Operation RYAN: The Man Without a Face in an Elusive Program

During the early 80s, the world was again on the brink. The diplomatic relations between the East and the West were very unstable. There were a few factors. The Soviets believed the United States was going to start a nuclear attack. A personal element was present, too. Yury Andropov was haunted by the events in Hungary in the 1950s and how the once powerful Communist state began to crumble. Therefore, he justified operation RYAN, or Raketno Yadernoe Napadenie (Nuclear Missile Attack). The whole purpose of the operation was to collect intelligence to prevent a possible attack. In other words, the project was a sort of intelligence operation among the countries of the Iron Curtain, primarily the (former) Soviet Union and the German Democratic Republic as their close ally. The program was initiated in May 1981.

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