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RYAN is an acronym for Raketno-YAdernoe Napadenie ("Nuclear Missile Attack").

Purpose

The purpose of the operation was "to collect intelligence on the presumed, but non-existent, plans of the Reagan administration to launch a nuclear first strike against the Soviet Union — a delusion which reflected both KGB's continuing failure to penetrate the policy-making of the main adversary USA and its recurrent tendency towards "conspiracy theory."[1] It was initiated in May 1981 by KGB director Yuri Andropov, then chairman of KGB.

RYAN took on a new significance when Andropov took power in 1982, and particularly after the announcement of the planned deployment of the Pershing II missile to West Germany. These missiles were designed to be launched from road-mobile vehicles, making the launch sites very hard to find. The flight time from West Germany to European Russia was only four to six minutes (approximate flying time from six to eight minutes from West Germany to Moscow), giving the Soviets little or no warning.

On 23 March 1983, Ronald Reagan publicly announced development of the SDI program. Soviet leadership felt that the use of SDI technology was to render America invulnerable to Soviet attack, thereby allowing the US to launch missiles against the USSR with no fear of retaliation. This surprise attack concern prompted sudden expansion of the RYAN program. The worries reached its peak during KAL 007 shootdown and the NATO Exercise Able Archer 83 [1], the Soviet Union believed that a United States first strike on the Soviet Motherland was imminent.

Operation RYAN was downscaled in 1984, after death of its main proponents, Yuri Andropov and defense minister Dmitriy Ustinov. [1]

References

  1. ^ a b c Christopher Andrew and Vasili Mitrokhin (2000). The Mitrokhin Archive: The KGB in Europe and the West. Gardners Books. ISBN 0-14-028487-7.
  • War Scare - Peter Vincent Pry
  • A Cold War Conundrum: The 1983 Soviet War Scare - Benjamin B. Fischer [1]

See also








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