Get Nervous: Rusty Soviet Doomsday System Still Turned On

Wired Magazine has a fascinating article on the doomsday system that was built by the Soviets 25 years ago. It was designed to obliterate the US no matter what happened to the USSR—and it still works today. Shiver.

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

The technical name was Perimeter, but some called it Mertvaya Ruka, or Dead Hand. It was built 25 years ago and remained a closely guarded secret.

The scary thing is that Perimeter still works today. At least according to Valery Yarynich, a former Soviet colonel now 72 years old. Yarynich should know, though: He worked 30 years at the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces and Soviet General Staff helping to build it.

US Officials won't even like to mention it, but with the Cold War over and Russia being more or less a friend, why risk having such a system in place? I really don't like the idea of something going wrong in a rusty 25-year-old piece of Soviet-era technology.

Not when it can automatically launch a nuclear attack capable of taking out Humanity out of the map. [Wired]