Get Nervous: Rusty Soviet Doomsday System Still Turned On

Illustration for article titled 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]


Um, Humanity does not equal the US. If the nukes are pointed directly at the US, then it's the US, not Humanity.

Although I know the US is so inward looking it might seem that way. And by the way, the US has a brutal and belligerent history of actually USING their nukes on Humanity. Russia does not. It's the US or "Humanity" that we need to worried about. Especially since the US considers itself morally invincible. i.e. The mock bemusement as to why (even though it was actually staged) the demolition of the World Trade Center and killing of all those civilians (symbolic of the power and evil of American colonialism) would be a desired event by those non-Humans in the middle east and the ensuing backlash against anyone asking "why?".