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What was new on START Web site?

December, 1998

December 29, 1998
Deployment of "Topol-M" ICBMs became one of the major events in the Russian defense ministry in 1998.

December 25, 1998
Conclusions from the Russian - U.S. Workshop On Warhead Transparency are published. The meeting took place on November 9-10, in Washington D.C. and it was hosted by the Federation of American Scientists.

Bill Richardson, the Secretary of the DOE, reveals the details on cooperation with Russia on nuclear issues (Russia's Recession: The Nuclear Fallout, by Bill Richardson, The Washington Post, Wednesday, December 23, 1998; Page A23). At the same time the authors of yesterday's article in Obschaya Gazeta claim that "the deal of the century" brings to Russia losses only (Nuclear Export: The Period of Half-Disintegration, by Sergei Yamschikov, Yelena Skvorzova, Maxim Glikin and Yevgeni Bye, Obschaya Gazeta, December 24-30, 1998, p. 4). We'd like just to remind about a recent comment by Anatoli Diakov How Much Does Weapon Grade Uranium Cost?, (in Russian) which is directly related with the problem discussed.

Our Center's book Russian Strategic Nuclear Weapons (note, that its review in English is now available) is still in demand. If you want to get a copy, please let us know. Although the Center for Arms Control does not sell the book, we have a limited number of copies which we distribute to people working in the arms control area. You may also buy a copy from the "Dom Voennoi Knigi" store in Moscow (3, Sadovo-Spasskaia Street) or from EastView Publications in the United States.

The lower house of the Russian parliament again has delayed consideration of the 1993 START II strategic arms treaty until its spring session because of anger over the U.S. and British air strikes on Iraq, parliamentary speaker Gennady Seleznev announced Tuesday. Observers believe, that such a solution will hit Russia first, because Russia is more than anyone interested in the pact.

December 22, 1998
Nikolai Sokov's paper Modernization Of Strategic Nuclear Weapons In Russia: The Emerging New Posture is now available on the START web site. We thank the author and the Program on New Approaches to Russian Security (PONARS) for giving us an exclusive permission to publish an electronic version of the paper.

December 19, 1998
PIR Center has published a Draft Federal Bill on Ratification of the Treaty Between The Russian Federation and the United States of America On Further Reduction And Limitation Of Strategic Offensive Arms, which was prepared in the Duma and supposed to be coordinated with the president's administration. However, the missile attacks on Iraq seem to have completely undermined all the efforts of the Russian supporters of the START II Treaty.

Coalition to Reduce Nuclear Dangers presents a selection of START II related documents.

Commander of Russia's Strategic Rocket Forces is for ratification of START 2. (To Future With Topol-M, by Vladimir Yakovlev and Marina Eratova, Pravda, December 18, 1998)

Papers discussing unification of the Russian strategic nuclear forces are gathered in a separate section. New publications include

A paper "START II and Parity With the U.S." by V. Dubrovin in Morskoi Sbornik (September, 1998, pp. 33-38) discusses the requirements to the sea based leg of the Russian strategic forces.

Viktor Mikhailov, a former Minister of Minatom criticise the plans to create "Atomprom" company (A Half-Disintegration Period of the Minatom, by Anatoli Yevdokimov, Trud, December 17, 1998, p. 5). By the way, the recent issue of Yaderny Control presents Viktor Mikhailov's views on the utility of nuclear weapons and prospects for disarmament (Towards Strategic Stability Through a Balance of Force and Transparency, Yaderny Control, November-December, N 6, pp. 63-65).

"...The United States must recognize that its own actions have severely undermined the HEU deal and that the assumption that the deal can be accomplished at no cost to the United States is a serious mistake..." (Privatizing U.S. National Security: The U.S.-Russian HEU Deal At Risk, by Thomas L. Neff, Arms Control Today, August/September 1998).

U.S. missile defense programs (The U.S. "3+3" NMD Program and the ABM Treaty, by George Lewis, INESAP Information Bulletin, November 1998, pp. 26-28) and a possible response from Russia (Not Only Numbers Matter, by V.S. Belous, V.S. Dontsov and Yu.A. Tsyba, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 48, December 18 - 24, 1998, p. 6)

The MOU Data from July, 1998 on the U.S. and Russian strategic arsenals are available on the Web (U.S. and Soviet/Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces , Arms Control Today, August/September 1998).

December 16, 1998
Russian political and military leaders stepped up pressure on parliament on Tuesday to ratify the START 2 strategic arms accord but the legislature again dithered over the treaty it has held up for nearly six years.

The recent paper "On Preparation Of START II Ratification" by Alexander Tarasov, a staffer of the Duma Committee on International Affairs, (Yadernoye Rasprostraneniye, Issue 24, September 1998, pp. 5-13) presents a detailed description of the problems of START II consideration in the Duma during the last year.

Yuri Maslyukov, the First Deputy Prime Minister, reveals the government's plans for future development of Russian strategic forces. By 2010, 70 of currently deployed "Topol" ICBMs will be in service. Ten new "Topol-M" ICBMs will be produced next year. In 2000-2003 production will increase to 30 ICBMs annually, and starting 2005 it should be 50 ICBMs a year. Deployment of new class "Yuri Dolgoruki" strategic submarines will be postponed until 2007. The projected submarine will accommodate missiles of a new design. The air leg of Russian strategic forces will include 6 Tu-160 and 30-40 Tu-95MS bombers with strategic cruise missiles of a new design (START II Treaty and Destiny of Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces, by Yu. Maslyukov, Izvestiya, December 16, 1998, p.1, 6).

The Strategic Rocket Forces sum up the year's outcomes. Combat readiness was maintained at a level of 92%. Service life of RS-20 (SS-18) ICBMs was extended to 22 years, RS-18 (SS-19) - to 23, and RS-22 (SS-24) - to 11 years (New "Topols" Will Get Nuclear Warheads, by Sergei Sokut, Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 16, 1998, p. 2).

The Russian strategic missile forces command has developed a computer program to resolve problems related to the millennium bug, General Vladimir Yakovlev, CinC of the SRF said Tuesday. The millennium bug "isn't causing any worry" to Russian forces, Yakovlev said. "The total needed to resolve the problem is only 10 million rubles ($500,000)," he added (Russian Nuclear Forces Ready to Fight Millennium Bug, by Agence France Presse, Russia Today, December 16, 1998).

According to a Kommersant Daily correspondent, recent test launch of "Topol-M" was partially financed by the U.S. MoD. The Americans conducted an experiment on evaluation of radio wave transmission through plasma. In other words, they studied the impact of a nuclear explosion on radio communications (Successful Launch of "Topol-M" Helped the Americans to Explore Performance of Radio Communications in Conditions of A Nuclear Explosion, by Ivan Safronov, Kommersant-Daily, December 10, 1998, p.2). General Yakovlev, the CinC of the Strategic Forces denied the claim in an interview to the ITAR-TASS Agency (The CinC of the SRF: The "Topol-M" Test Launch Program Does Not Envisage Experiments in Interests of Any Other States, Oborona i Bezopasnost, December 15, 1998)

December 14, 1998
Experts and news agencies comment the situation with START II Treaty ratification by the State Duma:

Sergei Rogov, the Director of the U.S.A. and Canada Institute in Moscow, continues discussion on expediency of strategic forces unification (Russia and Nuclear Weapons, Nezavisimoye Voyennoye Obozreniye NG, N 47, December 11 - 17, 1998, p.4)

The Russian Strategic Rocket Forces successfully tested Topol-M and SS-24 ICBMs recently

The Future of Russian sea based strategic forces remains under question. According to Bellona, Russian Navy press-center confirmed that four of six Typhoon SSBNs no longer are in active service.

Discussion of German leader's proposal to review the NATO nuclear strategy continues

December 1, 1998
A comment on the Problems of START II Ratification prepared exclusively for our web site by Pyotr Romashkin (Defense Committee staff, the State Duma) (in Russian)

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