Cover image for Russian strategic nuclear forces
Russian strategic nuclear forces
Podvig, P. L. (Pavel Leonardovich)
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxi, 692 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
UA776.R37 R87 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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This encyclopedic book provides comprehensive data about Soviet and Russian strategic weapons, payloads, and delivery systems and on the nuclear complex that supports them. The data are drawn from open, primarily Russian sources. All the information is presented chronologically, arranged by individual systems and facilities, and is not available elsewhere in a single volume.

Following an overview of the history of Soviet strategic forces, the book discusses the structure of the political and military leadership in the Soviet Union and Russia, the structure of the Russian military and military industry, nuclear planning procedures, and the structure of the command and control system. It describes the nuclear warhead production complex and the Soviet nuclear weapon development program. It then focuses on the individual services that constitute the so-called strategic triad -- land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, the strategic submarine fleet, and strategic aviation. It presents an overview of Soviet strategic defense, including air defense systems, the Moscow missile defense system, the radar and space-based early warning networks, and the space surveillance system. The book also includes a description of the Soviet nuclear testing program, including information on test sites and on all Soviet nuclear tests and peaceful nuclear explosions. It concludes with a look at the future of strategic nuclear weapons in Russia.

Author Notes

Pavel Podvig is a Research Fellow at the Center for Arms Control Studies at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This is a Russian-produced follow-on to the Soviet Nuclear Weapons volumes published in the 1980s by the Natural Resources Defense Council. It is significant not only because of its encyclopedic account of Russian and Soviet strategic nuclear forces, but also because of the role it has played in recent Russian government crackdowns on freedom of information. First published in Moscow (in the original Russian language) in 1998, and now translated into English, the work systematically details the history of nuclear weapons and strategic forces development in the Soviet Union, the armed services framework within which the Soviet strategic triad was deployed, and the Soviet nuclear testing program. Although the authors, all highly respected Russian nuclear scientists, worked exclusively from open Russian sources and did not even have access to classified information, the book has since been seized by the Russian Security Service (FSB). Its unsold Russian copies have been confiscated along with the computers on which the book was edited. Several of the authors remain under investigation in Moscow. The drama surrounding the book's history, however, should not detract from its extraordinary and lasting usefulness as an indispensable reference tool. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. J. L. Twigg Virginia Commonwealth University

Table of Contents

List of Major Weapons Systemsp. ix
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xv
About the Authorsp. xix
1 Soviet and Russian Strategic Nuclear Forcesp. 1
2 The Structure and Operations of Strategic Nuclear Forcesp. 33
3 The Nuclear Weapons Production Complexp. 67
4 The Strategic Rocket Forcesp. 117
5 Naval Strategic Nuclear Forcesp. 235
6 Strategic Aviationp. 339
7 Strategic Defensep. 399
8 Nuclear Testsp. 439
Afterword: Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces in Transitionp. 567
Appendix: Designations of Soviet and Russian Strategic Systemsp. 581
Notesp. 587
Indexp. 657
The Center for Arms Control, Energy and Environmental Studies and The Security Studies Programp. 693