This Assessment looks at Soviet research on Nuclear Winter to determine what the Soviet leaders think of the hypothesis, the extent to which they are exploiting the subject for propaganda purposes, and the most likely implications from Moscow’s perspective. It does not reach judgments about the scientific validity of the Nuclear Winter hypothesis. Mlost of the information on which this analysis is based is derived from the international scientific and diplomatic communities. This information is supplemented by foreign media reports. We also have debriefed a Soviet scientist who recently defected from the USSR and was knowledgeable of the capabilities of individuals and organizations involved in Soviet research in this field. From these sources, we believe that we have a relatively good understanding of Soviet Nuclear Winter research. We also know what Soviet leaders say publicly about Nuclear Winter. Their private, personal perceptions, however, are not known. We identify some possible military and political dilemmas, should Soviet leaders come to believe Nuclear Winter poses a serious danger, and note some possible indicators of increasing concern over possible adverse climatic consequences of nuclear war.
The Soviet Approach to Nuclear Winter, December 1984 [40 Pages, 15.1MB] – Highlighted New Information – Released March of 2019 after I filed a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) request for the document to be removed. Information no longer redacted from previously released version (see below) is highlighted.
The Soviet Approach to Nuclear Winter, December 1984 [31 Pages, 1.4MB] – Previously released version from July 2010.