History 04/01/20 Operation “Ryan”: why Andropov feared a nuclear attack the U.S.

In the last years before Perestroika, the Soviet leadership lived in constant fear of nuclear war. Assessing the threat posed by America as a very real, Yuri Andropov initiated a massive intelligence operation RYAN (nuclear Missile attack), which in the West due to the overlap in the transcription called “Ryan” (RYAN).

“Not to overlook the real danger”

When in 1981 the US President was elected Ronald Reagan anti-Soviet stance of the new American leader is highly alarmed by the then Chairman of the KGB Yuri Andropov. In spring 1981, together with the war Minister, Marshal Ustinov, Andropov submitted to the Politburo for approval Directive, which ordered the KGB and the GRU to collect information about the military plans of the enemy. Tracking signs of a surprise attack appeared to the country’s leadership is so important that it was decided to combine the efforts of two intelligence agencies that had never worked together. While the KGB was responsible for the “political” aspect of the operation, and the GRU – military.

in March (according to other sources, may) Andropov explained the purpose RAN at the all-Union conference of workers of the KGB. He recalled how the General * l Shironin Vyacheslav, head of the KGB said of the sharp aggravation of the international situation. The situation really deteriorated, primarily because of the ongoing war in Afghanistan and strikes in Poland. Just in March 1981, CIA Director William Casey, persuaded Reagan that it is the best time for the collapse of the Soviet Union by economic means. The President was not written off and the military, immediately after the election increasing the defense budget of America by 32.6 billion. Not surprisingly, Andropov waiting for the West to take decisive action.

“the Soviet security officers must learn to operate sighting, more precisely, faster, – said the Chairman of the KGB at the meeting. – The main task – not to see the military preparations of the enemy, prepared for a nuclear attack, not to overlook the real risk of war” (quoted from the book of Oleg Grinevsky “Scenario for world war III”).

fears of a “chief security officer” resulted in the biggest intelligence operation of world scale, which lasted, according to various estimates, up to 1984 or 1989.

Instructions for agents

In November 1981, all residents of the KGB in the Western States received specincally listing the mandatory intelligence activities. They related to military, political and espionage of the enemy.

Interesting list of indirect evidence, which, in the opinion of the Soviet leadership, could testify about preparing for nuclear attack. For example, agents had to look out for is the lights in government buildings at night (how here not to remember the old Moscow myth that if in the Kremlin the night glow of the window – so Stalin works). Also they observed unusual movements of important government officials and even the activation of blood donation.

How effective were such events, hard to say. The agents themselves, according to Oleg Grinevsky, RYAN treated with skepticism. However, they had no right to gloss over the “alarming” signs, even if they doubted them. The center also demanded all new and new reports even minor incidents. This situation is historian Christopher Andrew in collaboration with defector Oleg Gordievsky called “vicious circle of intelligence”.

When, in 1983, Reagan called the USSR the “evil Empire” and announced the deployment of the Strategic defense initiative, instructions for the agents were clarified. They were instructed to observe Church leaders and big bankers, who, according to KGB, Western rulers had to notify about the impending war. At the same time to the collection of information were connected and the intelligence services of the GDR.

Western historians see in operation RYAN a symptom of “paranoia” of the Soviet regime. But do not forget that unlike the USSR, the United States never claimed the impossibility of a preventive nuclear strike.

Timur Sagdiyev

© Russian Seven

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