in the Soviet Union (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1995), pp. 1–13.

12 The end result of the competition was a turn toward hardened silos and reliance on a retaliatory posture, which Keldysh favored. Hines, Vol. II, p. 85; Savelyev, pp. 18–19; Vitaly Katayev, unpublished memoir, Some Facts from History and Geometry, author’s possession; Pavel Podvig, communication with author, March 27, 2009; and Podvig, ed., Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001).

13 The plan still incorporated the counterforce idea. Task Alpha would use 58 percent of the arsenal to hit Soviet forces. By contrast, task Charlie—cities and industrial targets—was to use only about 11 percent of the weapons. See “The Nixon Administration, the SIOP, and the Search for Limited Nuclear Options, 1969—1974,” TNSA EBB No. 173, doc. 3.

14 For Kissinger on Nixon, see TNSA EBB 173, doc. 22. H. R. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994), p. 55. Kissinger pushed for the creation of limited nuclear war options, saying that threats of a massive attack were just not credible. On January 17, 1974, Nixon signed National Security Decision Memorandum 242, a top-secret directive that laid out a desire for a “wide range” of limited nuclear war attack options. The directive was the result of Kissinger’s prodding. See TNSA EBB 173 and Burr, “The Nixon Administration, the ‘Horror Strategy,’ and the Search for Limited Nuclear Options, 1969–1972,” Journal of Cold War Studies, vol. 7, no. 3, Summer 2005, pp. 34–78.

15 Hines, vol. II, p. 27.

16 The treaty limited each side to two sites with one hundred launchers. This was cut in 1974 to one site each. The United States built one around North Dakota missile fields, but later dismantled it. The Soviet Union built one around Moscow.

17 Lawrence Freedman, The Evolution of Nuclear Strategy (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1981), p. 363. Kissinger press conference, July 3, 1974.

18 Nitze, “Assuring Strategic Stability in an Era of Détente,” Foreign Affairs, January 1976, vol. 54, no. 2.

19 Hines asked Soviet participants about key conclusions in the Team A-Team B experiment. While he found support for a Soviet desire for superiority, he also found U.S. assessments had overstated Soviet intentions as aggressive. Hines, pp. 68–71. For the Team B report, see “Intelligence Community Experiment in Competitive Analysis: Soviet Strategic Objectives, An Alternative View: Report of Team ‘B,’” December 1976, DNSA SE00501. Pipes later claimed Team B’s conclusions were based on a deeper insight into Russian history and mind-set. See Richard Pipes, VIXI: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2003), p. 137. For Team A, see “Soviet Forces for Strategic Nuclear Conflict through the Mid-1980s,” NIE 11-3/8-76, Dec. 21, 1976, Vol. 1, Key Judgments and Summary, p. 3. Also see Anne Hessing Cahn, Killing Détente (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1998); and Cahn, “Team B: The Trillion Dollar Experiment,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, April 1993, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 22–27. For evidence Team B erred, see Raymond L. Garthoff, “Estimating Soviet Military Intentions and Capabilities,” Ch. 5 in Gerald K. Haines and Robert E. Leggett, eds., Watching the Bear: Essays on CIA’s Analysis of the Soviet Union (Washington, D.C.: Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 2003). Through the late 1970s and early 1980s, many hawks warned about the “window of vulnerability” for American land-based missiles. This argument, made by Nitze, Pipes and eventually Reagan, claimed that the larger number of Soviet missiles could wipe out the entire one thousand U.S. Minuteman missile force and fifty-four Titan missiles. But the SS-18s may have been less accurate than the United States thought. For example, NIE 11-3/8-78 estimated that had the Soviet Union initiated an attack on American missile silos in 1978, only about six hundred U.S. silo-based missiles would survive a one-on-one Soviet missile attack, and no more than about four hundred would survive a two-on-one strike. However, using flight test data from Katayev, Pavel Podvig estimated that 890 of the 1,054 U.S. silo-based missiles would have survived a one-on-one attack and 800 would have survived an attack in which each silo is targeted by two Soviet warheads. Podvig, “The Window of Vulnerability that Wasn’t: Soviet Military Buildup in the 1970s,” International Security, Vol. 3, No. 1, Summer, 2008. Bush, then CIA director, later told Congress the two teams reached the following conclusions: “1. Team A’s conclusions lead to estimates of ICBM accuracy which do not imply a severe threat to Minuteman until about 1980. 2. The Team B estimates of accuracy imply that such a threat could materialize much sooner.” See “DCI Congressional Briefing,” January 1977, Anne Cahn collection, TNSA. After the exercise was over, Team A pointed out that the Soviets lagged way behind the United States in theory, laboratory instrument quality and mass production of precision instruments such as guidance equipment needed for missile accuracy. See “Summary of Intelligence Community (‘A Team’) Briefing to PFIAB on Soviet ICBM Accuracy,” Cahn collection, TNSA. The document is undated but the briefing was in December 1976. Hines noted U.S. and Soviet experts used different assumptions about nuclear blast to judge whether missile silos were vulnerable. Hines, p. 70. Missile accuracy is measured by “circular error probability,” or CEP—the radius of a circle in which half the warheads fall. When the Soviets began deploying the first missiles with MIRVs in 1974, the U.S. intelligence consensus was they did not have a CEP better than 470 meters. These estimates were challenged by Team B, which suggested that Soviet missiles could become even more accurate (a smaller CEP). But according to Soviet flight test data, the CEP of the first-generation SS-18 was 700 meters; the SS-17 was 700 meters, and the SS-19 was 650 meters. The next generation of missiles, coming on line in the 1980s, were improved. The author is indebted to Pavel Podvig for these conclusions, based on Katayev, Hoover.

20 Soviet Forces for Strategic Nuclear Conflict Through the Mid-1980s, NIE 11-3/8-76, Dec. 21, 1976, Vol. 1, Key Judgments and Summary, p. 3.

21 Eugene V. Rostow, the Yale law professor, was committee chairman. Dozens of members eventually held appointments in the Reagan administration, including Nitze and Pipes. Charles Tyroller II, ed., Alerting America: The Papers of the Committee on the Present Danger (Washington: Pergamon-Brassey’s, 1984).

22 Brzezinski became concerned about weaknesses in the command and control system when an exercise to simulate evacuating the president on Jan. 28, 1977, went awry. Brzezinski, Power and Principle: Memoirs of the National Security Advisor, 1977–1981 (New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1983), pp. 14–15. Brzezinski asked William E. Odom, then a colonel general on the White House National Security Council staff, to study the chain of command and control of nuclear weapons. The study revealed weaknesses in the system. The two presidential directives were an outgrowth of the study. Odom interview, Feb. 3, 2006; Odom, “The Origins and Design of Presidential Decision-59: A Memoir,” in Henry D. Sokolski, ed., Getting Mad: Nuclear Mutual Assured Destruction, Its Origins and Practice (Carlisle, Pa.: U.S. Army War College, 2004). On targeting the Soviet leadership, see Hines, vol. 2, p. 118. Andrew W. Marshall, the director of the Office of Net Assessment in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, told Hines that “PD-59 was developed to reinforce deterrence by making it clear to the Soviet leadership that they would not escape destruction in any exchange. The objective was to clarify and personalize somewhat the danger of warfare and nuclear use to Soviet decision-makers.”


1 See

2 Morrow later promoted NASA programs. See Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson and Martin Anderson, eds., Reagan: A Life in Letters (New York: Free Press, 2003), p. 107.

3 Martin Anderson, Revolution: The Reagan Legacy (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1988), pp. 80–83.

4 Reagan radio address, May 29, 1979, “Miscellaneous 1,” reproduced in Reagan in His Own Hand: The Writings of Ronald Reagan That Reveal His Revolutionary Vision for America, Kiron K. Skinner, Annelise Anderson, Martin Anderson, eds. (New York: Free Press, 2001), p. 104. The treaty was signed by Carter and Brezhnev in Vienna on June 18.

5 Draft copy, “Policy Memorandum No. 3,” August 1979, author’s possession. Anderson knew Reagan had in earlier years disagreed with President Nixon’s decision to limit missile defenses in the 1972 ABM treaty. “We bargained that away in exchange for nothing,” Reagan had said. See “Defense IV,” Sept. 11, 1979, Reagan in His Own Hand. Anderson interview, Sept. 10, 2008.

6 In his memoir, Reagan wrote: “Nothing was more important to mankind than assuring its survival and the survival of our planet. Yet for forty years nuclear weapons had kept the world under a shadow of terror. Our dealings with the Soviets—and theirs with us—had been based on a policy known as ‘mutual assured destruction’—the ‘MAD’ policy, and madness it was. It was the craziest thing I had ever heard of: Simply put, it called for each side to keep enough nuclear weapons at the ready to obliterate each other, so that if one attacked, the second had enough bombs left to annihilate its adversary in a matter of minutes. We were a button push away from oblivion.” Ronald Reagan, An American Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990), p. 13.

7 Ronald Reagan, The Reagan Diaries (New York: HarperCollins, 2007), June 7, 1981.

8 Martin Anderson, presentation, Oct. 11, 2006, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, “Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary.” Also, communication with author, Sept. 10, 2008.

9 Tony Thomas, The Films of Ronald Reagan (Secaucus, N.J.: Citadel Press, 1980), pp. 98–99.

10 Laurence W. Beilenson, The Treaty Trap: A History of the Performance of Political Treaties by the United States and European Nations (Washington, D.C.: Public Affairs Press, 1969), pp. 212, 219–221.

11 The author covered the Reagan campaign as a reporter for Knight-Ridder newspapers, and never picked up on Reagan’s nuclear abolitionist views. Yet his thinking was expressed in earlier years. See Reagan’s 1963 speech text, “Are Liberals Really Liberal?” in Reagan in His Own Hand, and Reagan’s address to the 1976 Republican National Convention, Anderson, pp. 69–71.

12 Reagan, “Peace: Restoring the Margin of Safety,” address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Convention, Chicago, August 18, 1980.

13 David Hoffman, “Reagan’s Lure Is His Optimism,” Detroit Free Press, Summer 1980.

14 Reagan, An American Life, p. 267.

15 Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York: Times Books, 1995), p. 484.

16 Lou Cannon, Ronald Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), pp. 299–301. Reagan’s diary for April 23 includes one version of what he calls a “script” of a letter written by hand. This is a short letter. In An American Life, pp. 272–273, Reagan reprints a broader version of the handwritten letter, apparently reflecting revisions by the State Department and others.

17 James A. Baker III, “Work Hard, Study …And Keep Out of Politics!” (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 2006), p. 163.

18 Reagan, An American Life, p. 273.

19 Thomas C. Reed, At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War (New York: Ballantine Books, 2004), pp. 266–270.

20 Gus Weiss, “The Farewell Dossier,” Studies in Intelligence, Center for the Study of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, vol. 39, no. 5, 1996.

21 Pelton volunteered information about the program as early as his first contact with the Soviets on Jan. 15, 1980, and received $20,000 from them in October. He received another $15,000 in 1983. Pelton was arrested in 1985 and convicted of spying in 1986. See United States of America v. Ronald William Pelton, Indictment, U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland, Dec. 20, 1985, case no. HM-850621.

22 Sherry Sontag and Christopher Drew, Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage (New York: PublicAffairs, 1998), p. 230.

23 Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), p. 583.

24 Thomas C. Reed communication with author, Nov. 21, 2006.

25 Richard Halloran, “Pentagon Draws Up First Strategy for Fighting a Long Nuclear War,” New York Times, May 30, 1982, p. 1.

26 Charles Mohr, “Preserving U.S. Command After Nuclear Attack,” New York Times, June 28, 1982, p. 18.

27 Thomas C. Reed, interview, Dec. 4, 2004.

28 John Lewis Gaddis, Strategies of Containment: A Critical Appraisal of American National Security Policy During the Cold War, rev. ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), p. 354.

29 Reed, p. 236.

30 Gaddis, p. 354.

31 Reagan diary, March 26, 1982.

32 NSDD 32 is dated May 20, 1982. But the next presidential directive, NSDD 33, is dated a week earlier, May 14. Reed said Clark put it into the system the day before he was to deliver a public speech, on May 21, describing the new approach.

33 Reagan admitted having trouble. “Some of the journalists who write so easily as to why we don’t sit down and start talking with the Soviets should know just how complicated it is,” he wrote. Reagan diary, April 21, 1982.

34 Reagan, An American Life, p. 553. See Dobrynin, pp. 502–503. In November 1981, Reagan had unveiled another arms control proposal, for intermediate-range nuclear forces in Europe. This was his “zero option,” proposing that the United States would forgo deployment of the Pershing IIs and GLCMs if the Soviets dismantled their Pioneers. Although it seemed one-sided at the time, it later proved to be the template for the 1987 treaty eliminating this entire class of weapons.

35 Reagan diary, May 24, 1982.

36 Carl Bernstein, “The Holy Alliance,” Time magazine, Feb. 24, 1992, pp. 28–35.

37 George Weigel, Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 441, and note 13, p. 905.

38 Steven R. Weisman, “Reagan, in Berlin, Bids Soviet Work for a Safe Europe,” New York Times, June 12, 1982, p. 1; and Edmund Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan (New York: Random House, 1999), p. 461.

39 George Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), p. 5.

40 This assessment was made in 1979 by Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering William J. Perry before the House Armed Services Committee. Also see Strategic Command, Control and Communications: Alternative Approaches for Modernization, Congressional Budget Office, October 1981.

41 Reed communication with author, Nov. 21, 2006.

42 NSDD 55.

43 James Mann, Rise of the Vulcans: The History of Bush’s War Cabinet (New York: Viking, 2004), Ch. 9.

44 Reagan diary, Nov. 13, 1982. Dobrynin, pp. 511–512.

45 “Report of the President’s Commission on Strategic Forces,” April 1983, p. 4.

46 In December, Congress voted to reduce funding until the basing could be resolved, but did not kill the missile altogether.

47 Donald R. Baucom, The Origins of SDI: 1944–1983 (Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas), p. 184. Baucom was staff historian for the U.S. Strategic Defense Initiative Organization.

48 Bob Sims, interview, Feb. 26, 1985.

49 Skinner, pp. 430–432. The essay is dated May 7, 1931.

50 Anderson, Hoover presentation.

51 A handwritten annotation says the speech was “written around 1962,” but archivists think it may have been 1963. See Skinner, pp. 438–442.

52 Among those who attended were Bendetsen and two members of the so-called kitchen cabinet, William A. Wilson, then U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, and Joseph Coors. “Daily Diary of President Ronald Reagan,” Jan. 8, 1992, RRPL. Graham was excluded. See Baucom, Ch. 7. Soon after the White House meeting, in early 1982, the group began to splinter over tactics. Bendetsen wanted to work quietly, but Graham decided to go public and published High Frontier: A New National Strategy, a 175-page study on using space platforms and existing or near-term technology. In another split, Graham envisioned non-nuclear defense, while physicist Edward Teller was pushing nuclear-pumped lasers. According to Baucom, for the rest of the year, Bendetsen continued to seek White House action on his Jan. 8 memorandum. A White House science office committee was also studying the idea. Late in the year, Bendetsen went as far as to write a proposed insert for a Reagan State of the Union speech endorsing strategic defense and sent it to the White House. Baucom, pp. 169–170. Another account of this period is contained in William J. Broad, Teller’s War: The Top Secret Story Behind the Star Wars Deception (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1992), pp. 114–115.

53 Broad, p. 118, quotes Ray Pollack, a White House official at the meeting.

54 Edward Teller with Judith Shoolery, Memoirs: A Twentieth-Century Journey in Science and Politics (Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2001), p. 530.

55 Reagan diary, Sept. 14, 1982. Teller described his idea as a laser “driven by a nuclear explosion.” Later in the 1980s, Teller endorsed a non-nuclear approach. Teller, pp. 528, 535–536.

56 Anderson, p. 97, and interview, Nov. 10, 2008. Also, “The Schedule of President Ronald Reagan,” Wednesday, Dec. 22, 1982, courtesy Annelise and Martin Anderson.

57 The commission, chaired by Brent Scowcroft, recommended April 6, 1983, that the United States put one hundred MX missiles in existing Minuteman silos and move to build a new generation of small, single-warhead missiles for the longer term. The commission said the “window of vulnerability” wasn’t serious enough to warrant expensive schemes such as Dense Pack or setting up ABM for silos. See “Report of the President’s Commission,” p. 17. Congress eventually approved fifty MX missiles in May 1985.

58 In addition to Baucom’s detailed account, see Cannon, pp. 327–333; Hedrick Smith, The Power Game (New York: Random House, 1988), pp. 596–616; Frances Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue: Reagan, Star Wars and the End of the Cold War(New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), Ch. 5; Morris, p. 471; Robert C. McFarlane, with Zofia Smardz, Special Trust (New York: Cadell & Davies, 1994), pp. 229–230; and Frederick H. Hartmann, Naval Renaissance: The U.S. Navy in the 1980s (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1990), Ch. 14.

59 McFarlane, pp. 226–229.

60 Reagan diary, Feb. 11, 1983.

61 Reagan diary, Feb. 15, 1983.

62 Jack F. Matlock Jr., Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 55. Shultz, p. 165.

63 Gordievsky, interview, Aug. 29, 2005; Oleg Gordievsky, Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky (London: Macmillan, 1995).

64 Andrew and Gordievsky, p. 589.

65 Reagan, An American Life, p. 570.

66 Reagan, An American Life, p. 569.

67 McFarlane warned Reagan twice he should consult Congress and the allies, but Reagan rejected the advice, Special Trust, pp. 230–231.

68 “U.S. Relations with the USSR,” NSDD 75, Jan. 17, 1983. Pipes, the Harvard professor who had led Team B, was on the White House National Security Council staff and drafted the directive. In his memoir, Pipes said that inducing change in the Soviet regime was the goal. Pipes, pp. 188–208. Raymond L. Garthoff said it was a compromise and the “main thrust of the directive … was pragmatic and geopolitical.” Garthoff, The Great Transition (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1994), p. 33.

69 In a letter Feb. 19, 2004, to Shultz, McFarlane recalled that Reagan had not made strategic defense a priority “through no less than four budget cycles” since taking office. Letter courtesy McFarlane.

70 Cannon, p. 331.

71 Shultz doubted the technology was ready, doubted the expertise of the joint chiefs and told Reagan the proposal was a “revolution in our strategic doctrine.” Shultz, p. 250.

72 Reagan diary, March 22, 1983.

73 Address by the president to the nation, March 23, 1983.


1 Dmitri Volkogonov, Autopsy for an Empire: The Seven Leaders Who Built the Soviet Regime (New York: Free Press, 1998), p. 361.

2 On July 16, 1982, Nitze, then negotiator for the United States, tried to work out a settlement in a “walk in the woods” with his Soviet counterpart, but the Soviets did not take up the ideas. Nitze, From Hiroshima to Glasnost: At the Center of Decision, A Memoir (New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1989), pp. 376–389.

3 Aleksander Savelyev and Nikolay Detinov, The Big Five: Arms Control Decision-making in the Soviet Union (Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 1995), p. 57. Also see Oleg Golubev et al., Rossiskaya Systema Protivoraketnoi Oboroniy [Russian System of Anti-Missile Defense] (Moscow: Tekhnokonsalt, 1994), p. 67.

4 “Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,” May 31, 1983, Communist Party of the Soviet Union on Trial, Fond 89, Opis 42, Delo 53. Hoover, 14 pp.

5 “The Problem of Discovering Preparation for a Nuclear Missile Attack on the USSR,” reproduced in Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions: Top Secret Files on KGB Foreign Operations, 1975–1985 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), p. 76.

6 Gordievsky, interview, Aug. 29, 2005.

7 Markus Wolf, Man Without a Face: The Autobiography of Communism’s Greatest Spymaster (New York: PublicAffairs, 1999), pp. 246–247; Ben B. Fischer, “A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare,” Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA, September 1997, pp. 14–17. The underground bunker was sealed by the West German military in 1993, but later reopened as a national historic building and tours offered. See

8 Volkogonov, p. 361.

9 Yevgeny Chazov, Health and Power (Moscow: Novosti, 1992), pp. 181–184.

10 “The History of the USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in 1982,” from Commanding officer, USS Enterprise, R. J. Kelly, to Chief of Naval Operations, March 28, 1983.

11 Pete Earley, Family of Spies: Inside the John Walker Spy Ring(New York: Bantam Books, 1988), p. 248.

12 John F. Lehman Jr., Command of the Seas: Building the 600 Ship Navy(New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1988), Ch. 4, and p. 137.

13 Confidential source.

14 “The History of USS Enterprise (CVN-65) in 1983,” Memorandum from J. J. Dantone to Chief of Naval Operations, April 23, 1984, and “Command History for Calendar Year 1983,” Memorandum from Commanding Officer, Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113, T. A. Chiprany, to Chief of Naval Operations, March 1, 1984. Watkins testimony is from Seymour M. Hersh, The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened to Flight 007 and What America Knew About It (New York: Random House, 1986), p. 24.

15 Hersh, pp. 25–26.

16 Andrei Illesh, “Secret of the Korean Boeing 747,” Izvestia, January 24, 1991, p. 5. This was part of a lengthy series by the journalist.

17 Whitworth had received $60,000 from Walker just before he sailed on the Enterprise in late 1982. Over nearly ten years, Whitworth received $332,000 for leaking secrets to the Soviets.

18 Howard Blum, I Pledge Allegiance… : The True Story of the Walkers: An American Spy Family (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987), p. 299.

19 Affidavit of Rear Admiral William O. Studeman, director of naval intelligence, in United States of America, Plaintiff, vs. Jerry Alfred Whitworth, Defendant, Criminal Case No. 85-0552 JPV, Aug. 25, 1986, reproduced as Appendix A in “Meeting the Espionage Challenge: A Review of United States Counterintelligence and Security Programs,” Report of the Select Committee on Intelligence, United States Senate, 99th Congress, 2d Session, Report 99-522, Oct. 3, 1986.

20 Affidavit of Studeman in United States of America, Plaintiff, vs. John Anthony Walker Jr., Defendant, Criminal No. H-85-0309, reproduced in Robert W. Hunter, Spy Hunter: Inside the FBI Investigation of the Walker Espionage Case (Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 1999), Appendix C, pp. 222–234.

21 Christopher Andrew, For the President’s Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency, from Washington to Bush (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), p. 472.

22 Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), pp. 37–38.

23 United Press International, Aug. 30, 1983, “Presidential Fence Is Finished.”

24 Politburo minutes, Aug. 4, 1983. Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, Volkogonov Collection, Reel 17, Container 25, on file at the National Security Archive, READD Record 9965.

25 Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade, p. 82.

26 Gordievsky, interview, Aug. 29, 2005.


1 This account is based on reports by the International Civil Aviation Organization, Dec. 2, 1983, and May 28, 1993, and on the Osipovich interview by Illesh.

2 The 1993 report of the ICAO stated: “The proximity of the RC-135 and KE 007 resulted in 1983 in confusion and the plotting of the track of only one aircraft.” Pp. 47–48.

3 Seymour M. Hersh, The Target Is Destroyed: What Really Happened to Flight 007 and What America Knew About It (New York: Random House, 1986), p. 78.

4 The plane rocking is mentioned in Osipovich interview, August 1997, for The Cold War, a 24-part television documentary produced by Jeremy Isaacs Productions for CNN and broadcast on BBC2, 1989–1999. Liddell Hart Center for Military Archives, Kings College, London, file no. 28/109.

5 Osipovich, The Cold War transcript.

6 Nancy Reagan with William Novak, My Turn (New York: Dell, 1989), p. 271.

7 Hersh, Ch. 8.

8 Cable “To All Diplomatic Posts,” Sept. 5, 1983, carrying “text of the background statement delivered by Under Secretary [Lawrence] Eagleburger September 5 concerning the flight of the US RC-135.” RRPL.

9 Douglas MacEachin, interview, July 25, 2005.

10 On Dec. 29, 1987, the State Department released an intelligence assessment showing the United States knew after the shoot down that it was due to Soviet ineptitude. Representative Lee Hamilton released the declassified assessment January 12, 1988. J. Edward Fox, assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs, said, “We had concluded by the second day (Sept. 2, 1983) that the Soviets thought they were pursuing a U.S. reconnaissance aircraft throughout most, if not all, of the overflight.”

11 Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), pp. 267–268. Also see George Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), p. 364.

12 Dmitri Volkogonov, Autopsy for an Empire: The Seven Leaders Who Built the Soviet Regime (New York: Free Press, 1998), p. 363.

13 Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York: Times Books, 1995), p. 537.

14 TASS, Sept. 1, 1983, 17:17 in English, “Soviet Air Space Violated,” FBIS, USSR International Affairs, Northeast Asia, Sept. 1, 1983, p. C2.

15 Meeting of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Soviet Union, Sept. 2, 1983, courtesy Svetlana Savranskaya, TNSA.

16 Volkogonov, pp. 365–366.

17 “Provocateurs Cover Traces,” TASS report in Pravda, Sept. 5, 1983, p. 5, FBIS, Sept. 6, 1983, USSR International Affairs, Northeast Asia, p. C 2-4.

18 On Sept. 5, Reagan signed NSDD 102, which punished Aeroflot, the Soviet national airline, and caused it to close offices in Washington and New York; seeking to force the Soviets to accept responsibility through public statements and compensation for families of the victims. Reagan reaffirmed existing sanctions on Aeroflot, and nonrenewal of a transportation treaty.

19 Gates, p. 290.

20 Volkogonov, p. 375.

21 Yevgeny Chazov, Health and Power (Moscow: Novosti, 1992), p. 184.

22 Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions: Top Secret Files on KGB Foreign Operations, 1975–1985 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), pp. 594–595.

23 Oleg Gordievsky, Next Stop Execution: The Autobiography of Oleg Gordievsky (London: Macmillan, 1995), p. 272.

24 Andrew and Gordievsky, p. 594.

25 Dobrynin, pp. 537–538.

26 Geoffrey Howe, Conflict of Loyalty (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994), pp. 349–350.

27 Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years(New York: HarperCollins, 1993), p.324.

28 Thatcher, p. 451.

29 Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp.77–78.

30 Elizabeth Teague, “War Scare in the USSR,” in Soviet/East European Survey: Selected Research and Analysis from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Vojtech Mastny, ed. (Durham: Duke University Press, 1985), pp. 71–76.

31 Dusko Doder, “Soviets Prepare People for Crisis in U.S. Ties,” Washington Post, Oct. 30, 1983, p. A34.

32 Savranskaya, interview, May 13, 2005.

33 Reagan diary, Oct. 10, 1983.

34 Edmund Morris, Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 498–499.

35 “Memorandum of conversation,” Oct. 11, 1983, RRPL. Also see Jack F. Matlock Jr., Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Random House, 1995), p. 83.

36 Desmond Ball, “Development of the SIOP, 1960–1983,” in Strategic Nuclear Targeting, pp. 79–83.

37 Reagan diary, Nov. 18, 1983.

38 Reagan, An American Life, p. 586.

39 Report of the DOD Commission on Beirut International Airport Terrorist Act, Oct. 23, 1983, issued Dec. 20, 1983.

40 The invasion was dubbed “Operation Urgent Fury” by the U.S. military, and it brought a public relations boost to the White House, but it was a small operation against weak foes. Eighteen U.S. troops were killed and 86 wounded.

41 Gates recalled that Casey briefed Reagan on the Soviet fears of nuclear war on December 22 based on separate information from Soviet military intelligence sources. Gates, p. 272.

42 McFarlane, interview, April 25, 2005. Gates concluded, “A genuine belief had taken root within the leadership of the [Warsaw] Pact that a NATO preemptive strike was possible.” Gates, p. 272.

43 Matlock, “Memorandum for Robert C. McFarlane,” Oct. 28, 1983, RRPL, Matlock Files, Box 90888.

44 Andrew and Gordievsky, p. 600.

45 McFarlane, interview, April 25, 2005.

46 Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions, p. 85.

47 Andrew and Gordievsky, p. 600.

48 Shultz, p. 376.

49 Draft Presidential Letter to Andropov, Dec. 19, 1983, RRPL, National Security Council files, Head of State, USSR, Andropov, Box 38.

50 Michael Getler, “Speech Is Less Combative; Positive Tone May Be Change of Tune,” Washington Post, p. 1, Jan. 17, 1984.

51 Fritz W. Ermarth, “Observations on the ‘War Scare’ of 1983 from an Intelligence Perch,” Parallel History Project on NATO and the Warsaw Pact, November 6, 2003. See

52 “Implications of Recent Soviet Military-Political Activities,” Special National Intelligence Estimate SNIE 11-10-84/JX, May 18, 1984.

53 Ermarth later said that what animated Soviet behavior “was not fear of an imminent military confrontation but worry that Soviet economic and technological weaknesses and Reagan policies were turning the ‘correlation of forces’ against them on a historic scale.” See “Observations.”

54 Ermarth acknowledged gaps in his knowledge about U.S. naval activity. “We had an abundance of intelligence on the Red side, but our ability to assess it was hampered by lack of knowledge about potentially threatening Blue activities we knew or suspected were going on. This is a classic difficulty and danger for intelligence, particularly at the national level. Our leaders in intelligence and defense must strive to overcome it, particularly in confrontational situations.” Ermarth, “Observations.”

55 Ermarth, interview, Feb. 20, 2006.

56 Gates, p. 273.

57 The review was conducted by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under President George H. W. Bush. According to Ermarth, who was allowed to review the document, it concluded that the 1984 SNIE did not take seriously enough the Soviet fears of nuclear war. Also see Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 67.


1 Ken Alibek with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), p. 20.

2 Igor V. Domaradsky and Wendy Orent, Biowarrior: Inside the Soviet/Russian Biological Warfare Machine (New York: Prometheus Books, 2003), p. 157. Domaradsky published his memoir in Russian in 1995 as Perevertish, Rasskaz ‘Neudobnogo’ Cheloveka, Moscow, 1995, or approximately, Turncoat, Story of an “Inconvenient” Man. The Domaradsky-Orent translation includes additional elaboration.

3 Popov interviews, Jan. 21, 2005, March 31, 2005, May 16, 2005 (with Taissia Popova), and Feb. 22, 2007, as well as correspondence.

4 According to Michael Gait, who sponsored Popov at the laboratory, in 1980 the task was how to make short sections of DNA “using our new chemical methods of solid phase, machine-aided synthesis that I and a few others in the world had developed. These short sections were being used in several applications in molecular biology including whole gene synthesis. They indeed wanted this technology in Russia and Sergei was sent to learn it.” Gait, communication with author, July 8, 2008.

5 The other organization was the M. M. Shemyakin Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the Russian Academy of Sciences, named for its founder. At the time of the interferon work, it was under the direction of Shemyakin’s successor, Yuri Ovchinnikov, who became a founder and architect of the secret biological weapons program. In 1992, the institute was renamed the M. M. Shemyakin and Yu. A. Ovchinnikov Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry.

6 Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, “Smallpox Overview,” Aug. 9, 2004.

7 Jonathan B. Tucker, Scourge: The Once and Future Threat of Smallpox (New York: Atlantic Monthly Press), 2001, pp. 2–3.

8 This account is based on Domaradsky’s memoir as well as interviews with him, August 1999 and Sept. 6, 2004.

9 Based on a tour, May 24, 2000, and information from employees.

10 Secret military institutes and bureaus in Soviet times were usually identified by a post office box number.

11 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Department of Health and Human Services, “Consensus Statement: Tularemia as a Biological Weapon: Medical and Public Health Management,” July 1, 2005, drawn from D. T. Dennis, T.V. Inglesby, D.A. Henderson et al., Journal of the American Medical Association, June 6, 2001, vol. 285, no. 21: 2763–2773.

12 Lisa Melton, “Drugs in Peril: How Do Antibiotics Work?” and “Bacteria Bite Back: How Do Bacteria Become Resistant to Antibiotics?;” and Robert Bud, “The Medicine Chest: The History of Antibiotics,” The Wellcome Trust, http://www.wellcome.ah,

13 Alibek, p. 161.

14 The term was taken from five health problem commissions set up in the 1950s and 1960s. According to Raymond A. Zilinskas, “Problem No. 5” was responsible for defense of the population against bacteria, including biological weapons. The commission operated out of the N. F. Gamaleya Scientific Research Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology of the Soviet Academy of Medical Sciences, in Moscow, and all research was top secret. See Zilinskas, “The Anti-plague System and the Soviet Biological Warfare Program,” Critical Reviews in Microbiology, vol. 32, pp. 47–64, 2006.

15 On Lysenko, see Valery N. Soyfer, Lysenko and the Tragedy of Soviet Science (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1994), Leo and Rebecca Gruliow, trans.; Zhores Medvedev, The Rise and Fall of T. D. Lysenko (New York: Columbia University Press, 1969), I. Michael Lerner, trans.; Medvedev, Soviet Science (New York: W. W. Norton, 1978); and David Joravsky, The Lysenko Affair (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1970). On Vavilov, see Peter Pringle, The Murder of Nikolai Vavilov (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2008).

16 George W. Christopher, Theodore J. Cieslak, Julie A. Pavlin, and Edward M. Eitzen, Jr., “Biological Warfare: A Historical Perspective,” in Biological Weapons: Limiting the Threat, Joshua Lederberg, ed., Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 1999), p. 18. For additional details, see The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Vol. 1, “The Rise of CBW Weapons,” Chapter 2, and “Biological and Toxin Weapons: Research, Development and Use from the Middle Ages to 1945,” SIPRI Chemical and Biological Warfare Studies, No. 18, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Erhard Geissler, John Ellis, Courtland Moon, eds. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

17 SIPRI, The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare, Ch. 2, p. 128.

18 The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee favorably reported the protocol in 1926, but there was strong lobbying against it, and it was withdrawn from Senate consideration because it lacked the necessary two-thirds vote. The protocol entered into force on Feb. 8, 1928, without the United States. The protocol was ratified by the United States in 1975. George Bunn, Gas and Germ Warfare: International History and Present Status, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, January 1970, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 253–260; and U.S. Department of State,

19 “There is no evidence that the enemy ever resorted to this means of warfare,” said a U.S. report, “Biological Warfare, Report to the Secretary of War by Mr. George W. Merck, Special Consultant for Biological Warfare,” Jan. 3, 1946. But the history of this period shows the Japanese program was intense and deadly. See Sheldon Harris, Factories of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932–1945, and the American Cover-up (New York: Routledge, 2002); Peter Williams and David Wallace, Unit 731: Japan’s Secret Biological Warfare in World War II (New York: Free Press, 1989); Daniel Barenblatt, A Plague upon Humanity: The Secret Genocide of Axis Japan’s Germ Warfare Operation (New York: HarperCollins, 2004); and Hal Gold, Unit 731 Testimony (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 1996).

20 On the civil war, see Alibek, p. 32. The army in 1926 set up the Vaccine-Serum Laboratory, responsible for developing vaccines and sera against common infectious diseases, at Vlasikha, outside of Moscow. This laboratory undertook secret research on offensive germ warfare, according to Jonathan B. Tucker and Raymond A. Zilinskas, The 1971 Smallpox Epidemic in Aralsk, Kazakhstan, and the Soviet Biological Warfare Program, Occasional Paper No. 9, James Martin Center (Formerly the Center for Nonproliferation Studies), 2002, p. 5. The system was renamed the Biotechnical Institute in 1934, and in 1937 moved to Gorodomlya Island, in the Tver oblast. Zilinskas, communication with author. Documents in the Russian military archives indicate that in 1937 the laboratory was engaged in offensive biowarfare work, including gravity bombs and anthrax. Russian State Military Archive, Fond 4, Opis 14, Delo 1856. The author is indebted to Mikhail Tsypkin for these documents.

21 “Soviet Russia, Bacteriological Warfare,” January 17, 1927, CX 9767, a report from the British S.I.S., file WO 188/784, British National Archives. The report said tests were planned with anthrax, plague and encephalitis.

22 Alibek, pp. 33–37.

23 The Hirsch report contained detailed information on Soviet activities from 1939 to 1945, based on his interrogation of Soviet prisoners of war and material taken from German intelligence files. It identified the island as a BW proving ground. Wilson E. Lexow and Julian Hoptman, “The Enigma of Soviet BW,” Studies in Intelligence, vol. 9, Spring 1965. Also, Special National Intelligence Estimate, “Implications of Soviet Use of Chemical and Toxin Weapons for US Security Interests,” SNIE 11-17-83, September 15, 1983, Annex B.

24 “Soviet Capabilities and Probable Courses of Action Through Mid-1959,” NIE 11-4-54, Sept. 14, 1954, p. 24.

25 Lexow and Hoptman, “The Enigma.”

26 “U.S. Army Activity in the U.S. Biological Warfare Programs,” Feb. 24, 1977, Vol. 1. This is the official history. Vol. 2, Annex A, is the Merck report to the secretary of war, recapitulating the events of the biological weapons program during the war, Jan. 3, 1946. Also see Theodore Rosebury, Peace or Pestilence (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1949), pp. 6–7.

27 Milton Leitenberg, The Problem of Biological Weapons (Stockholm: National Defence College, 2004), pp. 49–94.

28 The United Kingdom, the United States and Canada began a joint program for an anthrax cluster bomb. The United States was to provide agent production, and Canada provide safe facilities for trials. It was called the “N-bomb” project. By war’s end, field trials had shown the feasibility of tactical use of biological weapons agents in cluster bombs, but the U.S. plant had not begun production, nor approved the use of biological warfare. Separately, at Porton Down, the United Kingdom created an unsophisticated anti-livestock weapon, a squat, cylindrical cattle cake of linseed meal laced with anthrax spores. The production lines made 5 million cattle cakes between late 1942 and April 1943. The plan was to spread the cattle cakes into German fields, dropping them from bombers, to cripple German animal production—only in retaliation if the Germans used such weapons first. The Germans did not; the cattle cakes remained unused and were destroyed after the war. Confidential source; also see Deadly Cultures, eds. Mark Wheelis, Lajos Rózsa and Malcolm Dando (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 4; and Brian Balmer, Britain and Biological Warfare: Expert Advice and Science Policy, 1930–1965 (Hampshire and New York: Palgrave, 2001).

29 Ed Regis, The Biology of Doom: The History of America’s Secret Germ Warfare Project (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1999), pp. 71–74.

30 U.S. Army history, p. 38. Also, see Conrad C. Crane, “No Practical Capabilities: American Biological and Chemical Warfare Programs During the Korean War,” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, vol. 45, no. 2 (Spring 2002): 241–249. Crane concluded: “When the war ended, American chemical and biological weapons stocks were not much more than when it began.” The available biological weapons stocks included only anti-crop rust.

31 Tularemia strains were used, for which there were effective antibiotics.

32 The tests are listed in the U.S. Army study, Vol. II, Appendix IV, to Annex E, tables 1–6.

33 Matthew Meselson, “Averting the Hostile Exploitation of Biotechnology,” CBW Conventions Bulletin, June 2000, pp. 16–19. Also see Jeanne Guillemin, Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), pp. 103–105. The British carried out five series of sea trials between 1948 and 1955 with some American support. Balmer, Britain and Biological Warfare. Also see

34 Regis, p. 206, quotes from the final report of this test that a single weapon was calculated to have covered 2,400 square kilometers, or 926.5 square miles. British research had also shown that off-target releases by ship, plane or vehicle had considerable advantages over bursting munitions such as those envisioned during World War II.

35 Confidential source familiar with the British trial results.

36 Meselson was assisted by a researcher, Milton Leitenberg, who said in a communication with the author that the petition had origins in opposition to the use of the agents in the Vietnam War. Donald F. Hornig, “Memorandum for the President,” Dec. 8, 1966, LBJ Library, courtesy Meselson archive. On the military’s opposition, see Foreign Relations of the United States, 1964–1968, Volume X: National Security Policy, Documents No. 173 and 178.

37 Richard D. McCarthy, The Ultimate Folly: War by Pestilence, Asphyxiation and Defoliation (New York: Knopf, 1970), p. 109.

38 NBC’s First Tuesday, on Feb. 4, 1969.

39 Robert A. Wampler, ed., “Biowar: The Nixon Administration’s Decision to End U.S. Biological Warfare Programs,” TNSA EBB 58, doc. 1. Also, Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976, Vol. E-2, Documents on Arms Control, 1969–1972, Part 3: Chemical and Biological Warfare; Geneva Protocol; Biological Weapons Convention.

40 Chemical and Bacteriological (Biological) Weapons and the Effects of Their Possible Use, Report of the Secretary-General, the United Nations, Department of Political and Security Council Affairs, New York, 1969.

41 “Health Aspects of Chemical and Biological Weapons,” Report of a WHO Group of Consultants, World Health Organization, Geneva, 1970; submitted to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Nov. 28, 1969, p. 19.

42 Jonathan B. Tucker, “A Farewell to Germs: The U.S. Renunciation of Biological and Toxin Warfare, 1969–1970,” International Security, vol. 27, no. 1, Summer 2002, pp. 107–148. Also see Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1976.

43 Kissinger Telephone Conversations, DNSA, Nov. 25, 1969, 12:30 P.M., and 6:30 P.M. National Archives, Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Henry A. Kissinger Telephone Conversation Transcripts (Telcons). Chronological File. Box 3. November 18–28, 1969.

44 H. R. Haldeman, The Haldeman Diaries (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994), p. 111.

45 William Safire, “On Language: Weapons of Mass Destruction,” The New York Times Magazine, April 19, 1998, p. 22.

46 Matthew Meselson, “The United States and the Geneva Protocol of 1925,” September 1969, Meselson personal archive. Jeanne Guillemin, Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-sponsored Programs to Contemporary Bioterrorism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2005), p. 123. Also see BioEssays 25:12, pp. 1236— 1246, 2003.

47 White House science adviser Lee A. DuBridge said the President’s Science Advisory Committee recommended that the U.S. “renounce all offensive BW; stop completely the procurement of material for offensive BW; destroy existing stockpiles of BW agents and maintain no stockpiles in the future.” TNSA EBB 58, doc. 5. Also see “Averting the Hostile Exploitation of Biotechnology,” CBW Conventions Bulletin, Quarterly Journal of the Harvard Sussex Program on CBW Armament and Arms Limitation, issue no. 48, June 2000, pp. 16–19.

48 “HAK Talking Points, Briefing for Congressional Leadership and Press,” TNSA EBB 58, doc. 11.

49 Public Papers of the Presidents, 1969, pp. 968–1970.

50 Memorandum for the President, July 6, 1970, from Melvin Laird, Tab A, “Material to be destroyed (biological and toxin),” TNSA EBB 58, doc. 22.

51 Report to the National Security Council, U.S. Policy on Chemical and Biological Warfare and Agents, TNSA EBB 58, docs. 6a and 6.

52 Foreign Relations, 1969–1972, Vol. E-2, “Minutes of NSC Meeting on Chemical Warfare and Biological Warfare, Nov. 18, 1969.”

53 Raymond L. Garthoff has offered a suggestion, which remains unproven, that U.S. disinformation persuaded the Soviets that the United States was continuing work on biological weapons after the Nixon decision. According to Garthoff, the FBI fed disinformation to the Soviets that the United States was undertaking a clandestine BW program. See Garthoff, “Polyakov’s Run,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 56, no. 5, September/October 2000, p. 37. It is known there was a disinformation campaign for chemical weapons, which is described by David Wise in Cassidy’s Run: The Secret Spy War over Nerve Gas (New York: Random House, 2000). Details of a disinformation campaign on BW are not known.


1 Jonathan B. Tucker and Raymond A. Zilinskas, “The 1971 Smallpox Epidemic in Aralsk, Kazakhstan, and the Biological Warfare Program.” The paper includes “An Epidemiological Analysis of the 1971 Smallpox Outbreak in Aralsk, Kazakhstan,” by Alan P. Zelicoff, Sandia National Laboratories, pp. 12–21.

2 Burgasov later gave bogus explanations for the Sverdlovsk anthrax epidemic, saying it was caused by contaminated meat. However, his comments in this case seem worth examining; he would have known the truth at the time.

3 Yevgenia Kvitko, “Smallpox, Another Useful Weapon,” an interview with Pyotr Burgasov, Moscow News, no. 47, Nov. 21, 2001. Burgasov made several errors in the statement. He was wrong that there were no survivors. Also, the smallpox formula was not “developed” at the island, which was a testing site.

4 The British closed down their bioweapons program in the 1950s. For the British declaration of Aug. 6, 1968, see “The Problem of Chemical and Biological Warfare,” SIPRI, Vol. 4, CB Disarmament Negotiations, 1920–1970, p. 255. For additional insights on the thinking, see “Cabinet, The Queen’s Speech on the Opening of Parliament,” Oct. 16, 1969, British National Archives, file FCO 66/297.

5 Foreign Relations of the United States, 1969–1972: Vol. E-2, Documents on Arms Control. The State Department transcribed portions of the following: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, White House Tapes, with Kissinger, April 10, 1972, 12:44–1:06 P.M., Conversation No. 705–13, and with Connally, April 11, 1972, 3:06–5:05 P.M., Conversation No. 706–5. See

6 Domaradsky, Biowarrior: Inside the Soviet/Russian Biological Warfare Machine (New York: Prometheus Books, 2003), p. 120.

7 James D. Watson, with Andrew Berry, DNA: The Secret of Life (New York: Knopf, 2003), Ch. 4.

8 Ken Alibek, with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), p. 41.

9 Joshua Lederberg, ed., Biological Weapons: Limiting the Threat(Cambridge, Mass.: Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, 1999), “Germs as Arms: Basic Issues,” Table 1.1, p. 4.

10 The formal title was the Interdepartmental Scientific-Technical Council for Molecular Biology and Genetics. Domaradsky said orders to begin this work were first given in 1971, the year before he came to Moscow. However, other evidence, including dates given by Alibek, suggests the decisions came later, in 1973–1974. Estimates vary on the precise size of the program. A document in Katayev estimates the main organization, Biopreparat, had thirty facilities and twenty-five thousand employees, but some of these may have been working on legitimate civilian projects. “Khim-Prom,” Katayev, Hoover, no date. Alibek, p. 43, says there were thirty thousand employees in Biopreparat, with sixty thousand in the biological weapons effort overall at the peak.

11 Domaradsky, p. 151. The open decree was April 19, 1974. A separate secret decree May 21, 1974, established the microbiology institute at Obolensk, and the founding decree for the institute at Koltsovo came Aug. 2, 1974.

12 Alibek, p. 41.

13 “Iz vystupleniya predstavitelya SSSR v Komitete po razoruzhenniu A. A. Roshchina 12 iyunia 1975g” [From the appearance of the representative of the USSR at the Conference on Disarmament], Katayev, Hoover.

14 William Beecher, “Soviets Feared Violating Germ Weapons Ban,” Boston Globe, Sept. 28, 1975, p. 1. Beecher identified facilities in Sverdlovsk, Zagorsk and Omutninsk. These were part of the older military system, not the concealed Biopreparat facilities.

15 Robert A. Wampler and Thomas S. Blanton, eds., “U.S. Intelligence on the Deadliest Modern Outbreak,” TNSA, EBB No. 61, doc. 1. Posev, a Russian émigré journal, published an article in October 1979 about a germ warfare accident, but identified the wrong city, saying it was in Novosibirsk.

16 Associated Press, March 21, 1980.

17 David K. Willis, “Soviets: U.S. Double-crossed Us on Germ Warfare Charges,” Christian Science Monitor, March 28, 1980, p. 10. When the public statement was made, Willis reported, “The Soviets were furious. First they had been approached in private, and now it was around the world.”

18 TNSA EBB No. 61, doc. 10. Willis reported the Soviets issued three separate public statements March 19–20.

19 Jeanne Guillemin, Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), p. 8. Israelyan admitted it was a fabrication. Victor Israelyan, On the Battlefields of the Cold War: A Soviet Ambassador’s Confession (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003), p. 315.

20 Final Declaration of the First Review Conference, March 21, 1980.

21 TNSA EBB No. 61, doc. 10. The message may have been written imprecisely. An outbreak of inhalation anthrax might be expected to have fast impact, while contaminated meat could be prolonged because of transport and storage. But the larger point was that the United States believed it had been inhalation anthrax.

22 Meselson, “Memorandum to files regarding Sverdlovsk,” 1980, 7 pages, courtesy Meselson archive. Meselson, interview, Sept. 18, 2008. Meselson worked alone with Hoptman, but his analysis was fed into a government working group. After several months of examining the intelligence, the group concluded there had been an accidental release at the Sverdlovsk facility that caused an emission of anthrax spores and resulted in the first wave of deaths, possibly followed by a second wave caused by contaminated meat that was purchased on the black market. Leslie H. Gelb, “Keeping an Eye on Russia,” The New York Times Magazine, Nov. 29, 1981. Also see Guillemin, p. 9.

23 Alibek, Ch. 5 and 8.

24 He was known then as Kanatjan Alibekov. He changed his name to Ken Alibek years later upon arrival in the United States.

25 Alibek, p. 53.

26 Alibek said 836 was a code number for a natural strain of anthrax that the Soviets had found in Kirov in the 1950s. Alibek, interview, June 18, 2007.

27 Roger Roffey, Kristina S. Westerdahl, Conversion of Former Biological Weapons Facilities in Kazakhstan, A Visit to Stepnogorsk, July 2000, Swedish Defense Research Agency, May 2001. Report No. FOI-R-0082-SE, based on a conference held in Stepnogorsk, July 24–26, 2000. Also, Gulbarshyn Bozheyeva, Yerlan Kunakbayev and Dastan Yeleukenov, Former Soviet Biological Weapons Facilities in Kazakhstan: Past, Present, and Future, Occasional Paper No. 1, Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, June 1999.

28 Alibek says overall the Soviet capacity was five thousand tons a year, but the actual military mobilization plans were less. A plant in Kurgan was to make one thousand tons, Penza five hundred tons and Stepnogorsk three hundred tons, for a total of eighteen hundred a year.


1 Mikhail Gorbachev, Memoirs (New York: Doubleday, 1996), p. 152.

2 Angus Roxburgh, The Second Russian Revolution (London: BBC Books, 1991), p. 17; and Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), pp. 67–68. By Volsky’s account, Andropov flew into a rage at the deletion, and Gorbachev was sent to calm him down. Gorbachev claimed in his memoirs that neither Chernenko, Andropov nor Volsky ever talked to him about it.

3 Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), p. 458.

4 Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 80.

5 Gorbachev, p. 155.

6 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 8.

7 Valery E. Yarynich, C3: Nuclear Command, Control Cooperation (Washington: Center for Defense Information, 2003), pp. 140–141; and Yarynich interviews and correspondence, 1998–2009.

8 Yarynich, pp. 142–145.

9 Yarynich, p. 146.

10 TV Center, Moscow, revealed the “Grot” code name, long a secret, in a broadcast Oct. 10, 2008. Also see Bruce Blair, president of the Center for Defense Information, wrote in the Washington Post on May 25, 2003, that at Kosvinsky, Russian commanders can communicate to strategic forces using very-low-frequency (VLF) radio signals. He added, “The facility is the critical link to Russia’s ‘dead hand’ communications network, designed to ensure semi-automatic retaliation to a decapitating strike.”

11 The decision was dated August 30, 1974, according to a history of Yuzhnoye, S. N. Konyukhov, ed., “Prizvany vremenem: Rakety i kosmicheskiye apparaty konstruktorskogo buro ‘Yuzhnoye’” [Called up for service by the time: Missiles and spacecraft of the “Yuzhnoye” Design Bureau] (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine: ART-PRESS, 2004).

12 A document from the Katayev archive dated February 1982 confirms that the system was under construction then but not yet tested. The Katayev records also show six SS-17 missiles brought on duty in 1984 as Perimeter. See Podvig, “The Window of Vulnerability That Wasn’t,” International Security, vol. 3, no. 1, Summer 2008.

13 Further confirmation of plans for a fully automatic retaliatory system is contained in an internal Soviet defense document in Katayev, Hoover. Oleg Belyakov, who worked in Katayev’s department, complained in a 1985 memo that not enough attention had been paid “to a proposal, extremely important from the military and political point of view, to create a fully-automated retaliatory strike system that would be activated from the top command levels in a moment of crisis (with a notification to the adversary).” The comment about a “super-project” is from Katayev, Some Facts. Hines quotes Viktor M. Surikov, who had spent thirty years in building, designing and testing missiles, as saying the Dead Hand was designed by his team and approved by the Central Committee, but a fully automatic system was later rejected by Marshal Sergei Akhromeyev, chief of the General Staff. Hines et al., Soviet Intentions 1965–1985, BDM Federal Inc., vol. 2, pp. 134–135.

14 This description is from Yarynich interviews with the author, as well as C3, p. 156; Korobushin interview, Hines, vol. 2, p. 107; Bruce Blair, Global Zero Alert for Nuclear Forces, Brookings Occasional Papers (Washington: Brookings Institution, 1995), pp. 43–56.

15 The United States was the chief adversary, but Western European or other targets might also have been included. China had a relatively small nuclear force.

16 Yarynich details the test on p. 170 in C3. The delay was described in an interview with the author.


1 Reagan, An American Life, p. 589.

2 Massie first met with Reagan January 17, 1984, before the trip. She reports meeting him twenty-two times in his second term, and taught him the Russian proverb Doveryai no proveryai, or “Trust, but Verify.” See Also see Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober, The Reagan Presidency: An Oral History of the Era (Washington, D.C.: Brassey’s, 2003), pp. 222–228. Reagan’s diary, March 1, 1984.

3 Jack F. Matlock Jr., Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended (New York: Random House, 2004), p. 88.

4 Reagan diary, March 2, 1984.

5 Reagan, An American Life, pp. 594–597.

6 Christopher Andrew and Oleg Gordievsky, KGB: The Inside Story (New York: HarperCollins, 1990), p. 602.

7 Andrew and Gordievsky, pp. 603–604.

8 NSDD 119, Jan. 6, 1984. Christopher Simpson, National Security Directives of the Reagan and Bush Administrations: The Declassified History of U.S. Political and Military Policy, 1981–1991 (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), pp. 374–378.

9 Peter Grier, “The Short Happy Life of the Glick-Em,” Air Force magazine, Journal of the Air Force Association, vol. 85, no. 7, July 2002.

10 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 9.

11 Herbert E. Meyer, vice chairman, National Intelligence Council, “What Should We Do About the Russians?” June 28, 1984, NIC 03770-84.

12 Matlock, p. 95.

13 Reagan diary, April 9, 1984.

14 David Hoffman, “Chernenko ‘Disappointed’ White House,” Washington Post, April 10, 1984, p. 9.

15 Reagan, An American Life, p. 602. Also see SNIE 11-9-84, Soviet Policy Toward the United States in 1984, Aug. 9, 1984.

16 Seweryn Bialer, The Soviet Paradox: External Expansion, Internal Decline (New York: Knopf, 1986), see Ch. 6.

17 George Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), p. 480.

18 Shultz, p. 484. Gromyko recounted the moment to Dobrynin as if it had been more an exchange of slogans. Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York: Times Books, 1995), p. 556.

19 Shultz, p. 484; Andrei Gromyko, Harold Shukman, trans., Memories(London: Hutchison, 1989), p. 307.

20 Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 93.

21 Steve Coll, Ghost Wars(New York: Penguin Books, 2004), p. 102.

22 Andrew and Gordievsky, p. 604.

23 Shultz, p. 477. Andropov had proposed a unilateral moratorium on space weapons the previous year, just before the KAL shoot-down.

24 Nigel Hey, The Star Wars Enigma: Behind the Scenes of the Cold War Race for Missile Defense (Dulles, Va.: Potomac Books, 2006), p. 136.

25 The New York Times raised questions Aug. 18, 1993, about whether the test was rigged. The General Accounting Office found no evidence that it was, though the playing field was slightly tilted by heating the target so it would be easier for the interceptor to discover and turning the target sideways. The investigation revealed that the United States had also devised a deception program that would have exploded the target regardless to spook the Soviets. However, the deception program was not used in the June 1984 test. It had been readied in the first two experiments, but the interceptor and rocket missed by such a wide margin that the deception explosion was not used. “Ballistic Missile Defense: Records Indicate Deception Program Did Not Affect 1984 Test Results,” United States General Accounting Office, GAO/NSIAD-94-219, July 1994.

26 George Raine, “Creating Reagan’s Image; S.F. Ad Man Riney Helped Secure Him a Second Term,” San Francisco Chronicle, June 9, 2004, p. C1.

27 Shultz, p. 478.


1 Except where otherwise noted, Margaret Thatcher’s recollections are from her memoir, The Downing Street Years (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), pp. 452–453, and 459–463. Mikhail Gorbachev’s recollections are chiefly from his Memoirs in English and in Russian, Zhizn’ i reformi, two vols. (Moscow: Novosti, 1995). In some cases, as noted, Gorbachev’s comments are from the author’s interview in 2006; and Conversations with Gorbachev, transcribed interviews with himself and Zdeněk MlynááY (New York: Columbia University Press, 2002). Raisa Gorbachev mentioned the Chernenko permission in her memoir I Hope: Reminiscences and Reflections (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 125.

2 Geoffrey Howe, interview with BBC’s “The Westminster Hour,” May 2005.

3 Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 77.

4 Gordievsky, interview, August 29, 2005; and Next Stop, pp. 305–313.

5 Gorbachev told a British official during the visit that the first modern English novel he read was Snow’s Corridors of Power. Archie Brown, Seven Years That Changed the World: Perestroika in Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), p. 46. Also, The Observer, London, Dec. 23, 1984, p. 4; “The Westminster Hour,” BBC series Power Eating, by Anne Perkins, May 2005.

6 Geoffrey Howe, Conflict of Loyalty (New York: St. Martin’s, 1994), pp. 358–360.

7 The ad appeared Feb. 22, 1984. On the first page, which Gorbachev used for his prop, were the boxes and dots. On the second page, in bold headline, the advertisement asked “COULD THIS BE EARTH’S LAST CHART?” It was sponsored by a businessman, Harold Willens, who had spelled out his hopes to stop the arms race in a book, The Trimtab Factor: How Business Executives Can Help Solve the Nuclear Weapons Crisis (New York: William Morrow and Co., Inc., 1984). Willens, chairman of the California bilateral nuclear freeze initiative campaign of 1982, attributed his antinuclear views to his experiences in the Pacific as a marine. He visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki weeks after the World War II bombing and was horrified at what he saw. Willens had fled the Soviet Union with his parents when he was eight years old and settled in Los Angeles, where he became a successful businessman.

8 See “Memorandum of Conversation,” meeting with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Dec. 22, 1984, Camp David.

9 Gorbachev, interview, June 30, 2006.

10 In the Dec. 23, 1983, issue of Science, two articles by teams of scientists argued that a nuclear war would have devastating environmental and ecological effects on the globe. In January 1984, a Vatican working group issued a report describing nuclear winter. “Nuclear Winter: A Warning,” Pontificiae Academiae Scientiarvm Docvmenta, 11, Jan. 23–25, 1984. Among the scientists who participated was Yevgeny Velikhov, who became a key adviser to Gorbachev.

11 Thatcher interview with John Cole, BBC, Dec. 17, 1984.

12 See

13 Memorandum of conversation, Dec. 22, 1984.

14 Gorbachev’s maternal grandfather had become a supporter of the Bolsheviks because the family was given the land they worked on after the revolution. “In the oral history of our family, it was constantly repeated: the revolution gave our family land,” he said. Conversations, p. 14.

15 David Remnick, “Young Gorbachev,” Washington Post, p. B1, Dec. 1, 1989.

16 The Soviet Union was not a rule-of-law state in the Western sense. But the law faculties were often used to groom future recruits for service in diplomacy, security services and party work.

17 Gorbachev and MlynááY, Conversations, p. 18.

18 The full title was History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolsheviks), Short Course, 1939.

19 Brown, p. 39.

20 In the Soviet system, the procuracy was more than just a prosecutor. The office also had an accountant’s auditing function and served as a watchdog for the party.

21 Ever since the Bolshevik revolution, the Communist Party leadership strove to keep the restiveness of youth in check through Komsomol. See Steven L. Solnick, Stealing the State: Control and Collapse in Soviet Institutions (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999).

22 Raisa Gorbachev, pp. 93–99.

23 Gorbachev, Conversations, p. 38.

24 Robert G. Kaiser, Why Gorbachev Happened: His Triumphs and His Failure (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), p. 41.

25 Time magazine editors, Mikhail S. Gorbachev: An Intimate Biography (New York: Time Inc., 1998), p. 98.

26 Brown, p. 45.

27 Gorbachev, Conversations, p. 47.

28 Gorbachev, Conversations, pp. 42–43.

29 Gorbachev succeeded Fedor Kulakov, who died July 17, 1978. Kulakov, who was previously first secretary in Stavropol, had been a mentor. Gorbachev delivered a eulogy for him in Red Square. However, the delay between his death in July and Gorbachev’s elevation in November may have meant internal wrangling over the appointment.

30 Volkogonov, p. 446, notes that Gorbachev’s assignment was doomed; decrees were never going to solve agricultural problems that dated back to Stalin’s disastrous campaign against the peasants.

31 The most significant source of unorthodox thinking was in Novosibirsk, Siberia, where an outspoken reform economist, Abel Aganbegyan, had come up with a candid and devastating critique of the Soviet economy. A colleague, Tatyana Zaslavskaya, a sociologist, prepared a landmark internal paper challenging the entire structure of the Soviet economy, which was debated at a 1983 conference in Novosibirsk. See Tatyana Zaslavskaya, The Second Socialist Revolution: An Alternative Soviet Strategy (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990).

32 Robert D. English, Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals and the End of the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), pp. 172–173.

33 Narodnoye Khozyaistvo SSSR v 1983 g. [Agriculture in the USSR in 1983] (Moscow: Finances and Statistics, 1984), p. 269.

34 Henry Kreisler, “Conversation with Alexander Yakovlev,” Nov. 21, 1996, Conversations with History, Institute of International Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Also, English, p. 184.

35 English, p. 190.

36 Eduard Shevardnadze, The Future Belongs to Freedom (New York: Free Press, 1991), pp. 23, 37.

37 Yegor Ligachev, Inside Gorbachev’s Kremlin (New York: Pantheon Books, 1993), p. 58.

38 Chernyaev diary, Feb. 26 and March 2, 1985.

39 Alexander Yakovlev, Sumerki (Moscow: Materik, 2003), pp. 459–461.

40 Brown, Seven Years That Changed the World, p. 32.

41 March 11 comments from minutes of the Politburo meeting, the Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Volkogonov Collection, Reel 17, Container 25.

42 Georgi Shakhnazarov, Tsena Svobody: Reformatsiya Gorbacheva Glazami yevo Pomoshnika (Moscow: Rossika-Zevs, 1993), pp. 35–36.


1 Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), p. 329.

2 Reagan diary, April 19, 1985. Reagan acknowledged in his memoir, “I can’t claim that I believed from the start that Mikhail Gorbachev was going to be a different sort of Soviet leader.” Reagan, An American Life (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990), p. 614.

3 Reagan, An American Life, pp. 615–616.

4 Reagan diary, March 20, 1985. In his memoir, Reagan said he told aides “we’d have to be as tough as ever in dealing with the Soviets” but “we should work hard to establish channels directly” between himself and Gorbachev, p. 615.

5 According to Matlock, Nicholson had strayed into a restricted area. The United States “was given a version that mixed fact with fiction to place the responsibility on Nicholson, not on the Soviet sentry. The official Soviet explanation was that Nicholson had entered a clearly marked prohibited area, was illegally photographing a Soviet military installation, and when spotted refused the sentry’s order to halt. Instead, he tried to escape and was therefore shot. It was this inaccurate version that convinced Weinberger and Reagan that the shooting had been deliberate.” Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, pp. 112–113.

6 George Shultz Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), p. 537.

7 Reagan, An American Life, p. 617.

8 In a letter to Gorbachev April 30, 1985, Reagan said the Nicholson incident was clouding efforts to improve relations. Shultz, p. 537.

9 Gates, address to Boston Committee on Foreign Relations, Nov. 28, 1984.

10 Shultz, p. 507.

11 “Gorbachev, the New Broom,” Office of Soviet Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, Central Intelligence Agency, 13 pp., June 1985, released to author under FOIA, partially redacted.

12 Gates, pp. 331–332. Gates said in his memoir that Casey’s cover note went too far, and was “transparent advocacy” added on top of intelligence analysis. Casey “did not offer any balance or pretense of objectivity,” Gates said. But Gates also said that “many of us in CIA” agreed with Casey’s appraisal of Soviet motives and strategy.

13 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 25.

14 Alexander Yakovlev, “On Reagan,” State Archive of the Russian Federation, Moscow. Yakovlev Collection. Fond 10063, Opis 1, Delo 379. Translated by Svetlana Savranskaya.

15 Gorbachev, Ponyat’ Perestroiku (Moscow: Alpina Bizness Books, 2006), p. 33.

16 Gates speech, Texas A&M University, Nov. 19, 1999.

17 Except where noted separately, this account of the Ames case is based on “An Assessment of the Aldrich H. Ames Espionage Case and Its Implications for U.S. Intelligence,” Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Nov. 1, 1994, parts 1 and 2.

18 Victor Cherkashin, who was deputy resident then, said the Ames letter offered information on CIA operations and included “a small sheaf” of documents that seemed unremarkable, mostly about U.S. intelligence on Soviet naval forces in the Middle East. Victor Cherkashin with Gregory Feifer, Spy Handler: Memoir of a KGB Officer (New York: Basic Books, 2005), p. 16.

19 Except where noted separately, this account of Gordievsky’s actions is based on Next Stop and author’s interview.

20 Barry G. Royden, “Tolkachev, a Worthy Successor to Penkovsky,” Center for the Study of Intelligence, CIA, Studies in Intelligence, vol. 47, no. 3. Also, James L. Pavitt, deputy CIA director for operations, remarks to Foreign Policy Association, June 21, 2004.

21 Milt Bearden and James Risen, The Main Enemy: The Inside Story of the CIA’s Final Showdown with the KGB (New York: Random House, 2003), p. 37.

22 Bearden and Risen, p. 12.

23 Gordievsky describes the escape in Next Stop. David Wise, in Nightmover: How Aldrich Ames Sold the CIA to the KGB for $4.6 Million (New York: HarperCollins, 1995), offers a different story of the escape, quoting CIA officials as saying that Gordievsky was secreted inside a specially built Land Rover and driven right out of the British embassy in Moscow all the way to Finland. Gordievsky claims this was a story the KGB leaked to the Western press.

24 Wise, p. 135, raises the possibility that Yurchenko did not know about Ames.

25 Hired by the CIA in 1981, at age twenty-eight, Howard went through training to be a clandestine agent in the Soviet Union and knew much top-secret information. But in the months before his scheduled departure for Moscow, Howard failed a series of CIA polygraph examinations and was fired from the CIA in May 1983. Bitter and furious, he walked out of headquarters with all the agency’s Soviet secrets. In late 1984 and early 1985, apparently out of revenge, Howard began selling his knowledge to the KGB at the meetings in Vienna. He may have told them about a British double agent. He is believed to have told them about other spies, and some of the CIA’s most sophisticated technical means for spying.

26 On Casey, see Gates, p. 363. Howard slipped the FBI and fled the country. See David Wise, The Spy Who Got Away (New York: Random House, 1988), chs. 24–26.

27 Within a KGB residency, Line X referred to scientific and technical intelligence and Line PR to political, economic and military strategic intelligence and active measures. See Appendix E, “The Organization of a KGB Residency,” in Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin, The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West (London: Allan Lane/The Penguin Press, 1999), p. 743.

28 “Affidavit in support of criminal complaint, arrest warrant, and search warrants,” United States of America vs. Robert Philip Hanssen, United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, pp. 20–21. Martynov, a KGB Line X officer assigned to the Soviet embassy in Washington from October 1980 to November 1985 was compromised by Ames and later executed. Sergei Motorin, a KGB line PR officer assigned to the embassy in Washington from June 1980 to January 1985, was also compromised by Ames and executed. Boris Yuzhin was a KGB Line PR officer working undercover as a TASS correspondent in San Francisco. He was compromised by both Ames and Hanssen. In December 1986, he was arrested, and later sentenced to fifteen years in prison. In 1992 he was released under a general amnesty grant and subsequently emigrated to the United States.

29 The woman lived in Montreal, married to a Soviet diplomat. The CIA took Yurchenko there, but she rejected him when he knocked on her door. Bearden recalled she abruptly told Yurchenko she had loved a KGB colonel, not a traitor, and shut the door in his face.


1 Vladimir Medvedev, Chelovek za Spinoi (Moscow: RUSSLIT, 1994), p. 208.

2 An invaluable window on these early developments is the Chernyaev diary. Chernyaev worked in 1985 as deputy director in the Central Committee’s International Department, and became an assistant to Gorbachev in 1986. Some of the diary entries, edited, appear in the English edition of Chernyaev’s memoir, My Six Years with Gorbachev. English translations of the diary for 1985–1988 have been published by TNSA. Date citations are from the full diary, and page numbers refer to the book. The author is grateful to Svetlana Savranskaya for assistance with the Chernyaev diary.

3 The trip to Leningrad began May 15 and the Smolny speech was two days later. Serge Schmemann, “First 100 Days of Gorbachev: A New Start,” New York Times, June 17, 1985, p. 1.

4 Mikhail Gorbachev, Memoirs (Moscow: Novosti, 1995), p. 201.

5 Chernyaev, p. 33, and diary May 22, 1985.

6 Chernyaev, p. 29, and diary April 11, 1985.

7 The campaign was inspired by Andropov’s similar but ill-fated attempts to impose more discipline on society. Gorbachev’s early economic reforms were relatively meek and ill-fated attempts at “acceleration” of the existing system, compared to the more radical approaches he would attempt later.

8 Chernyaev diary, July 6, 1985.

9 Sergei Akhromeyev and Georgi M. Kornienko, Glazami Marshala i Diplomata [In the Eyes of a Marshal and a Diplomat] (Moscow: International Relations, 1992), in Russian, p. 64.

10 Clifford Gaddy, The Price of the Past (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1996), p. 49.

11 Akhromeyev, pp. 34–35. See Thomas M. Nichols, The Sacred Cause (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1993), p. 134.

12 Gorbachev, pp. 203–205.

13 Gorbachev, Zhizn i Reformi, vol. 1, p. 207 (Moscow: Novosti, 1995). His use of Moloch is a literary allusion to a symbol of cruel and unusual force demanding human sacrifice.

14 Ksenia Kostrova, interview, August 2007. Ksenia is Katayev’s granddaughter.

15 This account is based on Katayev, Hoover, and materials in author’s possession.

16 A CIA estimate, made in 1986, was 15–17 percent. (This estimate was a revision from 13–14 percent earlier. The reason for the revision was a recalculation of prices made by the Soviets in 1982.)

17 Katayev, “Chto Takoe VPK” [What Was the VPK], undated, author’s possession. This paper is similar to a chapter Katayev contributed to The Anatomy of Russia Defense Conversion, edited by Vlad E. Genin (Walnut Creek, Calif.: Vega Press, 2001), p. 52.

18 Andrei Grachev, Gorbachev (Moscow: Vagrius, 2001), p. 178. Gorbachev nursed a hope to use the defense sector to somehow boost the flagging Soviet economy. Gaddy, pp. 55–56.

19 Robert D. English, Russia and the Idea of the West: Gorbachev, Intellectuals and the End of the Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000), pp. 193–228.

20 See Stephen F. Cohen and Katrina vanden Heuvel, Voices of Glasnost: Interviews with Gorbachev’s Reformers (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1989), pp. 157–173.

21 Letter to Politburo of November 26, 1985, “On distortion of facts in reports and information coming to the CPSU Central Committee,” State Archive of the Russian Federation, Fond 3, Opis 111, Delo 144, pp. 39–41, courtesy Svetlana Savranskaya.

22 Georgi Shakhnazarov, Tsena Svobody: Reformatsiya Gorbacheva Glazami yevo Pomoshnika (Moscow: Rossika-Zevs, 1993), p. 88.

23 Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (New York: Penguin Books, 2004), p. 127.

24 Chernyaev diary, June 20, 1985.

25 Matlock recalls the Soviets already had in place 414 Pioneers, each with three warheads, while NATO at that point had deployed only 143 warheads on intermediate-range missiles in Europe, made up of 63 Pershing IIs and 80 ground-launched cruise missiles. Matlock, Reagan and Gorbachev, p. 116.

26 Reagan letter to Gorbachev, April 30, 1985, RRPL.

27 Chernyaev diary, April 16, 1985.

28 A contentious issue this year was whether Reagan’s proposed Strategic Defense Initiative would remain within a narrow interpretation of the 1972 treaty on missile defense, or whether the administration was seeking to use a broader interpretation of the treaty to allow research to move ahead. McFarlane suggested October 6 the treaty permitted research, testing and development of new systems—appearing to put the administration on record for using a broader interpretation of the treaty. The Soviets were alarmed at this, as were U.S. allies. George Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), pp. 579–582. An account critical of Shultz appears in Frances Fitzgerald, Way Out There in the Blue (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2000), pp. 290–300.

29 Shultz, pp. 570–571.

30 Anatoly Dobrynin, In Confidence: Moscow’s Ambassador to America’s Six Cold War Presidents (New York: Times Books, 1995), p. 573.

31 Chernyaev diary, July 1, 1985.

32 English, p. 202.

33 Minutes of the Politburo, June 29, 1985. Volkogonov Collection, Library of Congress, Reel 18. TNSA.

34 Chernyaev diary, June 15, 1985.

35 Andrew and Gordievsky, Comrade Kryuchkov’s Instructions: Top Secret Files on KGB Foreign Operations, 1975–1985 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), pp. 107— 115.

36 Unless otherwise specified, this and other comments by Katayev on missile defense are from an undated monograph, “Kakoi byla reaktzia v SSSR na zayavlenia R. Reagana o razvertyvanii rabot v CShA po SOI,” or “What was the reaction of the Soviet Union to the announcement of R. Reagan on the deployment of works in the United States on the SDI,” twelve pages, Katayev, Hoover.

37 Katayev. The author is indebted to Pavel Podvig for identifying and explaining this.

38 Konstantin Lantratov, “The Star Wars Which Never Was,” January 1995. See

39 Roald Z. Sagdeev, The Making of a Soviet Scientist (New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1994), p. 273.

40 Velikhov, interviews by author.

41 Called “IS,” this system was developed in the 1960s and tested in the 1970s and early 1980s, but Andropov’s 1983 moratorium seems to have marked the end of active use. See

42 A ruby laser emits energy in the visible (red) region.

43 P. V. Zarubin, “Academician Basov, high-powered lasers and the anti-missile defence problem,” Quantum Electronics, No. 32, 2002, pp. 1048–1064.

44 Velikhov described a similar project, known as Gamma, which he said never got off the ground.

45 The declaration was Sept. 24, 1982. Velikhov was also editor of The Night After … Climatic and Biological Consequences of a Nuclear War (Moscow: Mir Publishers, 1985).

46 The group was the Soviet Scientists’ Committee for the Defense of Peace Against the Nuclear Threat.

47 Velikhov said the 1983 report remains secret. But some parts are evident in: Yevgeny Velikhov, Roald Sagdeev, Andrei Kokoshin, eds., Weaponry in Space: The Dilemma of Security (Moscow: Mir, 1986).

48 The chart showing thirty-eight warheads is from Katayev, Hoover. Other data on the SS-18 is from Podvig, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001), pp. 218–219. See “Multiple (as in ‘up top 38’) warheads,” http://russian For the U.S. expectations of asymmetric response, see “Possible Soviet Responses to the US Strategic Defense Initiative,” NIC M 83-10017, Sept. 12, 1983, Director of Central Intelligence.

49 Gorbachev interview, June 30, 2006.

50 Nichols, p. 133.

51 Chernyaev diary, Sept. 1, 1985.

52 Reagan diary, Sept. 10, 1985.

53 Reagan diary, Oct. 22, 1985. Shultz said the Soviet offer September 27 was heavily weighted against the United States in the way it was structured. Shultz, pp. 576–577.

54 Soviet Military Power, April 1985, p. 55.

55 Robert C. McFarlane, with Zofia Smardz, Special Trust (New York: Cadell & Davis, 1994), pp. 307–308. Matlock, p. 133.

56 Reagan diary, Sept. 26, 1985.

57 Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), p. 342.

58 Shultz disagreed with this view. Shultz, p. 586.

59 Gates, p. 343. The Soviet outlook wasn’t very ambitious either. Moscow “did not pin great hopes on the summit,” Dobrynin said, p. 586. Chernyaev recalls the thrust was not to deviate from existing positions on arms control, “not to get worked up” over regional conflicts, and “in a word, not to provoke Reagan in order not to intensify the threat, not to play up to the hawks.” Chernyaev diary, Nov. 12, 1985. Gorbachev had leeway to go beyond these guidelines, and he did.

60 Gates, p. 343. NIE 11-18-85, Nov. 1, 1985.

61 Reagan diary, Nov. 13, 1985.

62 Suzanne Massie, interview for the television documentary The Cold War, Sept. 2, 1997, Liddell Hart Center for Military Archives, Kings College, London.

63 Matlock, pp. 150–154 and Jack F. Matlock, Jr., Superpower Illusions (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010) p. 317, note 11.

64 Yegor Gaidar, “The Soviet Collapse: Grain and Oil,” American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, April 2007. Also see Gaidar’s Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 2007).

65 Shultz, pp. 589–596. McFarlane, pp. 314–316. Oberdorfer, who covered the trip for the Washington Post, reports that Gorbachev said he would be willing to reduce existing nuclear weapons to zero on condition the two sides stopped the “militarization of space,” Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 137.

66 Reagan diary, Nov. 5, 1985.

67 Reagan diary, Nov. 6, 1985.

68 Reagan, An American Life, p. 632.

69 Sagdeev, pp. 268–269.

70 Gates, p. 358.

71 Matlock, pp. 134–135, 158.

72 Oberdorfer, p. 143.

73 Reagan, An American Life, p. 635.

74 This account of the summit meetings is based on the official U.S. minutes, unless otherwise specified.

75 Gorbachev, p. 406.

76 Reagan diary, Nov. 19, 1985.

77 Reagan, An American Life, p. 636.

78 Gorbachev, p. 408.

79 Dobrynin recalls that this agreement for reciprocal visits was precooked quietly by him, p. 589. Reagan had also envisioned meeting again. Matlock, p. 153.

80 Lou Cannon, Ronald Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991), p. 754. In his memoir, Larry Speakes, the White House spokesman then, rendered the quotation slightly differently. In Speaking Out: Inside the Reagan White House (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1988), p. 138. Speakes quoted Reagan: “I bet the hardliners in both our countries are squirming.”

81 Reagan said it before the Japanese Diet, Nov. 11, 1983, and in his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly in 1984. In an exchange of letters before Geneva, Reagan and Gorbachev had also discussed including this language in their concluding summit statement.

82 “Exchange of Televised Addresses by President Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Gorbachev,” Public Papers of the Presidents, 1985 Pub. Papers 4, Jan. 1, 1986.


1 Nikolai Chervov, Yaderny Krugovorot [Nuclear Continuum] (Moscow: Olma-Press, 2001).

2 Valery Boldin, Ten Years That Shook the World: The Gorbachev Era as Witnessed by His Chief of Staff(New York: Basic Books, 1994), p. 115.

3 Akhromeyev’s views are from his memoir with Georgi M. Kornienko. Akhromeyev kept the proposal outside normal interagency channels for arms control proposals, where it most certainly would have been stopped. The proposal definitely had a strong propaganda value, and Gorbachev acknowledges in Memoirs that he announced it before the forthcoming Party Congress for maximum impact. But the author believes that Akhromeyev and Gorbachev also believed in the goals of the proposal, and felt the nuclear danger was real. So, from their perspective, it was not just an artificial statement without meaning, as in the past.

4 There are differing accounts about the origins of the initiative, although most credit Akhromeyev. Gorbachev has said he and Shevardnadze had talked about it soon after Shevardnadze’s appointment. Savelyev and Detinov also say it came from the General Staff and defense ministry. Akhromeyev says he shared the military’s draft with Kornienko at the Foreign Ministry. In the author’s possession is a copy of the color chart used to explain the plan at a press conference in Moscow on Jan. 18, 1986. On the back is written, in hand, that the plan was brought into being and edited by Akhromeyev. Katayev, Hoover.

5 Gorbachev had already imposed a unilateral moratorium on Soviet nuclear tests, and used the January 15 announcement to extend it.

6 “Statement by M. S. Gorbachev, General Secretary of the CPSU Central Committee,” Izvestia, Jan. 16, 1986, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Jan. 17, 1986. Time magazine reported on the Vremya broadcast, Jan. 27, 1986.

7 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), pp. 45–46, and diary, Jan. 18, 1986.

8 George Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), pp. 699–714; and Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), pp. 156–168.

9 Jack F. Matlock Jr., Reagan and Gorbachev, p. 178. David Hoffman and Walter Pincus, “President ‘Grateful,’ Aides Cautious on Soviet Arms Control Proposal,” Washington Post, Jan. 17, 1986, p. A1. David Pace, AP, Jan. 28, 1986, “Sen. Nunn Wary of Gorbachev Arms Proposal.”

10 Reagan diary, Jan. 15, 1986.

11 Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), p. 377.

12 Reagan diary, Feb. 3, 1986.

13 The call came on Jan. 31, 1986. Chernyaev diary, Jan. 18 and Feb. 1, 1986.

14 Robert D. English sums up Chernyaev’s life and times in his introduction to My Six Years. The author is also indebted to Svetlana Savranskaya for additional information.

15 An edited compilation of their notes was published in 2006, V Politburo TsK KPSS: Po Zapisyam Anatolia Chernyaeva, Vadima Medvedeva, Georgiya Shakhnazarova, 1985–1991 (Moscow: Alpine Business Books, 2006).

16 See Mikhail Gorbachev: Selected Speeches and Articles(Moscow: Progress, 1987), p. 341.

17 National Security Decision Directive 196, Nov. 1, 1985.

18 V Politburo, p. 32.

19 United States Nuclear Tests: July 1945 through September 1992, Department of Energy, Washington, D.C., DOE/NV-209 (Rev. 14), Dec. 1994.

20 Chernyaev, pp. 55–57. Some additional quotations from Chernyaev’s notes, not contained in the book, were provided by Svetlana Savranskaya.

21 Grigori Medvedev, The Truth About Chernobyl (Basic Books, 1991), Evelyn Rossiter, trans.; Piers Paul Read, Ablaze: The Story of the Heroes and Victims of Chernobyl (New York: Random House, 1993); and Zhores Medvedev, The Legacy of Chernobyl (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1990). Also see the extensive work of the United Nations Chernobyl Forum Experts Group, including “Environmental Consequences of the Chernobyl Accident and Their Remediation: Twenty Years of Experience,” available at For a technical account of the reasons for the accident, see “INSAG-7: The Chernobyl Accident, Updating of INSAG-1,” Safety Series No. 75-INSAG-7, IAEA Safety Series, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna, 1992.

22 Zhores Medvedev, p. 24. Valery Legasov, an academician and deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, who served on an early response team, later listened to tape recordings of the operators’ telephone conversations. This exchange was recorded on the tapes. Two years after the disaster, Legasov committed suicide. The tape transcripts were found in his safe.

23 Grigori Medvedev, p. 74.

24 “Urgent Report,” A. N. Makukhin, First Deputy Director, Ministry of Energy and Electrification, April 26, 1986, No. 1789-2c, Volkogonov Collection, Library of Congress, from Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, Reel 18, Container 27.

25 These comments were made on the twentieth anniversary of the accident. See BBC News, April 24, 2006, at

26 Chernyaev, p. 65.

27 V Politburo, p. 41.

28 Dmitri Volkogonov, Autopsy for an Empire: The Seven Leaders Who Built the Soviet Regime (New York: Free Press, 1998), p. 478. Read reports Ligachev argued “for saying as little as possible,” and that a vote was taken in which Ligachev prevailed.

29 “Information about the accident at Chernobyl nuclear power station April 26, 1986,” Fond 89, Hoover. An essential guide to these documents is Larissa Soroka, Guide to the Microfilm Collection in the Hoover Institution Archives; Fond 89: Communist Party of the Soviet Union on Trial (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2001). An hour later, a second TASS statement said the accident was the first ever in the Soviet Union, and noted other accidents in other countries. Read, p. 175.

30 Volkogonov, pp. 478–479.

31 “Ot Sovieta Ministrov SSSR” [From the Council of Ministers USSR], Fond 89, Perechen 53, Delo 2, Hoover Institution.

32 A subsequent account claims the red glow was not the burning core, but a piece that had been blasted loose during the explosion. Alexander R. Sich, “Truth Was an Early Casualty,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May/June 1996, pp. 32–42.

33 Michael Dobbs, Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire (New York: Knopf, 1997), p. 160.

34 Fond 89, Perechen 51, Delo 19, Hoover.

35 Reagan diary, April 30, 1986.

36 Fond 89, Perechen 53, Delo 6, Hoover. The memo carries a stamp by the Central Committee indicating it was circulated on May 16, two days after Gorbachev’s televised speech. In an interview in 2008 with Irina Makarova, Gubarev said Gorbachev seemed “absolutely in the dark about what was happening.” Gubarev later wrote a play, Sarcophagus, which suggested that the accident was due to operator and human error, not the design of the reactor.

37 Chernyaev, p. 66. Also see V Politburo, pp. 61–66.

38 Tarasenko, interview, Feb. 3, 2005.

39 Eduard Shevardnadze, The Future Belongs to Freedom (New York: Free Press, 1991), pp. 175–176.

40 Sergei Akhromeyev and Georgi M. Kornienko, Glazami Marshala i Diplomata (Moscow: International Relations, 1992), pp. 98–99.

41 Mikhail S. Gorbachev, Gody Trudnykh Reshenii [Years of Difficult Decisions] (Moscow: Alfa-print, 1993), pp. 46–55.

42 “Chernobyl’s Legacy: Health, Environmental and Socio-economic Impacts,” the Chernobyl Forum, 2003–2005. In another estimate, at least six thousand more died from radiation exposure, and perhaps many more. David R. Marples, “The Decade of Despair,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May–June 1996, pp. 22–31.

43 Shultz, p. 724.

44 Reagan diary, May 20, 1986.

45 Shultz, pp. 716–717.

46 Chernyaev, p. 83. This was a reference to the nuclear-pumped X-ray laser that was being advocated by Teller, although Reagan did not envision a nuclear program.

47 Reagan, An American Life, p. 661. The Soviets were eager to do parallel experiments.

48 See USSR Nuclear Weapons Tests and Peaceful Nuclear Explosions: 1949 through 1990 Ministry of the Russian Federation for Atomic Energy, Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Russian Federal Nuclear Center VNIIEF, 1996. The U.S. data is from United States Nuclear Tests.

49 Frank von Hippel, Citizen Scientist: From the Environment to Dissent, a Leading Scientist Talks About the Future of the Planet (New York: Touchstone, 1991). An example of their brainstorming came in the first days after the Chernobyl accident. Von Hippel urged Velikhov to distribute potassium iodide tablets to the population, to forestall the uptake of radioactive iodine into the thyroid of people exposed. Velikhov rushed the idea to the Kremlin. On May 1, the Ministry of Foreign Trade was ordered to “urgently sign contracts to purchase from abroad the necessary amount of medications” and the Health Ministry to “examine the received offers.” Protocol No. 3, May 1, 1986, Fond 89, Perechen 51, Delo 19, Hoover. In the end, the advice was not taken out of fear of causing mass panic. Velikhov interview, 2004. According to a later report by the United Nations, radiation doses to the thyroid “were particularly high in those who were children at the time and drank milk with high levels of radioactive iodine. By 2002, more than 4000 thyroid cancer cases had been diagnosed in this group, and it is most likely that a large fraction of these thyroid cancers is attributable to radioiodine intake.” See “Chernobyl’s Legacy,” p. 7.

50 Frank von Hippel, “Contributions of Arms Control Physicists to the End of the Cold War,” Physics and Society, vol. 25, no. 2, April 1996, pp. 1, 9–10. The conference was part of the Niels Bohr Centennial celebration, Sept. 27–29, 1985.

51 Of three proposals considered, Cochran said NRDC’s was accepted because the group could move quickly. The agreement was signed May 28 between Velikhov and Adrian DeWind, chairman of the NRDC. Cochran, communication with author, July 9, 2008; von Hippel, Citizen Scientist, pp. 91–92.

52 Cochran had asked Charles Archambeau, a theoretical seismologist at the University of Colorado, to help organize the seismologists and equipment. Archambeau recruited John Berger, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, to organize the team to man the Soviet and U.S. installations and identify and order the needed equipment. Archambeau and Berger recruited James N. Brune from the University of Nevada and several others.

53 Natural Resources Defense Council, “Nuclear Test Ban Verification Project,” Status Report, November 1986; and Thomas B. Cochran, The NRDC/Soviet Academy of Sciences Joint Nuclear Test Ban Verification Project, Physics and Global Security, vol. 16, no. 3, July 1987, pp. 5–8.

54 Cochran, communication with author, July 8, 2008. The Soviet documents are at Katayev, Hoover.

55 The Central Committee approval was July 9 as Cochran and his team were just arriving on the site. Katayev, Hoover.

56 Chernyaev, pp. 77–78.

57 Gorbachev letter to Reagan, Sept. 15, 1986, RRPL.

58 Reagan diary, Sept. 19, 1986.

59 Chernyaev notes from the Politburo session, Sept. 22, 1986. See The Reykjavik File: Previously Secret Documents from U.S. and Soviet Archives on the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev Summit, TNSA EBB 203, doc. 3.

60 Chernyaev, pp. 79–84. Also see David Holloway, “The Soviet Preparation for Reykjavik: Four Documents,” in the conference report Implications of the Reykjavik Summit on Its Twentieth Anniversary (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2007), pp. 45–95.

61 Chernyaev, p. 81.

62 “Talking Points,” three pp., John Poindexter to the President, no date, RRPL, document no. 9155, Box 90907, European and Soviet Affairs Directorate, NSC.

63 Two sets of notes of the Reykjavik discussions were used for this account. While there are some differences, they largely agree on the substance of what was said. The United States notes are summaries and have been declassified by the State Department; see TNSA, EBB No. 203. The Soviet notes are more detailed, in the form of transcripted speech, and were published in four installments in 1993 by the journal Mirovaya Ekonomika I Mezhdurnarodnyye Otnosheniya and translated by FBIS.

64 The U.S. team was led by Nitze, and the Soviet team by Akhromeyev. See Strobe Talbott, The Master of the Game: Paul Nitze and the Nuclear Peace (New York: Knopf, 1988), pp. 317–322.

65 Shultz, p. 763.

66 Reagan, An American Life, p. 677.

67 This account of the final dialogue is from Shultz, and Reagan gives a similar account. However, Gorbachev said Reagan reproached him, “You planned from the start to come here and put me in this situation!” Gorbachev recalls he replied he was prepared to go back inside and sign a comprehensive arms control document “if you drop your plans to militarize space.” He quotes Reagan as responding, “I am really sorry.” Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. 419.

68 Reagan diary, Oct. 12, 1986.

69 Gorbachev press conference, Oct. 14, 1986, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, SU/8389/A1/1.


1 Svetlana Savranskaya and Thomas Blanton, eds., “The Reykjavik File,” TNSA EBB 203, doc. 19.

2 TNSA EBB 203, doc. 21.

3 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 87.

4 Gorbachev needed to raise prices that had long been set artificially low, but he could not bring himself to do it. Stable prices were part of the social compact with the population that went back to the late 1950s and early 1960s. Yegor Gaidar, Collapse of an Empire: Lessons for Modern Russia (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2007), pp. 122–139.

5 Politburo instruction No. P34/I to the Ministry of Defense, Oct. 14, 1986, as referenced in an excerpt from Protocol No. 66 of the Politburo meeting, May 19, 1987. Katayev, Hoover.

6 Sergei Akhromeyev and Georgi M. Kornienko, Glazami Marshala i Diplomata (Moscow: International Relations, 1992), pp. 124–126.

7 Gorbachev broadcast on Soviet television, Oct. 22, 1982, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, SU/8398/A1/1.

8 In his televised address from the Oval Office October 14, Reagan said, “We offered the complete elimination of all ballistic missiles—Soviet and American—from the face of the Earth by 1996.” He also described a 50 percent cut in other weapons along with elimination of the missiles.

9 Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), p. 208. Crowe said in his memoir that he told Reagan the plan was “ill-advised,” but he does not quote directly from his presentation. William J. Crowe Jr., The Line of Fire: From Washington to the Gulf, the Politics and Battles of the New Military (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 266–269.

10 Reagan diary, Oct. 27, 1986.

11 TNSA EBB 203, doc. 23.

12 The arrival of Stinger shoulder-fired antiaircraft weapons to the U.S.-backed Afghan resistance in September marked a turning point in the six-year-old war. Congress pumped $470 million in secret aid to the fighters in fiscal year 1986 and increased that to $630 million the next year. Steve Coll, Ghost Wars (New York: Penguin Books, 2004), pp. 149, 151.

13 Chernyaev, p. 95.

14 Reagan, who earlier adhered to the SALT II limits, decided that the United States would no longer do so, and the United States broke through in late November 1986.

15 This was a reference to Marshal Nikolai Ogarkov, who was removed as chief of the General Staff in September 1984 but at the time remained in the defense ministry and continued to be outspoken about the need to provide advanced technology to the military.

16 The radar issue was first raised by the United States in 1983; Gates was repeating the charge.

17 William M. Welch, “Soviets Have Far Outspent U.S. on Nuclear Defense, CIA Says,” AP, Nov. 25, 1985. The spravka is in Katayev, Hoover.

18 Sakharov said February 15, “A significant cut in ICBMs and medium-range and battlefield missiles, and other agreements on disarmament, should be negotiated as soon as possible, independently of SDI … I believe that a compromise on SDI can be reached later.” Sakharov, Moscow and Beyond (New York: Knopf, 1991), p. 21.

19 See “The INF Treaty and the Washington Summit: 20 Years Later,” TNSA EBB No. 238.

20 Podvig, Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2001), pp. 224–226. Gorbachev, Memoirs, pp. 443–444.

21 Katayev’s account is drawn from his memoir; a lengthy monograph, “Structure, Preparation and Application of Decisions in Political-Military Problems in the Soviet Union;” and a monograph on civil-military relations.

22 Chernyaev, p. 103, n 4.

23 Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (New York: HarperCollins, 1993), pp. 481–482.

24 Gorbachev, Zhizn’ i reformi, vol. 2, pp. 36–37. George Shultz, Turmoil and Triumph: My Years as Secretary of State (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1993), p. 890.

25 An upgrade was planned to give the Oka a range of 372 miles, but it was never carried out. Katayev.

26 TNSA, EBB 238.

27 Gorbachev approved May 19. Katayev.

28 Yarynich, interviews with author.

29 This account is based on K. Lantratov, “Zvezdnie Voini, Kotorikh ne bylo” [Star Wars That Never Was], at Two days after the crash, on May 17, Defense Minister Sokolov sent a message to the Central Committee, saying new programs would be readied for anti-satellite combat as well as the SK-1000 list that had been put on Gorbachev’s desk in 1985. The Politburo referred Sokolov’s message for further study by a four-man committee on May 19. However, most of the projects were never built. “On questions of perfecting the structure of the strategic nuclear forces of the USSR and counteracting the American program to create a multi-echelon system of anti-missile defense,” a memo. Katayev, Hoover.

30 “On completed investigation of the criminal case against Rust,” Central Committee memorandum, July 31, 1987, Hoover, Fond 89, Perechen 18, Delo 117; a documentary by Danish radio, DR, at /index.html; Peter Finn, the Washington Post, May 27, 2007, p. A20; The Observer, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2002, interview by Carl Wilkinson.

31 Pravda, May 28, 1992; see Michael Dobbs, Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire(New York: Knopf, 1997), pp. 180–181.

32 Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. 232.

33 Chernyaev, p. 119.

34 Chernyaev, p. 119. Also, “On Violation of Soviet Airspace and Measures to Strengthen Leadership of USSR Armed Forces,” Volkogonov Collection, Archive of the President of the Russian Federation, Reel 17, Container 25.

35 Chernyaev diary, June 15, 1987.

36 Katayev, Hoover.

37 Cochran told the author that by measuring the spacing between the centers of the radio transmitter housings, one could calculate the signal half-wavelength and therefore the frequency of the transmitter. This was evidence that the frequency was too low (the wavelength too long) to be a battle management radar.

38 Cochran, interviews, Aug. 19, 2004, and Feb. 25, 2008. Also, courtesy Cochran, “Preliminary Report to the Speaker of the House on Fact-Finding Trip to the Soviet Union;” “Memorandum,” to Senator Edward M. Kennedy from Christopher E. Paine, Sept. 9, 1987; “Chronology of Trip from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk Radar Site,” Sept. 5, 1987. TASS reported the Gorbachev offer. On the Soviet leadership, Katayev, including, “Consideration of the question connected with problems of ‘violations’ of the ABM agreement,” Nov. 21, 1987, signed by Shevardnadze, Zaikov, Chebrikov, Yazov, Dobrynin and Maslyukov, and a Central Committee staff report on the same date; also see William J. Broad, “Inside a Key Russian Radar Site: Tour Raises Questions on Treaty,” New York Times, Sept. 7, 1987, p. A1.

39 George Shultz, p. 1001.

40 Leon Aron, Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), pp. 200–206. Also see Archie Brown, The Gorbachev Factor (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 168.

41 “Gorbachev: Soviet Economic Modernization and the Military,” Defense Intelligence Agency, Defense Research Comment DRC-82-87, November 1987. The paper was presented to the Joint Economic Committee on Sept. 14, 1987.

42 “Whither Gorbachev: Soviet Policy and Politics in the 1990s,” NIE 11-18-87, November 1987, carried many of the same points that Gates had made in the memo. The assessment failed to catch the dynamic of radical change. TNSA EBB 238. Shultz said, “I felt a profound, historic shift was underway: the Soviet Union was, willingly or unwillingly, consciously or not, turning a corner; they were not just resting for round two of the cold war.” Shultz, p. 1003.


1 Domaradsky and Wendy Orent, Biowarrior (New York: Prometheus Books, 2003), pp. 233–250.

2 Popov, interviews by author.

3 Ken Alibek, with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 87–106.

4 Alibek, p. 118. If Alibek’s account is correct, Gorbachev signed this only a month after his January 1986 speech calling for abolition of all nuclear and chemical weapons. The document has never been made public.

5 Chernyaev interview, Feb. 4, 2005. Chernyaev said, “Gorbachev was in favor of ending it. But he was being deceived. I don’t remember when, but he was given a report they were already closing down the military part of this program…Shevardnadze told him several times, ‘They lie to us, Mikhail Sergeyevich,’ on the subject of this program.” When I asked Chernyaev who was deceiving Gorbachev, he replied, “The manufacturers of this weapon who dealt with this system. The military and the scientists who were involved.”

6 “Visit to Moscow of Professor Matthew Meselson,” Moscow 14971, State Department cable to Washington, Aug. 29, 1986, courtesy Meselson archive. Also see Jeanne Guillemin, Anthrax: The Investigation of a Deadly Outbreak (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999), p. 18. While still in Moscow, Meselson asked U.S. officials if they had any questions to pose to his Soviet hosts, according to the cable. Meselson told the author the officials did not respond. After his trip, on September 12 in Washington, Meselson briefed officials from the CIA, Departments of State and Defense, and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Meselson repeated that the Soviet explanation about bad meat “seemed to hang together.” The U.S. officials did not believe him and thought he had not asked tough questions. TNSA EBB 61, doc. 27.

7 The papers are attached to a letter to Gorbachev from the Big Five, dated approximately August 1, 1986. Katayev. The review conference was held in Geneva, September 8–26, 1986. Israelyan, “Fighting Anthrax: A Cold Warrior’s Confession,” Washington Quarterly (Washington, D.C.: Center for Strategic and International Studies and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2002), Spring 2002, pp. 17–29. Also see remarks by Soviet Ambassador Israelyan, Summary Record of the 5th Meeting, BWC/CON./11/SR.5, Sept. 19, 1986; R. Jeffery Smith, “Soviets Offer Account of ’79 Anthrax Outbreak,” Washington Post, Oct. 9, 1986; and Science, Oct. 19, 1986.

8 “Anthrax Epidemic in Sverdlovsk 1979 and Soviet Compliance with the BW Disarmament Convention, CISAC-Moscow October 8, 1986,” Joshua Lederberg papers, Box 116, Folder 1. Lederberg and Meselson met in September and Lederberg wrote a note Sept. 12, 1986, “Memorandum from Joshua Lederberg,” Box 116, Folder 3. In the note, Lederberg said Meselson was told the anthrax was spread by contaminated bonemeal sold in Sverdlovsk, and also by an infected cattle carcass sold at the ceramics factory. Lederberg noted, “… there was no military involvement.” Sometime after this note, Lederberg called CIA director William Casey and told him that he should take Meselson’s account “seriously.” Handwritten note to Meselson from Lederberg, Sept. 25, 1986. Box 115, Folder 13. Separately the Defense Intelligence Agency issued a report in 1986 warning “the Soviets are rapidly incorporating biotechnical developments into their offensive BW program to improve agent utility on the battlefield.” See “Soviet Biological Warfare Threat,” Defense Intelligence Agency, 1986, report DST-1610F-057-86.

9 “On improvement of organization of works on special problems,” no date, an information memo in Katayev’s files listing the turning points and decisions on biological weapons from 1986 onward. Katayev, Hoover.

10 BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, Aug. 10, 1987, SU/8642/A1/1. Smidovich interview, April 23, 2008. Vice President George Bush had proposed inspections on demand in 1984, and the Soviets refused at the time.

11 The order accelerated by three years the deadline for having “biological sites” prepared “for international verification for presence of chemical weapons.” The new deadline was January 1, 1989. The spravka is undated. Katayev, Hoover.

12 Matthew S. Meselson, “The Biological Weapons Convention and the Sverdlovsk Anthrax Outbreak of 1979,” Public Interest Report, Journal of the Federation of American Scientists, vol. 41, no. 7, Sept. 1988, pp. 1–6. This article is Meselson’s account of the Soviet visit to the United States in 1988 as well as his 1986 visit to Moscow. He reported the Soviets had identified one source of contaminated bonemeal used as a cattle feed supplement from a “meat processing plant at Aramil, a town 15 km southeast of Sverdlovsk.” The story was that the Aramil plant had not followed sterilization and autoclave procedures in making the bonemeal, therefore allowing the anthrax bacteria to spread to cattle and, when the cattle were slaughtered, to consumers. In 1991, Peter Gumbel, Moscow bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, investigated the Sverdlovsk outbreak by going to the city three times, including to Aramil. “In fact, there is no meat processing plant in Aramil,” he reported. He found a small flour mill there instead, and quoted the director as saying he never produced bonemeal. Gumbel said in his article that “sloppy note-taking” by Meselson “could possibly account for this discrepancy,” but Gumbel suggested a Soviet cover-up. He wrote that “the official Soviet version is riddled with inconsistencies, half-truths and plain falsehoods.” Peter Gumbel, “Sverdlovsk—What Really Happened?—The Scientific Evidence: The Anthrax Mystery,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 21, 1991, p. A18. Meselson told the author the Aramil discrepancy was a note-taking mix-up on his part. On Burgasov, see R. Jeffrey Smith, Philip J. Hilts, “Soviets Deny Lab Caused Anthrax Cases,” Washington Post, April 13, 1988. The CIA was unconvinced by the Soviet visitors in 1988. On May 12, the Directorate of Intelligence issued a top-secret report. Although most is redacted, the title was “Soviet Explanation of Anthrax Incident at Sverdlovsk: The Deception Continues.”

13 Alibek, p. 148.

14 “Biological Weapons Proliferation Prevention Project Integration: 100% Final Submittal—Phase 0 Feasibility Study for Threat Reduction Activities at Vozrozhdeniya Island, Uzbekistan,” Bechtel National Inc., August 31, 2001, released to author under FOIA, Defense Threat Reduction Agency; “Vozrozhdeniya Island (VI) Pathogenic Destruction Operations (VIPDO) Final Report,” June 6, 2002, released to author under FOIA.

15 The reader is reminded that while biological weapons were made from living organisms, such as pathogens, chemical weapons are made from inert substances that cause damage and death to living organisms.

16 Tucker, p. 158.

17 Most of the weapons were quite old, according to documents in the Katayev files.

18 John-Thor Dahlburg, “Soviets Lift Secrecy on Chemical Weapons Program,” Associated Press, Oct. 4, 1987; Celestine Bohlen, “Soviets Allow Experts to Tour Chemical Weapons Facility,” Washington Post, Oct. 5, 1987. On the weapons, Katayev, Hoover.

19 Reagan diary, Dec. 18, 1987. This entry has been partly redacted.

20 Mirzayanov, interview with author; Oleg Vishnyakov, “‘I Was Making Binary Bombs,’ This Man Is Talking After Five Years of Silence. He Was Poisoned by Chemical Weapons Made by His Own Hands,” Novoye Vremya, no. 50, Dec. 1992, pp. 46–48, 49. An account is also given in David Wise, Cassidy’s Run (New York: Random House, 2000), Ch. 20.


1 Gorbachev had hoped for a treaty to cut strategic weapons in half at the Moscow summit, but the United States was not ready. “Reagan, Gorbachev and Bush at Governor’s Island,” TNSA EBB No. 261.

2 Brent Scowcroft, who became Bush’s national security adviser in the White House, was deeply cautious about Gorbachev. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Knopf, 1998), pp. 12–13.

3 “Session of the CPSU Politburo,” June 20, 1988. Masterpieces of History: Soviet Peaceful Withdrawal from Eastern Europe, Svetlana Savranskaya, Thomas Blanton and Vlad Zubok, eds. (Budapest: Central European University Press, 2009), Doc. 26.

4 See TNSA EBB 261. To bypass possible military opposition, Gorbachev took the paperwork to the Defense Ministry for approval on a Sunday when Minister Dmitri Yazov was not present, Shevardnadze said at a Politburo meeting on December 27. “Comrades were not in place” then, he said. News reports at the time said that Akhromeyev decided to retire in protest of the troop cuts. In his memoir, Gorbachev said this was “sheer nonsense.” Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. 459. Akhromeyev said the decision to retire came in September 1988, before the speech, but he was disenchanted. He remained an adviser to Gorbachev. Sergei Akhromeyev and Georgi M. Kornienko, Glazami Marshala i Diplomata (Moscow: International Relations, 1992), pp. 213–215.

5 Reagan diary, Dec. 7, 1988.

6 Any evaluation of Reagan’s legacy must deal with not only his avowed dream of nuclear abolition, but the fact that he did not consummate a strategic arms treaty by the end of his presidency. Some have argued that if he had been more interested in negotiating arms reductions in his first term, he might have had more to show at the end of his second. However, the author believes that Reagan’s first-term military buildup and challenge to the Soviets were set by his own internal compass—his campaign pledges, his desire to stand up to Moscow and his negotiator’s sense of timing and tactics. He could not have done it otherwise.

7 Bush said, “Wanting to avoid specifics, I pledged general continuity with Reagan’s policies toward the Soviet Union. I told Gorbachev I would be putting together a new team. I had no intention of stalling things, but I naturally wanted to form my own national security policies.” Bush and Scowcroft, p. 7.

8 Masterpieces, Gorbachev at Politburo, Dec. 27–28, 1988, doc. 34.

9 This Week with David Brinkley, ABC News, Jan. 22, 1989.

10 James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989–1992 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 68.

11 Bush letter to Sadruddin Aga Khan, March 13, 1989, in Bush, All the Best, George Bush, p. 416.

12 Dennis Ross, director of policy planning at the State Department, said “testing” was his idea. “For those who said Gorbachev was not for real, I said, let’s test the proposition. If he’s for real, then he’s going to respond.” Ross, interview, June 2, 2008. In a speech at Texas A&M University in May 1989, Bush unveiled the results of the policy reviews, an approach that he called going “beyond containment.” He did not offer major new initiatives, but set the tone for the “testing” approach, which was also codified in NSD 23, written in March and signed in September 1989. The directive said, “the United States will challenge the Soviet Union step by step, issue by issue, institution by institution, to behave …”

13 Cheney made the comment on CNN. When Baker went to Moscow a few weeks later, the first thing he told Shevardnadze was, “We have no interest in seeing perestroika fail.” Baker, p. 73.

14 William C. Wohlforth, ed., Cold War Endgame: Oral History, Analysis, Debates (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003), p. 26. An analysis of the pause in 1989 is contained in an essay in the same volume, “Once Burned, Twice Shy? The Pause of 1989,” Darek H. Chollet and James M. Goldgeier, pp. 141–173. By contrast, in three long and illuminating cables from Moscow in February, Matlock laid out the extent of change. “In sum,” Matlock said, “the Soviet Union has, in effect, declared the bankruptcy of its system, and just as with a corporation which has sought the protection of Chapter XI, there is no turning back.” Matlock included a section on “The Military Burden,” which accurately captured Gorbachev’s desire to restrain the military to save the domestic economy. “The Soviet Union over the Next Four Years,” Feb. 3, 1989. The subsequent cables covered Soviet foreign policy and U.S.-Soviet relations. Masterpieces, docs. 42, 44, 46.

15 On the Shevardnadze warning, a confidential source. Baker, Politics of Diplomacy, pp. 82–83. The Gorbachev offer was certainly a gambit to influence Europe, but also a genuine proposal. The United States was pushing allies to modernize the eighty-eight short-range Lance nuclear-tipped missiles in Europe. After implementation of the 1987 INF treaty, these shorter-range missiles would be among the remaining battlefield nuclear weapons available to NATO against a possible Soviet conventional attack. (There were also thousands of other weapons on bombers.) West Germany was balking at modernization, since use of the Lance missiles in war would quite probably be on its soil. Baker thought Gorbachev was undercutting support for Lance modernization. Wohlforth, Cold War Endgame, p. 32; and Michael R. Beschloss and Strobe Talbott, At the Highest Levels: The Inside Story of the End of the Cold War (Boston: Little, Brown, 1993), p. 67. Baker said of Gorbachev, in an interview with the author, “the way he went about it was the gimmicky part. He did it in order to divide us from our European allies.” When I asked Baker if he thought he could have responded differently, he said no. “It was a unilateral move. It wasn’t a question of our having to accept it.” Baker, interview, Sept. 4, 2008. While Katayev’s files show the Kremlin was well aware of the politics in Europe, they also suggest that Gorbachev was serious about tactical nuclear reductions. The issue was included on a Kremlin work plan for arms control in 1989. A memo in the files argues that these weapons in Europe were dangerous and militarily useless. The undated memo said a group of specialists for the Big Five—whom Katayev described as the “non-military” experts in the working group—“believe that short-range land-based nuclear weapons are the most inconvenient and dangerous for all countries in the deterrence arsenal.” Katayev.

16 Fitzwater quickly regretted the words. Marlin Fitzwater, Call the Briefing: Reagan and Bush, Sam and Helen: A Decade with Presidents and the Press (New York: Times Books, 1995), Ch. 10.

17 Masterpieces, July 20, 1989, doc. 73.

18 “Work Plan,” a list of decisions and deadlines for 1989, Katayev.

19 “On reduction of the Armed Forces and spending of the Soviet Union on defense,” January 1989, Katayev.

20 “Growth of Military Spending USSR and USA in 1980–1991,” a chart, Katayev. In January, Gorbachev ordered a reduction of 14.2 percent in military spending, compared to 1987, and a cut in arms manufacture by 19.2 percent, over a two-year period. Military spending in the Soviet Union was 69.5 billion rubles in 1987, 73 billion in 1988, 77.3 billion in 1989, 71 billion in 1990 and 66.5 billion in 1991, the chart says.

21 Akhromeyev, pp. 204–205.

22 Bush and Scowcroft, p. 130. Bush gave a letter suggesting a summit meeting to Akhromeyev during his visit to the United States, to courier back to Gorbachev, bypassing Shevardnadze, who was furious when he found out.

23 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), pp. 225–226.

24 Baker, interview with author, Sept. 4, 2008. See Baker, Politics of Diplomacy, pp. 144–152. The Bush administration remained deeply divided over Gorbachev. On October 16, Baker gave a policy speech to the Foreign Policy Association in New York, saying the United States and Soviet Union should find “points of mutual advantage.” The next day, Vice President Dan Quayle rejected the idea of helping Soviet reform and said “let them reform themselves.” Baker then squelched a pessimistic speech that Gates, then deputy national security adviser, intended to give. Baker, pp. 156–157; Robert M. Gates, From the Shadows: The Ultimate Insider’s Story of Five Presidents and How They Won the Cold War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1996), p. 480.

25 The origin of this trip was the work that Velikhov had done with Cochran of the NRDC on seismic monitoring. The other scientists were Steve Fetter, University of Maryland; Lee Grodzins, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Harvey Lynch, Stanford Linear Accelerator; and Martin Zucker, Brookhaven National Laboratory. “Fact Sheet: The Black Sea Experiment,” Natural Resources Defense Council, Washington, D.C. Frank von Hippel came as an observer. Others who also participated included George Lewis of the Center for International Security and Arms Control at Stanford University; Valerie Thomas, Princeton University; William Arkin, the Institute of Policy Studies; Barry Blechman, of Defense Forecast; John Adams, executive director of the NRDC; S. Jacob Scherr and Robert S. (Stan) Norris of the NRDC; and Christopher E. Paine of Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff.

26 Sergei Kortunov, a Foreign Ministry official, said the KGB was unhappy about showing the warhead to foreigners, and tried to block him from participating in preparatory meetings. Kortunov interview, Aug. 30, 2004.

27 Three groups of experiments were conducted. See Steve Fetter et al., “Gamma-Ray Measurements of a Soviet Cruise-Missile Warhead,” Science, vol. 248, May 18, 1990, pp. 828–834; Thomas B. Cochran, “Black Sea Experiment Only a Start,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (November 1989), pp. 13–16. Robert S. (Stan) Norris of the NRDC distributed copies of Soviet Nuclear Weapons, a groundbreaking 433-page book that had more open information about Soviet weapons systems than was available inside the country at the time. Norris, communication with author, June 19, 2008.

28 Velikhov, interview, Sept. 2, 2004.

29 Von Hippel, interview, Jan. 24 and June 1, 2004. Also, Cochran interview, Aug. 19, 2004.

30 Shevardnadze was among the “Big Five” officials who signed the Nov. 21, 1987, document. The speech was Oct. 23, 1989. Later, Akhromeyev wrote in his memoir that he had told Shevardnadze the truth in 1985. Akhromeyev claimed that the military had not misled the political leadership—in fact, it was the political leaders who ordered the station built in the wrong location in order to save money. Akhromeyev, p. 255.

31 Katayev, Hoover.

32 The decision of Oct. 6, 1989, is recorded in Katayev’s spravka titled “On Improvement of Organization of Works on Special Problems,” no date, Hoover. The reference to “parity” really means to preserve what the Soviet system had built; the United States had none.

33 Davis, interview, May 19 and August 11, 2005.

34 MacEachin, interview, July 25, 2005.

35 Ken Alibek with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 153–164. He said the vehicle was Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, but Popov said it was Legionella.

36 Popov, interview, March 31, 2005.


1 Pasechnik had specialized in the separation and concentration of radiochemicals in this period. I have drawn on confidential sources for this chapter. For published accounts, see James Adams, The New Spies: Exploring the Frontiers of Espionage (London: Hutchinson, 1994), Ch. 20, “The Weapon of Special Designation.” Adams interviewed Pasechnik in September 1993. Also, Simon Cooper, “Life in the Pursuit of Death,” Seed, issue 4, January–February 2003, p. 68. Pasechnik died Nov. 21, 2001, in Salisbury, England, after a stroke.

2 The Soviet system created larger industrial enterprises and nestled the BW institutes inside them. In this case, the industrial organization was NPO Farmpribor, of which Pasechnik was general director.

3 Davis, the chief biological weapons specialist on the U.K. Defense Intelligence Staff, offered a detailed description of Biopreparat’s scope in an article in 1999, “Nuclear Blindness: An Overview of the Biological Weapons Programs of the Former Soviet Union and Iraq,” Emerging Infectious Diseases, vol. 5, no. 4, July—August 1999, pp. 509–512.

4 U.S. Congress, Office of Technology Assessment, Technologies Underlying Weapons of Mass Destruction OTA-BP-ISC-115 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, December 1993), p. 96. See W. Seth Carus, Bioterrorism and Biocrimes: The Illicit Use of Biological Agents Since 1900 (Amsterdam: Fredonia Books, 2002), pp. 17 and 23.

5 Ken Alibek with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 139–140.

6 Cooper, p. 105; and Adams, Ch. 20, pp. 270–283.

7 Davis, interviews.

8 Alibek, interview, June 18, 2007, and Alibek, pp. 137, 143.

9 Jones interview by Glenn Frankel of the Washington Post in London, August 10, 2004.

10 Alibek confirmed this. “Plague and smallpox were considered strategic weapons” by the Soviet Union, he told the author. In 1992, Davis was honored by Queen Elizabeth, who recognized his contribution to proving that the Soviet Union had a massive strategic biological weapons program.

11 Pasechnik described Soviet research into three key areas: characteristics of each pathogen, susceptibility of targets and vulnerability of users. They tried to improve the production rates and the yield of viable, live microorganisms; increase virulence; boost resistance to antibiotics; maximize viability of the germs during and after dissemination; degrade defenses of the human target; protect the person who launched the pathogens by vaccination; and come up with better detection systems to warn the user.

12 Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. 524.

13 The press conference by Guenter Schabowski at the GDR International Press Center took place just before 7 P.M. Cold War International History Project, translated by Howard Sargent.

14 25 Weekly Comp. Pres. Docs. 1712, Nov. 9, 1989. Bush said Gorbachev sent him a message that day asking the United States not to overreact. George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed (New York: Knopf, 1998), pp. 148–151.

15 Masterpieces, p. 242.

16 A U.S. participant told the author BW issues were not included in the staff papers for the summit, nor mentioned by Bush to Gorbachev.

17 “On Improvement of Organization of Works on Special Problems,” Katayev, Hoover.

18 Alibek, p. 150.

19 This account is based on documents from Katayev, Hoover, including Yazov’s protest, “On the draft resolution of the Tsk KPSS ‘On directives to the USSR delegation at the Soviet-American consultations on issues of banning bacteriological and toxin weapons,’” signed by Yazov January 10, 1990; Karpov’s response, January 11, 1990, in a letter to Lazarev, V. F.; and a separate spravka signed by N. Shakhov, deputy head of Katayev’s department, outlining the official position on the Sverdlovsk accident.

20 MacEachin’s job was to synthesize the intelligence from several agencies for the ungroup, as well as describing how the agencies differed, and to seek data from the agencies when the ungroup needed it.

21 MacEachin, interview, July 25, 2005.

22 Ross, interview, June 2, 2008.

23 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 244.

24 James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989–1992 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 240. Akhromeyev said Shevardnadze’s February concession was “just his mistake.” Sergei Akhromeyev and Georgi M. Kornienko, Glazami Marshala i Diplomata (Moscow: International Relations, 1992), p. 273.

25 A similar thought was expressed by Akhromeyev at a meeting in Zaikov’s office to discuss biological weapons. Katayev took notes, although the date is not clear. The subject was preparing the biological weapons facilities for possible inspection. Katayev noted that Akhromeyev said, “from 6 to 12 months is required to resume the production.” Katayev, Hoover.

26 Alibek, pp. 177–178.

27 The instructions sidestepped past violations. “Additional directives for the USSR delegation to the Soviet American consultations on question of prohibition of bacteriological and toxin weapons,” Central Committee, no date. A cover sheet indicates Politburo approval April 25, 1990, and that they were an expansion of April 2 directives along similar lines. Courtesy Svetlana Savranskaya.

28 Alibek, pp. 189–191.

29 Matlock, communication with author, May 27, 2008.

30 “Memorandum of conversation between the U.S. ambassador to the USSR, J. Matlock, and the British ambassador, R. Braithwaite,” May 14, 1990, Katayev, Hoover. Braithwaite provided a diary extract for the May 14 meeting.

31 “To the President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, Comrade M. S. Gorbachev,” May 15, 1990, Katayev, Hoover. This document is strong evidence that, by this point, Gorbachev and Shevardnadze did know of the offensive biological weapons program, as Pasechnik had said.

32 The term recipe in this context generally meant a biological weapons preparation.

33 It is not known how much of this was true. Some of it is confirmed by the fragmentary Katayev handwritten notes from the meetings in 1989, in which dismantlement was discussed, but at the time, they were still debating whether to preserve the equipment. Other evidence, including Pasechnik’s debriefings, indicated that pathogens were still being tested, manufactured and weaponized in 1989.

34 The two earlier decisions were taken Dec. 6, 1989, and March 16, 1990, after the Pasechnik defection.

35 Two of the sites he identified had been used in the pre-1969 biological weapons program: the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah and the Pine Bluff, Arkansas, storage facility. A third site he mentioned was described as a private company, Cetus Corporation, of Amityville, California, which has never been found.

36 Interviews with Baker on Sept. 4, 2008; MacEachin, July 25, 2005; Ross, June 2, 2008. Shevardnadze’s formal instructions for the ministerial meeting with Baker were to repeat that the Soviet side wanted to strengthen trust and broaden openness on the topic. See Fond 89, perechen 10, Delo 61, Hoover. Baker described the visit to Zagorsk in his memoir, The Politics of Diplomacy, p. 248, but did not mention the BW paper. Baker also described the ride to Zagorsk in an interview for the PBS Frontline documentary Plague War, aired Oct. 13, 1998. See


37 Rodric Braithwaite, Across the Moscow River (New Haven: Yale, 2002), pp. 141–143.

38 Baker, p. 247.

39 See Raymond L. Garthoff, The Great Transition (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1994), pp. 425–428; Beschloss and Talbott, pp. 219–228; Don Oberdorfer, From the Cold War to a New Era (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), pp. 410–430; Baker, p. 253; Bush and Scowcroft, p. 283.

40 Matlock said that at first “the bureaucracy in Washington was not happy with the idea of reciprocal visits. They said, in effect, they are violating, we are not. Why should we show them what we are doing? I argued that we should accept reciprocal visits: What did we have to lose?” Matlock, communication with author May 27, 2008.

41 Gorbachev, interview, June 10, 2004.

42 Braithwaite says Thatcher “tackled Gorbachev much more directly” than had her defense minister on biological weapons. “Gorbachev claimed to know nothing but promised to investigate. Intelligence analysts in London and Washington, many of whom still thought there was little to choose between Gorbachev and his predecessors, believed that he knew perfectly well what was going on, and was party to his generals’ deliberate deception,” pp. 141–143. By another account, Thatcher threatened to put Pasechnik on television around the world if Gorbachev didn’t cooperate. Tom Mangold and Jeff Goldberg, Plague Wars (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1999), p. 111.

43 Baker and Shevardnadze met in Paris, July 16–18. The document, prepared jointly by the United States and Britain, painted a picture of a large-scale Soviet germ warfare program that violated the Biological Weapons Convention. Katayev.

44 “Biological weapons,” the Shevardnadze talking points, in draft and final form; also, agendas for the meetings of July 27 and 30, 1990. Katayev.

45 Eduard Shevardnadze, The Future Belongs to Freedom (New York: Free Press, 1991), p. 72. Nikita Smidovich, his aide for chemical and biological weapons policy, said this refers to what he told Baker about biological weapons.

46 MacEachin, interviews, Feb. 7 and 13, 2006.

47 The negotiations resulted in an agreement the first visits would be January 7–20, 1991.

48 Baker, p. 312.

49 Chernyaev, p. 291.

50 Shevardnadze, pp. 197, 212.

51 Michael Dobbs, Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire (New York: Knopf, 1997), p. 325.

52 Confidential source.

53 This account of the visits is based in part on confidential sources. Also, Davis interview, Aug. 11, 2005; Alibek interview, June 18, 2007; Alibek’s Biohazard, pp. 193–206; Davis interview by Frontline, “Plague War;” and David C. Kelly, “The Trilateral Agreement: Lessons for Biological Weapons Verification,” Chapter 6 in Verification Yearbook, 2002 (London: The Verification Research, Training and Information Center, 2002), pp. 75–92.

54 Davis said they could see enough, and did not want to risk ruining the whole mission on this point. Davis, communication with author, Nov. 4, 2008.

55 Popov said the man who tried to stop Davis later received a monetary bonus for his effort.


1 See Yegor Gaidar, Collapse of an Empire, pp. 201–219.

2 Anatoly Chernyaev, My Six Years with Gorbachev (University Park, Pa.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000), p. 343.

3 Chernyaev, 1991 g.: Dnyevnik Pomoshchnika Prezidenta SSSR [1991: Diary of an Assistant to the President of the USSR] (Moscow: Terra, 1997), p. 126.

4 Valentin Stepankov and Yevgeny Lisov, Kremlyovskii Zagovor (Perm: Ural-Press, Ltd., 1993), p. 271. Also see Michael Dobbs, Down with Big Brother: The Fall of the Soviet Empire (New York: Knopf, 1997), pp. 336–344; and Anatol Lieven, The Baltic Revolution(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993).

5 Gorbachev said he had not planned the Vilnius violence, Memoirs, p. 651.

6 Chernyaev, pp. 320–323.

7 Baker sent two papers to Gorbachev via the Moscow embassy. The March 5 meeting and the Baker message are mentioned in an April 5 letter from Major to Gorbachev. Katayev, Hoover. Also, see “Biological Weapons,” no date, Katayev.

8 Katayev, Hoover.

9 Jack F. Matlock Jr., Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (New York: Random House, 1995), pp. 537— 539.

10 Matlock, Autopsy, pp. 539–541.

11 Chernyaev, p. 352. Matlock also details the misunderstandings in his foreword to My Six Years.

12 Chernyaev, p. 352.

13 Beschloss and Talbott, At the Highest Levels, p. 400.

14 Chernyaev said he, too, had told Gorbachev of rumors about suspicious military movements around Moscow. Gorbachev was “offended” by these signals, he recalled. Chernyaev said the Supreme Soviet speeches of Kryuchkov, Yazov and Pugo had infuriated Gorbachev. Chernyaev, p. 354.

15 This account is based on Matlock, pp. 539–546; and Chernyaev, pp. 352–353.

16 Blair, interview, Feb. 20, 2004; Yarynich interview, April 20, 2003.

17 “On reply to the U.S. President on the question of biological weapons,” July 4, 1991, Katayev, Hoover.

18 At the time, the idea of a “grand bargain” was being floated—massive aid in exchange for true market reform and democracy. But Bush never approved large-scale aid and Gorbachev never got to true market reform. Despite a dramatic appeal for aid to the larger group of Western leaders, Gorbachev failed to secure a major economic package at the summit.

19 Chernyaev, pp. 358–359.

20 “White House Fact Sheet on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty,” Presidential Documents, vol. 27, p. 1086.

21 Chernyaev, p. 369.

22 Why this moment? The new union treaty was clearly a factor. However, Gorbachev has also said the hard-liners may have overheard the discussion with Yeltsin about replacing them, which took place at the end of July, in a room at the presidential compound, Novo-Ogaryovo, outside of Moscow. The room was bugged. Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. 643.

23 Gorbachev, The August Coup: The Truth and the Lessons (New York: HarperCollins, 1991), p. 19.

24 Chernyaev, Diary of an Assistant, p. 190.

25 By some accounts, the codes on the suitcase were erased and they were not usable. However, the exact condition is not known.

26 Dobbs, pp. 387–389.

27 Yevgeny Shaposhnikov, Vybor (Moscow: Nezavisimoye Izdatelstvo, 1995), pp. 44–45.

28 Yarynich, communication with author, August 2004.

29 Gorbachev has recalled that on August 27 he came home to find that Raisa was in tears. She had burned all the letters he had written to her over the years. She said she could not imagine someone else reading them if another coup were to happen. Andrei S. Grachev, Final Days (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), p. 171.

30 Dobbs, pp. 418–420.


1 Nunn, interview, March 10, 2005.

2 Vinson of Georgia, for decades the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, was Nunn’s great-uncle. Senator Stennis of Mississippi was then chairman of Armed Services. Another person who influenced Nunn was Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, who had also been chairman of the Armed Services committee. Russell died in 1971 and Nunn was elected to his seat.

3 Kenneth W. Thompson, ed., Sam Nunn on Arms Control (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1987), p. 19.

4 The visit was February 4–17, 1974. Nunn was accompanied by Frank Sullivan of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Nunn, interview, March 10, 2005. Frank Sullivan, interview, Jan. 31, 2006. Also see Nunn, “Changing Threats in the Post-Cold War World,” speech, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, Calif., Aug. 20, 1995; and U.S. Senate, 93d Congress, 2d Session, April 2, 1974, “Policy, Troops and the NATO Alliance, Report of Senator Sam Nunn to the Committee on Armed Services, United States Senate.” Courtesy of Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library, Robert W. Woodruff Library, Emory University, Atlanta, Ga.

5 David Miller, The Cold War: A Military History (New York: Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin’s Press, 1998), p. 360.

6 Nunn told me the psychology of defeat and its effect on the American military after Vietnam led him to conclude that the Russian military would be demoralized after losing their empire. Nunn, communication with author, Aug. 26, 2008. See Nunn, “Vietnam Aid—The Painful Options,” Report to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Feb. 12, 1975, 94th Congress, 1st Session.

7 In the mid-1980s, Nunn and Senator John Warner (R-Va.) proposed creating risk reduction centers in the United States and Soviet Union to share information in a crisis. The first-phase ideas were accepted by Reagan and Gorbachev at Geneva in 1985, and on Sept. 15, 1987, the United States and the Soviet Union signed an agreement establishing Nuclear Risk Reduction Centers in Washington and Moscow. Nunn and Warner had also suggested a more ambitious effort, which was not adopted. “Outline of nuclear risk reduction proposal,” fact sheet, undated, and “Nuclear Risk Reduction Center,” Cathy Gwin, communication with author, July 28, 2008.

8 George Bush and Brent Scowcroft, A World Transformed(New York: Knopf, 1998), p. 539, 545–547.

9 “Address to the Nation on Reducing United States and Soviet Nuclear Weapons,” Presidential Documents, vol. 27, p. 1348.

10 “Soviet Tactical Nuclear Forces and Gorbachev’s Nuclear Pledges: Impact, Motivations, and Next Steps,” Interagency Intelligence Memorandum, Director of Central Intelligence, November 1991.

11 Cochran of the NRDC tried to persuade Soviet officials to take actions to verify the pullbacks, but at the time they were not interested. See “Report on the Third International Workshop on Verified Storage and Destruction of Nuclear Warheads,” NRDC, Dec. 16–20, 1991.

12 George Bush, All the Best, George Bush: My Life in Letters and Other Writings(New York: Touchstone, 1999), p. 539. The State Department memo was written four days later. Baker, The Politics of Diplomacy (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 558.

13 Gates, prepared statement to the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Policy Panel, December 10, 1991, in Preventing Chaos in the Former Soviet Union: The Debate on Providing Aid, Report of the Committee on Armed Services, 102nd Congress, Second Session, Jan. 17, 1992, pp. 166–188.

14 An American diplomat in Moscow cabled back to Washington a conversation with a Russian official who said the country “has virtually no adequate storage sites for the huge quantities of weapons-grade material that will result from destruction of substantial numbers of warheads.” “Russian views on destruction/storage of dismantled nuclear warheads,” Moscow cable to the State Department, Jan. 14, 1992, declassified to author under FOIA. The remark about plutonium pits was made by Viktor Mikhailov, who was then deputy minister of atomic energy, to Frank von Hippel in October 1991, while on a visit to Washington. Von Hippel, interview, June 1, 2004. The need for safe storage was raised at two unofficial workshops sponsored by the NRDC and the Federation of American Scientists in Washington, Oct. 18–19, 1991, and in Kiev, Dec. 16–20, 1991, both with Soviet participation. During the Kiev conference, Mikhailov mentioned the rail cars to a conference participant.

15 Blair, testimony to the House Committee on Armed Services, July 31, 1991. In September, Blair arranged a trip to Washington for Gennady Pavlov, a retired colonel in the Strategic Rocket Forces who taught at the forces’ academy. Blair and Pavlov testified jointly before a Senate panel September 24 and provided a good description of who held the nuclear suitcases, what had happened to Gorbachev’s during the coup and the order of Soviet nuclear launch procedures. U.S. Senate, 102nd Congress, 1st Session, Sept. 24, 1991, “Command and Control of Soviet Nuclear Weapons: Dangers and Opportunities Arising from the August Revolution,” Hearing before the Subcommittee on European Affairs, Committee on Foreign Relations.

16 See Carter, John D. Steinbruner and Charles A. Zraket, Managing Nuclear Operations (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1987).

17 Dick Combs, who was on Senator Nunn’s staff and present at the meeting with Aspin, interview, Nov. 28, 2004.

18 In a legislative maneuver, they had tried to spring the proposal on a House-Senate conference without having been approved on the floor of each chamber.

19 Don Oberdorfer, “First Aid for Moscow: The Senate’s Foreign Policy Rescue,” Washington Post, Dec. 1, 1991, p. C2.

20 In Washington, Oct. 17–24, 1991, Mikhailov participated in an NRDC workshop on verification issues, and briefed members of Congress. NRDC, “Report on the Third International Workshop,” p. 3. Christopher Paine interview, July 31, 2008.

21 Nunn, “Soviet Defense Conversion and Demilitarization,” Congressional Record, Senate, vol. 137, no. 167, 102nd Cong. 1st Sess., Nov. 13, 1991.

22 Lugar daily calendar, courtesy office of Senator Lugar.

23 Carter, interview, Dec. 14, 2005.

24 Bush and Scowcroft, pp. 543–544.

25 Baker, interview, Sept. 4, 2008.

26 Baker, The Politics of Diplomacy, pp. 562–563. “America and the Collapse of the Soviet Empire: What Has to Be Done,” Secretary Baker, Princeton, Dec. 12, 1991, U.S. Department of State Dispatch, vol. 2, no. 50, pp. 887–893.

27 Chetek caused controversy at a symposium of Canadian environmentalists in April 1991. Mikhailov attended, along with Alexander Tchernyshev. John J. Fialka, “Soviet Concern Has Explosive Solution for Toxic Waste—Firm Pushes Nuclear Blasts as Cheap Way for Nations to Destroy the Materials,” Wall Street Journal, Oct. 25, 1991. Also see William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem, Critical Mass (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994). Arzamas-16 was among the shareholders of Chetek. Dmitri Bogdanovich, Vlast, No. 102, Jan. 13, 1992.

28 The United States carried out 27 such explosions between 1961 and 1973. The Soviet Union carried out 124 between 1965 and 1988.

29 “Press Release, Ministry of Atomic Power and Industry, USSR, and International Joint Stock Company ‘CHETEK,’” Dec. 11, 1991, in NRDC, “Report of the Third International Workshop,” appendix F.

30 Mark Hibbs, “Soviet Firm to Offer Nuclear Explosives to Destroy Wastes,” Nucleonics Week, Oct. 24, 1991, vol. 32, no. 43, p. 1. Fred Hiatt, “Russian Nuclear Scientists Seek Business, Food,” Washington Post, Jan. 18, 1992, p. A1.

31 In a study of the impact of hypermilitarization on the Russian economy, Clifford G. Gaddy noted, “The lowly saucepan became the symbol of resistance to conversion by the defense-industrial complex. In effect, the message they sent was: ‘If we are going to convert, it has to be on our terms, in a way commensurate with our status. Otherwise, we won’t convert at all!’” Gaddy, The Price of the Past: Russia’s Struggle with the Legacy of a Militarized Economy (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1996), p. 65.

32 “Soviet Defense Industry: Confronting Ruin,” SOV 91-10042, October 1991.

33 Burns served in the army thirty-four years, and worked on the INF treaty negotiations as senior military member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff delegation. He was ACDA director 1988–1989.

34 Burns, interview, Aug. 12, 2004.

35 Sergei Popov and Taissia Popova, interview, May 16, 2005. Gait, communication with author, July 7, 2008.

36 Ken Alibek, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Weapons Program in the World—Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 226–240. Alibek, interview, June 18, 2007.

37 David Hoffman, “Baker Witnesses an End, a Beginning; Visit Marked by Gorbachev’s Humiliation, Ex-Republics’ Rise,” Washington Post, Dec. 21, 1991, p. A1.

38 William C. Wohlforth, ed., Cold War Endgame: Oral History, Analysis, Debates (University Park, Pa.: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2003), p. 126.

39 James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989–1992 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), pp. 572, 575. Also, “JAB notes from 1-on-1 mtg. w/B. Yeltsin during which command & control of nuclear weapons was discussed, 12/16/1993,” courtesy Baker. Under the Soviet system, there were three Cheget suitcases, with the president, defense minister and chief of the general staff each having one. But according to Baker’s notes, it seems that at this moment, the three were distributed among Yeltsin, Shaposhnikov and Gorbachev.

40 Gorbachev, Memoirs, p. 670.

41 Andrei S. Grachev, Final Days: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Soviet Union (Boulder: Westview Press, 1995), pp. 189–190.

42 Katayev, a chart, March 1991.


1 Yeltsin’s Address to the Nation, Central Television, Dec. 29, 1991, BBC Summary of World Broadcasts.

2 Leon Aron, Yeltsin: A Revolutionary Life (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000), p. 483.

3 Vladimir Gubarev, Chelyabinsk-70 (Moscow: Izdat, 1993); and Lev i Atom: Akademik L. P. Feoktistov: Aftoportpet ha fone vospominaniye [Academician Lev P. Feoktistov: A Self-Portrait and Reminiscences] (Moscow: Voskresenye Press, 2003).

4 Avrorin, the Chelyabinsk director, sent his first e-mail in April. Cochran correspondence files, 1991–1992.

5 James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989–1992 (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), pp. 614–616. This account is based on my notes and account in the Washington Post, “Atom Scientists at Ex-Soviet Lab Seek Help; Baker Hears Appeals on Tour of Arms Complex,” Feb. 15, 1992, p. A1; Thomas L. Friedman, “Ex-Soviet Atom Scientists Ask Baker for West’s Help,” New York Times, Feb. 15, 1992, p. 1.

6 “Moscow Science Counselors Meeting,” State Department cable, Jan. 31, 1992.

7 “Comprehensive Report of the Special Advisor to the DCI on Iraq’s WMD,” CIA, Sept. 30, 2004.

8 Glenn E. Schweitzer, who became the first executive director of the science center, said these were his best estimates. Moscow DMZ (Armonk, N.Y.: M. E. Sharpe, 1996), pp. 103–104.

9 This was a tiny amount compared to the $295 billion annual American defense budget that year.

10 The institute developed diagnostic and measuring equipment for underground nuclear tests.

11 Anne M. Harrington, interviews, July 30 and August 11, 2004.

12 In 1996, after about two and a half years of operation, the ISTC estimated that nuclear weapons scientists and engineers received 63 percent of its grants and missile specialists 16 percent. ISTC brochure.

13 Victor Vyshinsky, interview, Oct. 13, 1998.

14 See “Statement of the Director of Central Intelligence Before the Senate Armed Services Committee,” Jan. 22, 1992.

15 Andrei Kolesnikov, “Russian Scientists Accused of Wanting to Help North Korea Become a Nuclear Power,” Moscow News, April 2, 1993. Evegni Tkachenko, TASS, Feb. 10, 1993, cited the local newspaper Chelyabinski Rabochi, which quoted local officials as saying the recruitment was engineered by North Korea to modernize their missile forces. On February 24, Tkachenko quoted Bessarabov as saying there was no work at the institute, where his ruble salary was equivalent to $6 a month. Interview with retired federal security official, Sept. 1, 2004.

16 Michael Dobbs, “Collapse of Soviet Union Proved Boon to Iranian Missile Program,” TWP, Jan. 13, 2002, p. A19; notes, Dobbs interview with Vadim Vorobei, Moscow 2001. A fascinating account of a second Russian missile expert’s sojourn in Tehran is in Yevgenia Albats, “Our Man in Tehran,” Novaya Gazeta, No. 10, pp. 4–5, March 1998. The missile expert was identified only by a pseudonym, but the experience he described is parallel to Vorobei’s.

17 Gharbiyeh set out to obtain advanced missile guidance systems. In November 1994, he appeared at Energomash, a giant Soviet-era rocket engine manufacturer, with a delegation of Iraqis who were disguised as “Jordanian” businessmen. Energomash had built about sixty types of engines over a half century, but in the years after the Soviet collapse, work was scarce, and Energomash was desperate for orders from abroad. Gharbiyeh presented a business card from the “Gharbiyeh Company.” No one at Energomash checked the passports or identity of the businessmen. The visitors outlined technical specifications of the rocket engines they wanted to buy, and on November 18, signed a letter of intent with three Energomash officials to procure them. Victor Sigaev, deputy general director for external economic affairs, and Felix Evmenenko, chief of security for the department for information and international cooperation, NPO Energomash interview, December 1998. They said the deals never went through, the engines were not built and they only learned later that the visitors were from Iraq. Evmenenko said they were given approval in advance from the Russian government to have the initial meeting. The visitors were told that any deal would have to be formally approved by the government, and they never returned, he added.

18 Gharbiyeh purchased the gyroscopes from the Scientific Research Institute of Chemical and Building Machinery in Sergiev Posad, north of Moscow. Using a front company he created, Gharbiyeh negotiated to buy the gyros and other equipment with three deputy directors and the chief accountant at the institute. He had the gyros tested at a Moscow-based company, Mars Rotor. Vladimir Orlov and William C. Potter, “The Mystery of the Sunken Gyros,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 1998, vol. 54, no. 6. Also, “Ob ugolovnom dele nomer 43” [Re: Criminal Case No. 43], a summary from the Federal Security Service of Russia, 1997, in Russian, author’s possession.

19 “To the Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation, V. S. Chernomyrdin,” letter from Nechai as well as union and city leaders, Sept. 6, 1996. This account is also drawn from Boris Murashkin, interview, Dec. 3, 1996, Chelyabinsk; “Pominki v Snezhinske” [Wake in Snezhinsk], Grigory Yavlinsky, Obshchaya Gazeta, Nov. 6–13, 1996; “Minatom Poobeshali Prioritetnoye Finansirovaniye” [Minatom Promised Priority Financing], Atompressa, no. 35, vol. 227, October 1996, p. 3; “Proshu Pokhronit Menya V Pyatnitzu” [Please Bury Me on Friday], Vladislav Pisanov, Trud, Nov. 6–14, 1996; and “Russian Turmoil Reaches Nuclear Sanctum; Suicide of Lab Director in ‘Closed City’ Underscores Angst,” David Hoffman, Washington Post, Dec. 22, 1996, p. A29.


1 Hecker’s father, an Austrian who had been drafted into the German army, was lost at the Russian front four months after he was born. He never saw him again. As a young boy in Austria, Hecker had grown up with only dark impressions of Russia, reinforced by his teachers, who returned from the front with grim war stories. At thirteen years old, he emigrated to the United States, and later earned a doctorate in metallurgy and materials from the Case Institute of Technology before going to work at Los Alamos. He rose to become director of the laboratory in 1986. Almost immediately, he was drawn into the arms control debates. In 1988, Hecker and other U.S. scientists carried out a joint nuclear weapons verification experiment with Soviet scientists. The experiments brought the Americans into contact for the first time with Victor Mikhailov, the leading Soviet expert on nuclear testing diagnostics. Hecker, interview, Dec. 9, 2008.

2 See “Russian-American Collaborations to Reduce the Nuclear Danger,” Los Alamos Science, Los Alamos National Laboratory, no. 24, 1996, pp. 1–93; and Steve Coll and David B. Ottaway, “Secret Visits Helped Define 3 Powers’ Ties,” Washington Post, April 11, 1995, p. A1.

3 The International Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, Dec. 29, 1972, entered into force for the Soviet Union in 1976.

4 At first, he disclosed waste dumping, and later the reactors were revealed in February 1992 in the newspaper Sobesednkik, by Alexander Yemelyanenkov, who represented Arkhangelsk in parliament. Josh Handler, interview, Dec. 19, 2003. Andrei Zolotkov, “On the Dumping of Radioactive Waste at Sea Near Novaya Zemlya,” Greenpeace Nuclear Seas Campaign and Russian Information Agency, Monday, Sept. 23, 1991, Moscow. The author also received recollections from Zolotkov, Oct. 13, 2008; Floriana Fossato, Aug. 6, 2008; John Sprange, Aug. 10, 2008; and Dima Litvinov, Aug. 6, 2008.

5 See “Facts and Problems Related to Radioactive Waste Disposal in Seas Adjacent to the Territory of the Russian Federation,” Office of the President of the Russian Federation, Moscow, 1993.

6 Yablokov, interview, June 25, 1998. Yeltsin formed the commission Oct. 24, 1992.

7 After the Bush-Gorbachev unilateral withdrawals in September and October 1991, talks with Moscow made little progress, Undersecretary of State Reginald Bartholomew told Congress. “Trip Report: A Visit to the Commonwealth of Independent States,” Senate Armed Services Committee, 102nd Congress, 2nd Session, S Prt. 102-85, March 10, 1985.

8 “Next Steps on Safety, Security, and Dismantlement,” Jan. 24, 1992, cable to the State Department and the White House from Moscow. Declassified in part to author Sept. 22, 2006, under FOIA.

9 Burns, interview, Aug. 12, 2004.

10 “Delegation on Nuclear Safety, Security and Dismantlement (SSD): Summary Report of Technical Exchanges in Albuquerque, April 28—May 1, 1992,” State Department cable.

11 Note made by a participant who asked to remain anonymous, undated.

12 Keith Almquist, communications with author, Dec. 14, 2008, and Jan. 24, 2009. Later, Sandia procured materials for another ninety-nine upgrades and sent these in standard shipping containers to a Russian rail car factory in Tver, Russia, and then contracted with the factory to do the conversions. The upgrades involved changing the insulation and locking down the movable platform. Sandi also provided alarm-monitoring equipment. Some older Russian rail cars were made of wood. The United States also provided armored blankets and “supercontainers” to protect warheads from gunfire.

13 “President Boris Yeltsin’s Statement on Arms Control,” TASS, Jan. 29, 1992.

14 This account is based on Mirzayanov interview, July 26, 2008; Mirzayanov, Vyzov (Kazan: Dom Pechati, 2002), published in English as State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program (Denver: Outskirts Press, 2009); and Mirzayanov, “Dismantling the Soviet/Russian Chemical Weapons Complex: An Insiders View,” in Amy Smithson, ed., Chemical Weapons Disarmament in Russia: Problems and Prospects (Washington, D.C.: Stimson Center, October 1995), pp. 21–34.

15 On the Lenin Prizes, Mirzayanov originally believed they were for the binary novichok agents, but later learned that they had received the prize for creating another binary.

16 The article was signed by Mirzayanov and Lev Fedorov, a chemist who, in the 1990s, founded and headed the Association for Chemical Security, a group concerned about storage and destruction of chemical weapons arsenals.

17 His coauthor, Fedorov, was interrogated, as were some journalists, but not charged.

18 The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on Their Destruction was adopted in Geneva on Sept. 3, 1992, by the Conference on Disarmament. It was opened for signature in Paris from Jan. 13 to 15, 1993, and entered into force on April 29, 1997. Both Russia and the United States ratified the treaty.

19 Mirzayanov drew support from around the world. Scientists, politicians and human rights activists wrote letters on his behalf to the authorities in Moscow. Mirzayanov and Colby later married. Mirzayanov now lives in the United States.

20 On March 11, 1994, the attorney general closed the case. During the proceedings, another disenchanted veteran of the chemical weapons program, Vladimir Uglev, had corroborated what Mirzayanov said. Uglev later threatened to release the formulas of the novichok agents unless the case was dropped. Oleg Vishnyakov, “Interview with a Noose Around the Neck,” Novoye Vremya, Moscow, no. 6, Feb. 1993, pp. 40–41, as translated in JPRS-UMA-92-022, June 29, 1993. Vladimir Uglev, interview, June 10, 1998. Uglev said his threat to reveal the formulas was a bluff. “I don’t know if I could have done that,” he said.

21 This account is based on interviews with Blair, Feb. 20 and March 9, 2004; The Logic of Accidental Nuclear War (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1993); “The Russian C3I,” a paper by Valery E. Yarynich, Feb. 24, 1993, and a copy of Yarynich’s review, May 31, 1993, both courtesy of Blair; and interviews with Yarynich.

22 Yarynich had already made two authorized presentations overseas on nuclear command and control. On April 23–25, 1992, Yarynich was delegated by the General Staff to participate in a conference in Estonia, and he made another presentation Nov. 19–21, 1992, in Stockholm.

23 After Blair’s op-ed appeared, Yarynich wrote his own article, emphasizing the role of Perimeter as a “safety catch” against a mistaken launch. He also called for more openness about nuclear command and control systems. “The Doomsday Machine’s Safety Catch,” New York Times, Feb. 1, 1994, p. A17. Other articles began to appear by Russian experts on Perimeter, and Yarynich published a more detailed description in his book, C3: Nuclear Command, Control, Cooperation (Washington, D.C.: Center for Defense Information, 2003), pp. 156–159.


1 Braithwaite, Across the Moscow River (New Haven: Yale, 2002), pp. 142–143. Also, Braithwaite diary entries and communication with author, May 19, 2008. A confidential source told the author Yeltsin also called the biological weapons scientists “misguided geniuses.”

2 James A. Baker III, The Politics of Diplomacy: Revolution, War and Peace, 1989–1992 (New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1995), p. 620. On the same day he met with Baker, Yeltsin issued a lengthy statement on arms control in which he declared that Russia “is for strict implementation of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention.” “President Boris Yeltsin’s Statement on Arms Control,” TASS, Jan. 29, 1992. Also, Ann Devroy, R. Jeffrey Smith, “U.S., Russia Pledge New Partnership; Summits Planned in Washington, Moscow,” Washington Post, p. A1, Feb. 2, 1992.

3 Popov, interview, May 16, 2005; Gait, communication with author, July 7–8, 2008.

4 Ken Alibek with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of theLargest Covert Weapons Program in the World—Told from the Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), pp. 242–244.

5 Braithwaite, journal entry.

6 At the Third Review Conference of the BWC, held in Geneva Sept. 9–27, 1991, the parties, which included the Soviet Union, agreed to a series of confidence-building measures, including “declaration of past activities in offensive and/or defensive biological research and development programmes” and agreed that exchange of data should be sent annually to the U.N. no later than April 15, covering the previous calendar year.

7 “Decree of the President of the Russian Federation from April 11, 1992, No. 390, On Providing Fulfillment of International Obligations in the Field of Biological Weapons.”

8 In his diary Braithwaite wrote of his reaction, “I say that the right response is to take it at face value, and that the Prime Minister should ram the thought home by sending Yeltsin a personal message congratulating him on his courageous and decisive action. That will make it harder for the Russians to backslide or weave about.” Braithwaite, diary entry, April 23, 1992.

9 “Declaration of Past Activity Within the Framework of the Offensive and Defensive Programs of Biological Research and Development,” also known as “Form F.” Yeltsin admitted to the newspaper Izvestia the military was trying to hide the biological weapons program from him. He recalled his conversation with Bush at Camp David this way: “I said I could not give him firm assurances of cooperation. Certainly, this is not acceptable among politicians, but I said this: ‘We are still deceiving you, Mr. Bush. We promised to eliminate bacteriological weapons. But some of our experts did everything possible to prevent me from learning the truth. It was not easy but I outfoxed them. I caught them red-handed.’” Yeltsin offered few details but said he had discovered two test sites where experts were experimenting with anthrax on animals. Izvestia, April 22, 1992.

10 Braithwaite journal entries for these dates.

11 Komsomolskaya Pravda, May 27, 1992, p. 2.

12 “Text of President Yeltsin’s Address to US Congress,” TASS, June 17, 1992.

13 The drafts were discussed June 4, June 15 and July 28, primarily with officials in the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, according to records made available to the author. Also, R. Jeffrey Smith, “Russia Fails to Deter Germ Arms; U.S. and Britain Fear Program Continues in Violation of Treaty,” Washington Post, Aug. 31, 1992, p. 1.

14 Frank Wisner, interview, Aug. 12, 2008. See TNSA EBB 61, doc. 32, for Wisner’s talking points. For this account I have also relied on an authoritative confidential source.

15 “A Deputy’s Request,” Larissa Mishustina, undated. Alexei Yablokov, letter to Yeltsin, Dec. 3, 1991. Spravka, signed by Yablokov, Dec. 6, 1991. All three documents courtesy Meselson archive. Yablokov says in both the spravka and the letter to Yeltsin that documents on the Sverdlovsk case were destroyed by instructions from the Council of Ministers of the Soviet Union on Dec. 4, 1990, No. 1244-167, “On Works of Special Problems.”

16 Guillemin was at the time a professor at Boston College and has since become a senior fellow at the Security Studies Program at MIT in the Center for International Studies. The story of the expedition is told in greater detail in her book. She and Meselson are married.

17 Meselson conveyed this paper to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, where it was published. Faina A. Abramova, Lev M. Grinberg, Olga V. Yampolskaya and David H. Walker, “Pathology of Inhalational Anthrax in 42 Cases from the Sverdlovsk Outbreak of 1979,” PNAS, Vol. 90, pp. 2291–2294, March 1993.

18 Meselson et al., Science, vol. 266, no. 5188, November 18, 1994.

19 Alibek, pp. 244–256.

20 Confidential source, and David Kelly, “The Trilateral Agreement: Lessons for Biological Weapons Verification,” Chapter 6 in Verification Yearbook 2002 (London: Verification Research, Training and Information Center, December 2002).

21 Kelly interview with Joby Warrick of the Washington Post, June 17, 2002. Warrick notes. In fact, the Pokrov plant was a standby factory for producing smallpox and anti-livestock diseases in the event of war mobilization. According to a confidential source, the plant was capable of producing ten tons a year of smallpox agent. Joby Warrick, “Russia’s Poorly Guarded Past; Security Lacking at Facilities Used for Soviet Bioweapons Research,” Washington Post, June 17, 2002, p. A1.

22 Letter from President Clinton to Congress, Nov. 12, 1996. State Department press guidance for worldwide embassies on July 7, 1998, said, “In November, 1995, the United States imposed sanctions on a Russian citizen named Anatoly Kuntsevich for knowingly and materially assisting the Syrian CW program.” State Department cable 122387, released under FOIA to author.


1 Gerald F. Seib, “Kazakhstan Is Made for Diplomats Who Find Paris a Bore—At Remote New Embassy, They Dodge Gunmen, Lecture on Economics,” Wall Street Journal Europe, April 22, 1992, p. 1. This account of Project Sapphire is based on interviews with Weber; Jeff Starr; a personal communication from Elwood H. Gift, Oct. 22, 2008; and “Project Sapphire After Action Report,” Defense Threat Reduction Agency, U.S. Department of Defense, declassified to author under FOIA, Sept. 21, 2006. Several other useful published sources were William C. Potter, “Project Sapphire: U.S.-Kazakhstani Cooperation for Nonproliferation,” in John M. Shields and William C. Potter, eds., Dismantling the Cold War: U.S. and NIS Perspectives on the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, CSIA Studies in International Security (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1997); and John A. Tirpak, “Project Sapphire,” Air Force magazine, Journal of the Air Force, vol. 78, no. 8, August 1995; and Philipp C. Bleek, “Global Cleanout: An emerging approach to the civil nuclear material threat,” Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, September 2004, available at

2 Embassy of Kazakhstan and Nuclear Threat Initiative, Washington, D.C., Kazakhstan’s Nuclear Disarmament, 2007, see illustration after p. 80.

3 Martha Brill Olcott, Kazakhstan: Unfulfilled Promise (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2002), p. 204.

4 Gulbarshyn Bozheyeva, “The Pavlodar Chemical Weapons Plant in Kazakhstan: History and Legacy,” Nonproliferation Review, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California, Summer 2000, pp. 136–145.

5 Embassy of Kazakhstan, p. 94.

6 Olcott, Ch. 1, “Introducing Kazakhstan.”

7 After some initial hesitation, Nazarbayev agreed to removal of all the strategic weapons back to Russia, and Kazakhstan ratified the Start 1 treaty and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

8 Mikhailov interview with Nukem Market Report, a monthly published by Nukem, Inc., based in Stamford, Connecticut, and one of the world’s leading suppliers of nuclear fuel. Earlier estimates were about six hundred tons, but there was a high degree of uncertainty. Oleg Bukharin estimated independently in 1995 that Russia had thirteen hundred metric tons of HEU. Bukharin, “Analysis of the Size and Quality of Uranium Inventories in Russia,” Science and Global Security, vol. 6, 1996, pp. 59–77.

9 Jeff Starr, interview, Aug. 26, 2008.

10 “The President’s News Conference with President Nursultan Nazarbayev,” Public Papers of the Presidents, 30 Weekly Comp. Pres. Doc. 289.

11 Norman Polmar and K. J. Moore, Cold War Submarines: The Design and Construction of U.S. and Soviet Submarines (Dulles, Va.: Brassey’s, 2004), pp. 140–146. Gerhardt Thamm, “The ALFA SSN: Challenging Paradigms, Finding New Truths, 1969–79,” Studies in Intelligence, vol. 52, no. 3, Central Intelligence Agency, Sept. 2008.

12 “Analysis of HEU Samples from the Ulba Metallurgical Plant,” E. H. Gift, National Security Programs Office, Martin Marietta Energy Systems Inc., Oak Ridge, Tennessee, initially issued July 1994, revised May 1995.

13 Gift and others said they saw the crates labeled “Tehran, Iran,” and were told it was beryllium, but none was actually shipped.

14 See Ashton B. Carter and William J. Perry, Preventive Defense(Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 1999), p. 73.

15 Fairfax said these nuclear materials were often much harder to track than warheads. Fairfax, interview, Sept. 3, 2008, and communication with author, Sept. 9, 2008. Nearly all the seizures of stolen HEU or plutonium to date have been such bulk material. Matthew Bunn, communication with author, Oct. 11, 2008.

16 The remark was made by Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoi, an academician and vice chairman of the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, in a meeting with a delegation headed by Ambassador James Goodby, March 24, 1994. State Department cable Moscow 08594, declassified for author under FOIA.

17 On the glove episode, “Status of U.S. Efforts to Improve Nuclear Material Controls in Newly Independent States,” U.S. General Accounting Office, March 1996, report GAO/NSIAD/RCED-96-89, p. 25. On the navy case, Mikhail Kulik, “Guba Andreeva: Another Nuclear Theft Has Been Detected,” Yaderny Kontrol, no. 1, Spring 1996, Center for Policy Studies in Russia, pp. 16–21.

18 For his cables on the fissile materials crisis, Fairfax received the State Department’s 1994 award for excellence in reporting on environment, science and technology issues by the Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science. Also, “Diversion of Nuclear Materials: Conflicting Russian Perspectives and Sensitivities,” State Department cable, Moscow 19996, July 14, 1994.

19 Management and Disposition of Excess Weapons Plutonium, Committee on International Security and Arms Control, National Academy of Sciences, (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1994).

20 Matthew Bunn, interview, Oct. 4, 2004, and communications Aug. 24, 2008, and Oct. 11, 2008. Both Fairfax and Bunn found that one way to ease the mistrust was to arrange visits by the Russians to facilities in the United States.

21 Rensslaer W. Lee III, Smuggling Armageddon: The Nuclear Black Market in the Former Soviet Union and Europe (New York: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1998), pp. 89–103.

22 State Department cable Moscow 024061, Aug. 23, 1994, released in part to author under FOIA.

23 Von Hippel, interview, June 1, 2004. “My Draft Recommendations and Notes from Mayak Workshop,” von Hippel files, Oct. 23, 1994. Von Hippel, “Next Steps in Material Protection, Control, and Accounting Cooperation,” Nov. 15, 1994.

24 They were uranium metal, uranium oxides, uranium-beryllium alloy rods, uranium oxide-beryllium-oxide rods, uranium-beryllium alloy, uranium-contaminated graphite and laboratory salvage. Memorandum, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, Dec. 21, 1995. Beryllium is an ingredient in making nuclear warheads.

25 “DoD News Briefing,” Wednesday, Nov. 23, 1994. Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs),

26 The United States paid Kazakhstan about $27 million for the material. About $3 million was paid to the Ulba plant, and Weber had the privilege of presenting the check to Mette.

27 Bunn, interview by author. Holdren later provided a summary of the PCAST study in an open paper, “Reducing the Threat of Nuclear Theft in the Former Soviet Union: Outline of a Comprehensive Plan,” John P. Holdren, November 1995. The title of the PCAST study was “Cooperative U.S./Former Soviet Union Programs on Nuclear Materials Protection, Control and Accounting,” classified S/Noforn, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President, March 1995.

28 Bunn, communication with author, August 25, 2008. Also see Andrew and Leslie Cockburn, One Point Safe: A True Story (New York: Anchor, 1997), Ch. 11. On Sept. 28, 1995, nearly four months after the briefing, Clinton signed a presidential order, PDD-41, “Further Reducing the Nuclear Threat.” The order gave the Energy Department primary responsibility for nuclear materials protection in the former Soviet Union, a shift from the Defense Department. Bunn helped draft the presidential order, but he told me the lack of high-level support after it was signed meant it had less impact than he had hoped.

29 Engling, interviews, Sept. 29 and Oct. 13, 2003.

30 The highly-enriched uranium was kept at the institute’s facility in the suburb of Pyatikhatki. Nuclear Threat Initiative,


1 Acting CIA director William Studeman said the U.S. intelligence community believed the Russian Defense Ministry wanted to continue supporting research into dangerous pathogens and maintain facilities for war mobilization of biological weapons. See “Accuracy of Russia’s Report on Chemical Weapons,” FOIA, The document appears to have been written in 1995.

2 See Ken Alibek with Stephen Handelman, Biohazard: The Chilling True Story of the Largest Covert Biological Weapons Program in the World—Told from Inside by the Man Who Ran It (New York: Random House, 1999), Ch. 19, pp. 257–269.

3 Gennady Lepyoshkin, interview, March 28, 2005.

4 In addition to Weber and Lepyoshkin interviews, this account is based on photographs, forty-nine documents and nine videotapes describing Stepnogorsk before and after dismantlement obtained by the author under the FOIA from the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency, 2005–2007. Other sources included Roger Roffey, Kristina S. Westerdahl, “Conversion of Former Biological Weapons Facilities in Kazakhstan, A Visit to Stepnogorsk,” Swedish Defense Research Agency, FOI-R-0082-SE, May 2001; and Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad, Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001), pp. 171–176.

5 Anne M. Harrington, “Redirecting Biological Weapons Expertise: Realities and Opportunities in the Former Soviet Union,” Chemical Weapons Convention Bulletin, no. 29, Sept. 1995, pp. 2–5. This account is also based on an interview with Harrington.

6 Weber recalled, “To me what was so interesting was the planning. They were going to hit us with nuclear weapons, then hit us with biological weapons to kill those that nuclear weapons missed. Then, wipe out our crops and our livestock to deny the ability of those who survived to live, to feed themselves. And they were going to grow crops and raise livestock in that post—nuclear exchange environment.”

7 Nikolai Urakov, speech text and author’s notes, May 24, 2000.


1 They published their appeal in the Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4, 2007, p. A15. Also see Reykjavik Revisited: Steps Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons, Shultz et al., eds. (Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2007). The four authors established the Nuclear Security Project. See Also see Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris and Ivan Oelrich, From Counterforce to Mutual Deterrence: A New Nuclear Policy on the Path Toward Eliminating Nuclear Weapons. Occasional Paper No. 7, FAS and NRDC, April 2009.

2 Warhead data are from the authoritative Nuclear Notebook, by Robert S. Norris and Hans M. Kristensen, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, vol. 64, no. 1, pp. 50–53, 58, March/April 2008, and vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 54–57, 62, May/June 2008.

3 Bruce G. Blair, “De-alerting Strategic Forces,” Ch. 2 in Reykjavik Revisited. Blair estimates that 1,382 U.S. and 1,272 Russian missiles are maintained on high alert, p.57.

4 “The Nunn-Lugar Scorecard,” Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., accessed at

5 Matthew Bunn, Securing the Bomb, Project on Managing the Atom, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, commissioned by the Nuclear Threat Initiative, 2008, pp. 90–93.

6 Bunn, p. 51.

7 Stephen Bourne, ISTC, communication with author, Dec. 8, 2008. The total project funding as of December 2008 was $804.45 million. Not all the scientists were receiving these grants all the time, but the author found many examples in which the grants were a lifeline for the weapons scientists and engineers.

8 “Vozrozhdeniya Island Pathogenic Destruction Operations (VIPDO) Final Report,” Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, June 6, 2002, obtained by author under FOIA from Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The anthrax was doused in calcium hypochlorite.

9 One of the biggest mistakes was a facility which the United States built, at a cost of $95.5 million, to convert toxic liquid rocket fuel and oxidizer to commercial products. After the money was spent, the Russians informed the United States that they had used the fuel for space launches. Cooperative Threat Reduction Program Liquid Propellant Disposition Project (D-2002-154), Office of the Inspector General, Department of Defense, Sept. 30, 2002. Another puzzle has been the Russian handling of the Fissile Material Storage Facility. Although it was built to handle one hundred metric tons of plutonium or four hundred tons of highly-enriched uranium, the Russians have loaded only about one-sixth of it, and with plutonium only. It is not clear why such an expensive and modern facility remains so empty. The United States and Russia have been in conflict over congressional demands for a degree of transparency about what is stored there. Nunn and Lugar, interviews with author after visit to the facility, Aug. 31, 2007.

10 The Cooperative Threat Reduction programs were a mere .07 percent of the Defense Department’s overall budget request for fiscal year 2009, 3.86 percent of the Energy Department’s request and .8 percent of the State Department’s request. See Bunn, p. 116.

11 Valentin Yevstigneev, interview, Feb. 10, 2005. Yevstigneev’s comment repeated the claim made in an article published May 23, 2001, in the Russian newspaper Nezavisamaya Gazeta. Stanislav Petrov, the general in charge of chemical weapons, was a coauthor. The piece claimed the Sverdlovsk anthrax outbreak was the result of “subversive activity” against the Soviet Union. Stanislav Petrov et al., “Biologicheskaya Diversia Na Urale” [Biological Sabotage in the Urals], NG, May 23, 1001.

12 The closed military facilities are: the Scientific-Research Institute of Microbiology of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, Kirov, which is the main biological weapons facility of the military; the Virology Center of the Scientific-Research Institute of Microbiology of the Ministry of Defense, Sergiev Posad; and the Department of Military Epidemiology of the Scientific Research Institute of Microbiology of the Ministry of Defense, Yekaterinburg.

13 When the United States and Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997 they promised to destroy stocks of chemical weapons by 2012. The sarin and other chemical weapons mentioned here are to be eliminated by the plant now under construction with U.S. assistance, near Shchuchye.

14 Alan Cullison and Andrew Higgins, “Files Found: A Computer in Kabul Yields a Chilling Array of al Qaeda Memos,” Wall Street Journal, Dec. 31, 2001, p. 1.

15 George Tenet, At the Center of the Storm: My Years at the CIA(New York: HarperCollins, 2007), pp. 278–279. Also, 9/11 Commission report, chapter 5, p. 151. Sufaat received a degree in biological sciences with a minor in chemistry from California State University, in 1987. 9/11 Commission, note 23, p. 490.

16 Tenet, p. 279.

17 World at Risk: The Report of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, Bob Graham, chairman (New York: Vintage, 2008), p. 11.

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