The United Nations’ Arms Control and Disarmament Program

Ufa is the holy capital of the Russian Federation. It’s located on the bank of the Belaya (White) River near the Caucasian Mountains. It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that a major town was established here, and when it was, Ufa quickly became a significant political center for the region. During those times, it was the largest city in all of Russia, rivaled only by Moscow.


Until the 1917 revolution, Ufa was also one of the largest employers in the region, employing over a million people (many of them from the outside countries). The city was completely destroyed during the revolution, but rebuilt to an almost modern standard. Even today, there are villages that have barely scratch marks from the shelling during the Civil War. The most striking buildings in Ufa still stand today – two huge apartment complexes with gray roofs that seem to be perpetually coated with layers of plaster and mortar. If you look at them from the air, you’d think they were made out of green vinyl tiles.

In return for helping rebuild the once-vibrant city of Ufa, the United States offered to pay over one million rubles in return for a set of state of the art nuclear weapons. Of course, nothing came of it and the US got cold feet at the start of World War II. Nevertheless, in the late 1940s, the US signed a deal with the Russians to sell them nuclear weapons technology – including two-year contracts with their nuclear weapons programs.

At the time, the American companies working on these weapons projects had yet to build anything of substantial size. So the US offered to buy one million rubles in return for building two years of nuclear war facilities. And that was the extent of it. The deal was signed two years later and, despite all documentation, it’s obvious that the US was, indeed, bribing Russia to get this technology into the Russian Army. The fact that the technology was transferred to the Soviet Union is irrelevant; what does matter is whether or not the technology was transferred with the full knowledge and consent of your enemy.

It may seem unbelievable, but the reason that the American consortium agreed to extend the second contract was to avoid paying anything in return for the first year – and then use the money to buy Ufa nuclear weapons from the Chinese. That is how the story ends. The Chinese-built nuclear power plants, not Ufa, and the Americans still haven’t delivered the goods.

If the sale of Ufa to China was illegal, why did the Americans actually agree to such a deal? There are many theories, but the simplest answer is that the Russians keep them in reserve, ready to hand over technology if the need ever arises. This might explain why the extension of Ufa’s contract was signed two years after it was initially awarded. Some people believe that the extension was designed to make it look like the United States was backing off on its promise, but what can be done with a one-year contract?