RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN AND THE NORWEGIAN ROCKET INCIDENT
The Norwegian Rocket Incident refers to a few minutes of post-Cold War nuclear tension that took place on January 25, 1995. The incident started when a team of Norwegian and American scientists launched a Black Brant XII four-stage sounding rocket from the Andøya Rocket Range off the northwest coast of Norway. The rocket, which carried equipment to study the aurora borealis over Svalbard, flew on a high northbound trajectory eventually reaching an altitude of 1,453 km (908 miles). As the rocket climbed, it was detected by the Olenegorsk early-warning radar station in Russia. To the radar operators, the rocket appeared similar in speed and flight pattern to a U.S. submarine-launched Trident missile. Russian President Boris Yeltsin was notified immediately and the "nuclear briefcases" used to authorize nuclear launch were automatically activated
. Russian doctrine reportedly allowed Yeltsin ten minutes from the time of detection to decide on a course of action. Russian observers were quickly able to determine that the rocket was heading away from Russian airspace and was not a threat. Reports differ greatly as to whether or not Yeltsin came close to authorizing an attack
. The rocket fell to earth as planned near Spitzbergen 24 minutes after launch.
The Norwegian and American scientists had notified 30 countries including Russia of their intention to launch a rocket but the information may not have been passed on to the radar technicians.
* Pry, Peter Vincent, War Scare
It should be noted that no warning was given to the populace that there was any problem. It was reported in the news over a week after the incident.
* A Close Call, the Norwegien Rocket Incident
* False Alarms on the Nuclear Front
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norwegian_Rocket_Incident
Yeltsin's alcoholism (link)
According to numerous reports, Yeltsin was a heavy drinker
. Moreover, his alcoholism played a role in significant decisions that had effect on Russia and the whole world.
* In 1989, Yeltsin went to the USA to give a series of speeches on social and political life in the Soviet Union. That trip was described by a scandalous publication in the Italian newspaper La Repubblica. The article reported that Yeltsin often appeared drunk in public
. The article was reprinted by Pravda.
* According to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, president Bill Clinton was exposed to Yeltsin's alcoholism in their first phone call when Yeltsin called to congratulate him on Inauguration Day in 1993. Yeltsin was drunk. He was drunk again during the first summit meeting they had with Clinton in Vancouver. Talbott recalls that Yeltsin was so drunk when he arrived in the airport in September 1994 that he could barely get off the plane
. The same night Yeltsin was staggering around in his underpants shouting for pizza. According to Talbott, that was a huge problem, and they did their best not to add to the public embarrassment. Phone calls to Yeltsin had to be timed to increase the probability to get him sober
. During the Kosovo bombing, Yeltsin, who was obviously drunk, suggested that he and Clinton meet on a submarine.
* The portrayal of Yeltsin as a drunk in TV show Kukly
by Victor Shenderovich has led to a criminal investigation, which was later dropped.
* Gwynne Dyer, a London-based independent journalist, commented in The Moscow Times on April 13, 1999:"I have seen President Boris Yeltsin drunk and I'm pretty sure I have seen him sober, but unless he does something obvious like singing or falling over, it takes a while to decide: Both his body language and his speech patterns tend to blur the issue."