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BRINK OF APOCALYPSE, Television Documentary Archive

BRINK OF APOCALYPSE 2/1-9: Interviews with USSR military personnel

Please note: We require 7 days notice to retrieve this collection as part, or all of it, is held off-campus.


Brink of Apocalypse 2/1

[2007]

Interview with Gen Col Ivan Yesin

Typescript transcript of interview with Gen Col Ivan Yesin, Soviet Nuclear Missile Force (SNMF). Subjects include: his role, Nov 1983; tensions between East and West in the late 1970s and early 1980s; boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympic Games in Moscow; the USSR-Afghanistan war 1979-1988; the Pioneer missile complex and its capabilities; NATO exercise ABLE ARCHER; USSR missile launch plans; the role of Yuri Andropov (General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 1982-1984) in potential USSR missile launches; USSR Government Control Centre; Nikolai Orgakov (Chief of General Staff, 1977-1984), and his role in the command centre; atmosphere in the Government Control Centre amongst the SNMF and other soviet military forces. Original interview conducted in Russian, transcript in English. 28pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/2

[2007]

Interview with Capt Viktor Tkachenko,

Typescript transcript of interview with Capt Viktor Tkachenko, Commander of the Nuclear Missile Silo, Soviet Nuclear Missile Force. Subjects include: his role in at the Strategic Missile Force, Nov 1983, in charge of ten intercontinental missiles; tensions on the eve of the October Revolution anniversary holiday, 7 Nov 1983; Yuri Andropov’s role as General Secretary of the Communist Party and leader of the USSR; perceived threat of a nuclear strike; briefings urging extra caution during NATO strategic exercises; the USSR’s preparedness for a third world war; role of USA in NATO exercises; SS19 missiles launch time and power; USSR conviction of nuclear superiority and the likelihood of the USA launching a first strike nuclear attack. Original interview conducted in Russian, transcript in English. 20pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/3

[2007]

Interview with Stanislav Petrov

Typescript transcript of interview with Stanislav Petrov, USSR Early Warning System Commander. Subjects include: his role, Sep 1983, and his duties as an analyst, Ground Command and Control Centre; importance of the image of National Defence and the uniforms of the military and civilian staff; USA missile positions on his shift, in Sep 1983; how information was processed within the command and control centre; USSR preparation, both psychologically and physically, for nuclear attack; the system’s difficulty in distinguishing between light spots, satellites and missiles; false detection of missiles by their computer system. Original interview conducted in Russian, transcript in English. 55pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/4

[2007]

Interview with Sergei Lokot

Typescript transcript of interview with Sergei Lokot, USSR Nuclear Submarine Commander. Subjects include: his position in 1983 as assistant commander; his service in titanium submarines, a submarine that carried nuclear reactors; the role of titanium as a multipurpose submarine to protect the strategic submarines and destroy enemy strategic submarines; American submarines and deployment of mines underwater; the increase of anti-submarine exercises in the summer and autumn of 1983; his knowledge of Able Archer and what he was doing when it occurred; an increase in submarine presence; submarines on combat alert during Able Archer; listening devices (tap pods). Original interview conducted in Russian, typescript transcript in English 38pp.

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/5

[2007]

Interview with Adm Vladen Smirnoff, USSR Northern Fleet, Deputy Chief

Typescript transcript of interview with Adm Vladen Smirnoff, USSR Northern Fleet, Deputy Chief. Subjects include his rank in 1983 and naval intelligence; tensions between East and West during this period; the election of Ronald Reagan in 1981 and his “militant rhetoric” during the election campaign of 1979-80; Reagan’s appointment of Caspar Weinberger and John Lehman within the defence and naval departments; tactical and strategic nuclear weapons; Ronald Reagan’s “Evil Empire” speech, 1981; America’s 47 nuclear exercises in 1983; Strategic Defence Initiative; the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007, 1 Sep 1983; Able Archer; USSR strengthening of intelligence operations; NATO forces at the Russian borders; American submarines; American and USSR violation of territorial waters; violation of USSR airspace; provocation by the Americans; Pacific fleet exercise 1983; USS Harlan County’s unexpected arrival in the Barent sea; the activity of American, French and British ships within the Barent Sea; US interest in USSR’s new submarines; psychology of nuclear war; the concept of a ‘Nuclear Winter’; Able Archer and why 1983’s exercise stood out above all others; psychological and moral difficulties of a starting a nuclear war; American targets during Able Archer. Original interview conducted in Russian, transcript in English. 52pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/6

[2007]

Interview with Col Maxim Devetyarov, USSR Bomber Pilot

Typescript transcript of interview with Col Maxim Devetyarov, USSR Bomber Pilot .Subjects include his position and rank in 1983 as a senior navigator; USSR being prepared for war; Pershing II missile deployment; USSR commanders belief that there was a possibility of a conflict; USSR’s only bombers regiment and its relocation to Germany; the ability of the USSR planes to carry nuclear weapons; warnings about American provocation; high combat readiness, being prepared for take-off and the psychological pressure of high combat alert; the role of conventional and nuclear weapons; interest of Americans towards the bomber regiment; what he was doing during NATO exercises and his recollection of Able Archer in November 1983; tasks set to strategic bombers; his personal life; Original interview conducted in Russian; Typescript transcript in English. 27pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/7

[2007]

Interview with Gen Rodionov, USSR Army, Missile Warning Section

Typescript transcript of interview with Gen Rodionov USSR Army, Missile Warning Section. Subjects include his role as his role and rank as Commander of the Missile Warning Section in 1983; the purpose of the Missile Warning Section, what the Missile Warning Section monitored “Evil Empire” speech, 1981; shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007; Able Archer; satellite interference; system producing false warnings and the frequency of false warnings; informing Andropov of missile launches; planned retaliation from USSR; Strategic Defence Initiative (SDI); defence against the SDI monitoring of Pershing II missile bases; reaction of Missile Warning Section forces to Able Archer; permanent state of combat readiness; the possibility of a pre-emptive strike from the USSR; hotline to the General Secretary; the money spent on new technological developments and the building up of new weapons; the Stanislav Petrov incident. Original interview conducted in Russian, transcript in English 31pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/8

[2007]

Interview with Gen Ivan Tretyak, USSR Air Force, Far East

Typescript transcript of interview with Gen Ivan Tretyak USSR Air Force, Far East. Subjects include his role as commander of the Far Eastern Military district; airspace violations during the Cold War; shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007; reporting to Dmitry Ustinov about the incident; Ustinov ordering the plane to be shot down; standoff with American planes in neutral waters; USSR claims that it was not a passenger plane but a reconnaissance plane, after inspection of seabed by Russian submarine; Politburo session following the incident; American violations triggering the shooting down of KAL 007; the lack of dead bodies recovered; accuracy of Early Warning Systems; was shooting down of KAL 007 a mistake?; the possibility that Treyak was misled by USSR authorities regarding the true nature of KAL 007; Andropov chairing the Politburo meeting ; Original interview conducted in Russian, transcript in English; 25pp

1 file


Brink of Apocalypse 2/9

[2007]

Interview with Gennady Ossipovich, USSR Fighter Pilot, Far East Section [the Pilot who shot down civilian flight KAL 007]

Typescript transcript of interview with Gennady Ossipovich, USSR Fighter Pilot, Far East Section [the Pilot who shot down civilian flight KAL 007]. Subjects include his role as deputy regiment commander stationed on Sakhalin Island; the violation of USSR air space by American reconnaissance planes; shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007; situations in when a passenger plane could legitimately be shot down; the awareness that it was a Boeing 474 passenger plane, deviated 700km from its route, the lack of faces seen by Ossipovich; the possibility that Korean Airlines flight KAL 007 didn’t see the gun fire; the emotion and determination behind shooting down a plane; authorities keeping their distance from Ossipovich; warning signals sent to Korean Airlines flight KAL 007; ground control message to KAL 007; recording fake evidence after the shooting down of Korean Airlines flight KAL 007, using an electric razor; the findings of the submarine that investigated the crash, rumours surrounding the incident; Original interview conducted in Russian, transcript in English 31pp

1 file

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