The fate of the nuclear missiles is the fate of the entire country. In the most difficult historical times, Russia was considered and still is considered the entire world because she had and has nuclear weapons. And the creation of missile complexes of strategic appointment “the poplar-M”, “YARS-M” missiles “Bulava” and “Boundary” is pushed, the danger of world war III for decades.
Their father, General designer of the Moscow Institute of thermal technology Yuri Solomonov.
The modest title of MIT hides a powerful structure of the military-industrial complex, which employs about 800 enterprises.
photo: Gennady Cherkasov
Nuclear weapons and the science isn’t everything Solomon. Since childhood, scientist has absolute ear for music and already in middle age began to write poetry (still one of the Soviet defense industry was not seen in the practice of versification).
How to combine the rocket, music, and poetry? What of all this in the end will save the world? And what is the “Solomonic solution” to the arms race? These questions gave us the answer Hero of labour of Russia, academician of RAS, laureate of state prize of the USSR, doctor of technical Sciences Yuri Solomonov.
“Cut away the “secret” and forward it by teletype in the US”
— Yuri S., all your life you were engaged in the development of nuclear weapons. You really thought you created the rockets will bring peace, not war?
— You’ve heard the biblical story about the spear of Longinus? This is the same spear that had pierced the body of crucified Christ. It was believed that it has magical powers and the possession of it gives right to dispose of the destinies of the people. The spear was sought by many, including Napoleon. Hitler got it — at his direction the spear was kept in a special hiding place in Nuremberg. But the defeat of Nazi Germany and Hitler himself, it is not saved. The spear was found by us General Patton in a time when the United States discovered the secret of nuclear weapons. Because Patton, brandishing a spear, prophesied terrible times in the nuclear age. But he was wrong. It is the possession to become a nuclear weapons holding back the outbreak of a third world war. With nuclear weapons as it is improving increasingly aware that they have responsibilities more than rights.
— Is it true that your father worked in the Ministry of defence, in fact, that and defined your whole way?
— He was responsible for line printing support. But the identity of the father has had the impact on me. He taught to take responsibility for everything that happens, he attracted me to the sport. Thanks to him I started swimming (in the pool “Moscow”) and tennis (even became a candidate master).
As in the missile troops?
— By accident. I was in the army, frankly, not very wanted, wanted to deal only with science. Finished the MAI (as the thesis has mounted a laser system for plasma diagnostics), and here the agenda… But to serve in the Kozelsk missile division, I immediately liked it. A month later received the title of master of missile troops (the commander of a regiment Grechukha was surprised at my knowledge). And at night, when it was possible, the soldiers read English novels.
Wow! How come?
— I had a good command of English, liked to read. And then read the novel by Harold Robbins (and there are so many conflicts about sex, and about the scandals), the boys were asked to tell about. In General, since I told them a few pages read at night in English and immediately translated. And the officers I lectured on those subjects that MAI studied.
After the army I came to MIT because they created rockets. At that time beginning to flourish the direction of production of solid rocket technology.
— While there, you received the title of laureate of the state prize of the USSR for what?
— I was awarded for one original work, to tell about which now I can not — top-secret topic. I can only say that we came up with a very unusual design decision.
— Do you remember that historic moment when for the first time the USSR and the USA exchanged secret developments in the field of missiles?
— Of course. On the negotiations in Washington reached an agreement, according to which we must give the Americans information about the medium-range missiles “pioneer”, which was on arms of our army. But it was quite unexpected.
Remember, the chief of staff called in Meath, asked to bring materials for the “Pioneer”. I brought, but refused to simply pass. The document had the highest security classification. I had no right to leave them to the head, even such a high level, if not designed properly: seal and signature in the registry of receipt. He thought for a long time, then everything is assured. And when I called secretchina with the words: “Cut the stamp “secret” on each page and send it by teletype in the US.” Then we all froze. And secrecy, as I thought, not just could not believe my ears, but was ready to faint.
“Father of the hydrogen bomb, we did not say goodbye,”
HELP “MK”: “In March 1983, the US said work on the Strategic defense initiative (SDI). It was aimed at the development of large-scale missile defense. In the case of a disrupted balance of strategic forces between the Soviet Union and America. The Soviet Union immediately began to develop a kind of “Antico”.
— You once spoke skeptically about the necessity of reaction on the creation of a new anti-missile system from the United States. Why?
– I officially declare that the weapons of our missiles can’t be created in America in the next quarter-century. Thought and theoretical physicists, including analysis of the prospects of development of the technology in the world. And people in the defense Ministry we were taught that the American missile defense system “Patriot” threat and we need to change the look of our missiles subject to this threat.
Then I reacted harshly, asked the representative of the General staff: “You have a model of functioning of a complex “Patriot”? When will you prove that it can intercept our missiles, then we will talk. So far, this is science-fantasy”. A few years later “operation desert Storm” in the middle East showed an extremely low efficiency of the “Patriot” even in relation to the legacy of Iraq’s missiles.
About the SDI program I can tell you a lot. I’ve been countering for almost 20 years. The funny thing is that in the end, even met with her ex-head of General Abrahams. It happened in San Francisco in the restaurant. The Russian side was more General Bolysov. And here’s a Russian song, “Where is birch SAP” peaceful and relaxed, talked two generals, the purpose of which for many years was the mutual destruction of the two great powers…
— What did you feel when you found out about the signing on 8 December 1987 between the USSR and the USA of the contract on destruction of rockets of small and average range? Isn’t that threatened the existence of MIT? Your scientific researches?
— It was possible to feel but joy?! America had missiles that power was superior to the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 50 times! And we had hundreds of such missiles aimed at the West.
I proposed the use of rockets for space exploration. With this idea came the Soviet-American Foundation, whose father on the American side was George Soros. In the end, I was offered a trip to the United States. I got permission to leave, breaking the barriers of the KGB and the Central Committee. This, incidentally, was my first travel abroad.
At one meeting where I was embarrassing. We sat in the restaurant, in the heart of Washington, spoke. While we are all the time brought new and new dishes. In the end, I, desiring to demonstrate knowledge of English, refused dessert saying, “I am fad up”. And I had to say “I am full”. That is, instead of “I am full” I said “I’m fed up with the chatter at the table”. The American side is very tense.
— Do not fear that you will suspect in the betrayal of our intelligence agencies?
I knew that the Fund was born not without their direct involvement and blessing.
— You have met in the United States with his father most powerful weapon — the hydrogen bomb — Edward teller. What did you think?
— He was part of the American group at one of our meetings. I immediately drew attention to it — the teller was the oldest of them all. Had difficulty walking (he had a massive stick, but it was also supported by the assistants). Terse, somewhat arrogant. For me, a great man needs a lifetime to prove what he’s capable of, and not rest on our laurels of the past, and with the leaders of the highest rank, I always talked without kowtowing.
As for teller, we must have talked with him. He asked me about missiles “Start”, which was supposed to make under the Treaty on space exploration. I gave him a fairly detailed answer. It was hard to tell what he was thinking. But I remember that he left without saying goodbye.
— The leaders gozansky Indians were more pleasant?
— It was in Canada. We arrived in the tiny town, most of the population was aboriginal. And we needed permission from the chiefs to use the land in the area for the launch of satellite launch “Start”. The climate there is harsh, but the people are kind and simple. But with the government of Canada we had some difficulties. The Minister of foreign Affairs of Canada unexpectedly announced that will not be able to participate in the meeting (it turned out that he had received prior to this an order from the US Department of state). I replied: “This is contrary to earlier agreements. In this case, and the Russian side will not participate in the meeting”. In the end the Minister came.
“Putin knows me well. I do it even better”
I know you spoke very sharply about the actions of the Soviet government in dashing 90-e…
— Sharpness I is unusual. But on issues relating to the security of the state, I can speak directly and firmly. What happened? Boris Yeltsin decided to reduce our strategic missile forces. And rocket, I remind you, the cheapest and most dangerous our weapons to foreign countries. It was planned to reduce the number of missiles by 60 percent by the year 2000. From 80 thousand missile 60 thousand was offered to fire. And this is the best, highly skilled professionals in the world!
And how you saved the nuclear shield of Russia? However, after failed once again to meet with President Boris Yeltsin appealed to him on television and he then tore up the decree about your rewarding?
— I really made a statement on television. Said that the development of “Topol-M” in jeopardy. But about the decree — whether he was at all? — do not say anything, because I don’t know.
What’s the hardest, I was worried — from the list of works for the next 5 years were excluded a whole class of weapons — complex mobile ground-based. I came to the chief of staff, said it was a fatal mistake. It’s not that I was against, just saying there is no money. I convinced him saying that nuclear forces are the guarantor of the security of the country, then we must find the means.
In General, the times were difficult. Was huge debt of the Ministry of defence for our products, which we have already set. Release of new products virtually not funded. To survive, we undertook the development, completely unrelated to rockets. Water purification, x-ray machines, monorail…
— The monorail is also your scientists have developed?
— Yes, it’s true. You know, for the first time about the idea of a monorail I heard from one interesting person when skiing in the mountains. I promised him to go to the then mayor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov, to tell about it. Luzhkov has supported.
— Yuri S., long wanted to ask you: what does a Creator of the rocket at the moment when its first run? In the same when there’s a countdown: “Three, two, one…”
— When it launched a “Topol-M”, for some reason I oppose this multi-ton giants that toss in the sky as a fire-breathing dragon. That is, I have it… But harder then a 25-minute wait after the start. You’re almost not breathing at this time. And here calling from the Kamchatka Peninsula and say, “this receipt to arrival of an object”. And although the words came casually, he immediately begins euphoria usually reserved people screaming, hugging.
— I can not ask about “Bulava”, which took off. Your fellow rocketeers believe that she herself is a work of genius from the point of view of design and it was in rubber, which is bought in China. Is it?!
— I believe that the “Bulava” — it’s aerobatics. But the plants at that time had no time for scientists. The failure of the launches of “Bulava” in the vast majority of cases was the result of a manufacturing defect. Lack of control, lack of skill people (when was the outflow of smart and professional people abroad).
— You never regretted what I wrote after our failures with the Bulava resignation from the post of head of MIT?
— It was a difficult decision, but, in my opinion, the only true. Relatives supported me.
— What is your relationship with Medvedev? He didn’t awarded you the title of Hero of Labor (Putin did in 2015).
— Absolutely normal. In the sense that no relationship. We have enclosed ourselves in subordination to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. However, Mr Medvedev and I spoke in Sochi, but the subject-private communication was not.
With Putin I meet regularly, including one-on-one. He knows me so well, I even better. (Laughs.)
— Recently, your status has been upgraded — you became the chief designer.
— Charlemagne, when the Pope put the crown on him and proclaimed Emperor, after Church, asked: “What have I gained? Neither possessions nor wealth. Why would I need all this?”
That’s my new status of additional power or something that could be interpreted as additional features. However nice.
— The President announced the re-establishment of the so-called cars of the missiles. I know that when the Perm was a station of these cars, but it was sold almost at the price of two-bedroom apartments.
— This is not so. No station has never been, was the point of a constant dislocation. And about the sale of this bike.
The work on creation of the complex on the basis of rail transport really is. Things are moving, and the challenge that is set before us by the President, of course we will handle it.
— There is a school Queen, and whether the school is Solomon?
School Queen is a myth. Just a matter of continue followers. Korolev lived and worked in a different country and a different environment. Just as in the United States implemented the project “Manhattan”, in the USSR for the project “Apollo-Soyuz” resources are allocated without restrictions. Now the situation has changed. But MIT is engaged in a large number of projects.
— Is it true that the Institute employs 1.5 million people?!
— We have several hundreds of enterprises, so family members, it will be millions. On the main missile plant in Votkinsk the average age of workers is 38 years. To do this, the plant’s management has done a lot.
— Foreigners working there?
— No. In our country, the missile area is excluded.
And by the way, today there’s nothing more we buy abroad. Absolute Russification. While this can be said not about the whole military complex — in the field of shipbuilding and aviation are far from that. But for strategic nuclear weapons we did.
“I can whistle any tune”
Quote: “Of all the great Soviet defense industry no one was seen in lessons of poetry and history. In poetry professionally versed, as I recall, only Lev Davidovich Landau. But he did not write poems… Working with Solomon for many years, I had no idea that the main rocket of the country — a real poet. He is talented in everything: he is talented in the missile systems we have today, the rockets beat the Americans for 10-12 years, and soon ahead of them forever. Yes, this is Yuri Semenovich and products of the Moscow Institute of thermal technology moved from Russia a third world war, although after the Crimea the third world seemed inevitable. I don’t know any scientist who would have now in Russia no less an authority than Solomon. And the same freedom — the inner freedom for the scientist it is absolutely necessary, — as freely, quickly, Solomon writes poetry.” The ex-President of RAS, academician Vladimir Fortov.
— Yury Semenovich, your identity is not classified, but you’re on your own a very private person? Otherwise, why never speak, not give interviews.
— I’m not closed, but I do have a fairly narrow social circle. On the street, in public places and I am rarely.
A number of reasons related to the sensitivity of the topic of development and creation of new types of weapons, I stopped giving interviews. So it is necessary. Before that there was a time when I was in the Federal Assembly and in the media.
— How did you come to poetry?
— I burst two years ago. Known pattern associated with human activities in related fields — music, poetry and foreign languages. It is proved that one who has a good ear for music, as a rule, well learns the language and feels poetic rhythm.
— About the fact that you speak several languages, heard. But here is the music?
— I have perfect pitch since birth. I loved to whistle and whistle any melody (and now continue, among other things, indulge in this!). When I was seven, I was walking down the street (lived in Dokuchaeva lane, near the Red Gate) and whistling “the heart of the beautiful…”. I was approached by a man: “Boy, where are you learned? And how do you know melody?” I told him that I love to listen to the radio and the gramophone. But it was the senior teacher of music school: “Waiting for you tomorrow.” I came, he asked me to whistle the “Odessa — my native city”. I did. He said: “All credited to the group”. But then music school was paid, and the money in the family, to put it mildly, is not enough… So I became a musician and learned to play any instrument.
10 years ago I picked up a guitar, learned the basic techniques. But time is short, and without training it’s all in vain.
But at least I have not played for hours listening to Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Scriabin… I Think it all has developed into a critical mass and exploded. I began to write poetry.
— You write not just poems, and poems on historical themes. Why not about the missiles?
The first poems were printed in the magazine “national defense”. But about the missiles in verse is not a word. I write about historical figures. Cyrus the Great, Cleopatra, Genghis Khan… is not easy. First studying all the available literature about them. I write in the morning, get up early — at 5 o’clock. Inspiration? It is always, do not leave never. I’m a man of the system, if that’s taken, then make to the end.
— How do you choose the characters?
— More emotional. Sometimes, I accidentally met somewhere the mention of historical figures (as with Cyrus the Great), became interested in the biography and wrote. Historically, my poems are all true and accurate. They can be as a tutorial to use. If someone is interested in the story, then it will be easier and easier to study her poems. I really want to describe the life story of Akhenaten and Nefertiti…
And so I am still not a professional poet.
— How are you writing the next Chapter of the poem, go to College and do science?
I always easily switch from one activity to another. I got to MIT there was always a lot of different directions, so I was able to quickly focus on the new task. Both halves of the brain work synchronously.
— Who first show your poems?
— The daughter. She also writes. I can’t write as good as she is. But she says she can’t like me.
— What is the favorite poem? Unable to read now?
— All poems favorite. Now write about Charlemagne, and I’ve been there, this time transported to the environment. I’m very impressionable, plus a good imagination. But your poems, with very few exceptions, you don’t remember. I write and release them immediately. What do you read? Maybe the ending of “Cleopatra”?
On a couch in Royal attire
With the Royal crown on the brow
Lay quietly Cleopatra
With a smile gentle on her face.
Went great Queen,
In the history of leaving a trail
And the memory of hundreds of generations
Kept it too many years.