Russia and Nuclear Weapons

Dionis KAPTAR (Russia)

The USSR tested its own atomic bomb on August 29, 1949. If we reject false humanism and look at the event without prejudice, we have to say that the Soviet Union’s acquisition of nuclear weapons played a key role in the history of mankind. At the time, the United States was the only country with the bomb, and that gave it an unprecedented advantage over the rest of the world. The acquisition of nuclear weapons by the USSR was the main thing that guaranteed peaceful development for decades. That statement is supported by the recent experience of Iraq and Yugoslavia, which clearly demonstrated that the only right that still works is the right that comes from power, and any treaty can easily become just so much paper if it is not backed up by military might.

The initial theoretical work in nuclear physics began towards the end of the 19th century. Three countries led the field for a long time: the United States, Britain and Germany. Despite the 1917 October Revolution and the Civil War, that followed it, Russia in the first half of the 20th century enjoyed many successes and had its own highly knowledgeable experts, including Kurchatov, Gamow, Mysovsky, Flerov, Khariton, and many others.

World War II gave a boost to work on the military use of nuclear technologies, and the great states of the time entered the nuclear arms race. Not surprisingly, the Americans moved ahead of the pack. But although the brunt of the war with Germany fell on the USSR, it began its own nuclear project in 1942. The famous Laboratory No. 2 of the USSR Academy of Sciences headed by Kurchatov was formed some time later. The laboratory was a scientific institute established to produce the bomb.

America used nuclear weapons against Japan in 1945. The new bomb possessed unmatched destructive power. Meanwhile, the war had inflicted serious damage on the Soviet Union. The United States therefore believed that our country was far behind in the nuclear arms race. But Soviet scientists pulled off a true achievement, and America’s monopoly on nuclear weapons lasted only four years. Who knows? Perhaps that is why we avoided a nuclear war, as paradoxical as it sounds. So August 29, 1949 is a day truly worth remembering.

Konstantin Sivkov, First Vice President of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Problems, has this to say about the geopolitical consequences of the acquisition of a nuclear bomb by the USSR:

— From a geopolitical point of view, the Soviet Union’s test of a nuclear bomb marked the appearance of a counterbalance in the international power system. The United States already had nuclear weapons, and the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the USSR signaled the emergence of a bipolar world. The Soviet Union and the United States became two absolutes, which all of the other countries could not equal. Great Britain took a backseat. Previously, it had been the mistress of the seas and dominated the world, including the United States and the USSR. All of the other countries of Europe that previously had been on a par with the USSR and the United States—such as France and Germany—moved into the background. At that time, China did not even enter the picture. Before the Soviet Union tested its nuclear bomb, we had a unipolar world because the United States with its nuclear supremacy could employ nuclear blackmail against the Soviet Union, and against the other countries of the world, as well. As soon as a counterbalance to the US nuclear capability appeared, it lost that ability and the opportunity for nuclear blackmail against other countries. That, of course, immediately affected world geopolitics. As soon as the Soviet Union tested its nuclear weapon, the United States and the entire Western world lost their ability to act with impunity against other countries. An example of that is the well-known Suez Crisis of 1952, when the Israel, Great Britain and France attacked Egypt, and the Soviet Union’s threat to enter to the war on Egypt’s side made it possible to stop it.

Source: New Eastern Outlook

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