Moscow paraded dummy missiles

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The Independent Online
MANY OF the huge strategic missiles displayed in Red Square parades during the Soviet era were only dummies, but they scared the West into an expensive response, a Russian magazine reported yesterday.

One such fake, GR-1, an acronym for Global Missile, showed during a parade in 1965, prompted the United States to build an anti-missile defence system worth billions of dollars, said the weekly Vlast (Power). In fact, the Soviets had abandoned the GR-1 project long before the parade.

Another two mobile ballistic missiles shown in the same parade were also fakes, their test launches having been a failure, the magazine said.

"Foreign military attaches were scared to death, triggering panic in Nato headquarters," it said. "A huge international uproar followed, and only those who prepared this demonstration knew they were dummies."

One of the authors of the Vlast report worked as a missile engineer and said he had worked on a support system for one of the fake missiles to prevent it from bouncing on the stone-paved Red Square in Moscow. The magazine said the Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev first bluffed the West with the legend of powerful Russian missiles, saying the Soviet Union was making them "like sausage".

"Such comparison sounded ambiguous for the Soviet people, because the sausage was in deficit, but it duly impressed foreigners," it said.

At the time of Krushchev's comment, the Soviets had only four intercontinental ballistic missiles on duty, while the United States had 60. "The myth about the Soviet missile superiority was convenient for both the Soviet leadership and the American military industrial complex, which was getting huge contracts," the magazine said.