Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Yeniseysk (Krasnoyarsk)

The 1972 ABM Treaty and its subsequent Protocol ban deployment of ABM systems except that each party can deploy one ABM system around the national capital or at a single ICBM deployment area. In an effort to preclude a territorial ABM defense, the ABM Treaty limited the deployment of ballistic missile early warning radars, including large phased-array radars used for that purpose, to locations along the national periphery of each party and required that they be oriented outward. The Treaty permits deployment (without regard to location or orientation) of large phased-array radars for purposes of tracking objects in outer space or for use as national technical means of verification of compliance with arms control agreements.

In July/August 1983 the United States revealed that it had detected a large early warning radar under construction at Abalakova in the Soviet Union. Although known in Russia as as the Yeniseysk-15 radar, since it was situated in the Yeneseysk region, it quickly became known to the world as "the Krasnoyarsk radar," after the nearby city with many military facilities. The facility, located on a river, included housing, rail lines and electrical power generators. Construction of the complex had apparently begun as early as 1978. This installation was roughly 800 kilometers from the nearest border and thus in violation of the ABM Treaty (which required that all such radars be located on a nation's periphery and oriented outward). The United States raised the issue of the Krasnoyarsk radar in the fall 1983 Standing Consultative Commission (SCC) session.

The United States and the Soviet Union conducted the third Review of the ABM Treaty as required at five-year intervals by the provisions of that Treaty. The Review was conducted from 24 August 1988 to 31 August 1988. During the Review, the United States emphasized the importance of Soviet violations of the ABM Treaty, which are a threat to the viability of the Treaty. Throughout the Review Conference, the Soviet Union gave no indication that it was prepared to correct the violations without linking their agreement to do so to unacceptable demands.

Specifically, the United States discussed with the Soviets its serious concern that the Soviet Union's deployment of a large phased-array radar near Krasnoyarsk constitutes a significant violation of a central element of the ABM Treaty. Such radars take years to build and are a key to providing a nation-wide defense -- which is prohibited by the Treaty. The Treaty's restrictions on the location, orientation, and functions of such radars are, thus, essential provisions of the Treaty. Hence, the Krasnoyarsk violation is very serious, particularly when it is recognized that the radar constitutes one of a network of such radars that have the inherent potential for attack assessment in support of ballistic missile defense.

In order for the Soviet Union to correct this violation, the Krasnoyarsk radar must be dismantled. The United States has been urging the Soviet Union for more than five years, both in the Standing Consultative Commission established by the Treaty and in other diplomatic channels, to correct this clear violation by dismantling the radar. During the Review, the U.S. outlined the specific Soviet actions necessary to correct this violation in a verifiable manner. The United States has also made clear that the continuing existence of the Krasnoyarsk radar makes it impossible to conclude any future arms agreements in the START or Defense and Space areas. The United States has observed a slowdown in construction, but this slowdown, or even a full construction freeze, would not be sufficient either to correct the Treaty violation or to meet U.S. concerns about the significant impact of the violation.

The Soviet Union agreed at the 22-23 September 1989 Wyoming Foreign Ministers meeting to eliminate the radar without preconditions during two days of meetings between U.S. Secretary of State James Baker and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze. On 23 October 1989, Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union Eduard Shevardnadze conceded that the Krasnoyarsk radar was a violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. According to Shevardnadze "We investigated the station for 4 years.... The whole truth did not become known to the country's leadership right away." The Soviet Government offered to convert the radar into an international space research facility.

Retired Soviet General Y.V. Votintsev, Director of the Soviet National Air Defense Forces from 1967 to 1985, subsequently publicly stated that he was directed by the Chief of the Soviet General staff to locate the large phased-array radar at Krasnoyarsk despite the recognition by Soviet authorities that the location of such a radar at that location would be a clear violation of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; and that Marshal D.F. Ustinov, Soviet Minister of Defense, threatened to relieve from duty any Soviet officer who continued to object to the construction of a large-phased array radar at Krasnoyarsk.

As of May 1991 the was about 12 percent dismantled, with all the internal electronic components and some external parts having been removed. By June 1991 the Soviets were dismantling the radar in an orderly way. They didn't simply blow it up, but rather dismantled it. The United States expected the dismantling down to the ground to be completed by the end of 1991.

However, as of March 1992 the dismantlement of Krasnoyarsk had not been completed, as promised, though the equipment had been completely dismantled and 70% of the buildings destroyed. As of June 1992 a local businessmen was hoping to set up a furniture factory and a small clothing shop in what was left of the structures -- about 60,000 square meters -- that once housed the transmitter and its receiver.

All radar transmitter panels were removed, and the upper structure was "irrevocably dismantled" under the conversion agreement. The US-Russian agreement on Krasnoyarsk allowed the remaining 30 to 40 percent of the radar facility to be converted into factory space, provided the plans were approved by the US government and that inspections of the finished building were permitted. By early 1993 the 19-story receiver building had been reduced to just five stories, and there was even less left of the smaller structure, which contained the transmitter. Some 300 workers still lived in the apartments built for the station.

In early 1991 the Soviet Union annouced plans to build a new radar at Komsomolsk-na-Amur during a session of the Standing Consultative Commission, the bilateral forum that meets regularly on ABM Treaty compliance issues. The new radar station in the Far East was to be a replacement for the adar station near Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. The US believed the Soviets would use components from the dismantled radar near Krasnoyarsk. The new radar was expected to be located within 200 miles of the Pacific coast and oriented in a northeast direction, closing the gap in the missile detection and tracking radar network.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list


privacy policy