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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Nuclear Center Warns...
Creators of Nuclear Weapons Have Passed to NOVAYA YEZHEDNEVNAYA GAZETA a Letter for the Russian President

Open appeal by labor collective of Russian Federal Nuclear Center--All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics to Russian President B.N. Yeltsin

>Esteemed Boris Nikolayevich! We employees of the Russian Federal Nuclear Center--All-Russia Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics [RFNC-ARSRITP] are deeply concerned at the situation which has taken shape in the nuclear weapons complex. While conscious of the whole complexity of the economic situation in Russia, we are nevertheless forced to draw your attention to the inadmissibility of the current process of virtual destruction of such a unique project as our enterprise.

The RFNC-ARSRITP, one of two Russian federal nuclear centers, was formed in the city of Chelyabinsk-70 (now a closed administrative-territorial formation, Snezhinsk city, Chelyabinsk Oblast) in 1955. The past decades of peace and creative building in the life of our state have shown that active pursuit of nuclear weapons projects, including the years of work on creating appropriate nuclear weapon systems, is the most effective means of deterring any aggression. More than 50 percent of the nuclear weapon systems now in our arsenal include nuclear charges developed at the RFNC-ARSRITP.

In recent years there has been a substantial change in the state authorities' attitude to the military-industrial complex as a whole, including the two federal nuclear centers. The RFNC-ARSRITP is currently being funded at such a low level that there is a real threat that work on the state defense order will cease, not to mention the development of conversion areas. At the same time three similar centers in the United States are continuing to function at the former level -- they are recognized as the country's national asset.

Constantly inadequate and late funding has brought the RFNC-ARSRITP to crisis point. The enterprise's debts run into tens of billions of rubles and are increasing, owing inter alia to enforced expenditure on paying fines and credits. The equipment is aging physically, and there is a catastrophic shortage of materials, tools, and special clothing; energy suppliers have repeatedly warned that they will cease supplying gas and electricity. As a consequence, there is a growing risk that emergency situations will arise, even involving technologically dangerous production sections. Systematic delays over paying wages to employees over the past two and a half years are creating a very complex, physically and morally difficult social situation in the labor collective. People simply do not have the wherewithal to live or to feed their children. In such a psychological state they have to work under particularly harmful and dangerous conditions -- which can have grave consequences.

An extremely complex situation is also occurring in the social sphere. Medicine ekes out a pitiful existence, the birth rate has fallen, and the level of sickness and mortality has increased. There are no funds to improve the health of working people and their children. Housing construction has virtually stopped, the number of needy people is growing, and there are families with three children living in a hostel. The subsidiary agricultural enterprise has been forced to reduce the numbers of livestock and poultry, cannot supply the working people with food, and is essentially falling apart.

Concerned at the current processes and at the threatened loss of the technical and scientific potential which had been attained and which it will be impossible to restore, the leadership and the trade union committee of the RFNC-ARSRITP have repeatedly asked various state organs to examine questions of the enterprise's financial and economic position. There is a draft government decree on funding the federal nuclear centers which has been discussed repeatedly in the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of the Economy, and the Ministry of Labor. But the majority of the labor collective's appeals have gone unanswered, and the draft decree remains just a draft.

We once again ask all state management bodies and you personally, Boris Nikolayevich, to consider our problems and to adopt corresponding decisions without delay, primarily on these questions:

approval of the Russian Federation Government decree on funding the federal nuclear centers;

repayment of debts and payment of delayed wages;

allocation of the necessary funds for housing construction, medicine, and other areas of the social sphere.

We are sure that Russia needs our labor, and we are ready to give our knowledge, strength, and experience in the name of our motherland's independence and might. We hope for wisdom and farsightedness from the president, the government, and Russia's other administrative bodies.

The appeal is signed by 7,369 employees of the RFNC-ARSRITP.

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