How Russia developed their integrated circuits and microchips.

It was by stealing. And they do it to this very day. In the 1970s the Soviet government figured they were lagging to far behind the West in Computer technology with very little hope of ever catching up. So they abandoned the development of original computer designs and encouraged the pirating of Western systems. And this is recorded fact.

By continued cloning and research into Western tech they robbed Russia of the opportunity to develop new technology but helped the West in improving some of their products, including every day products we use today. When a Russian scientist ran away to the West (as they often did) he brought with him new research on products they had cloned or were in the process of cloning. And Americans or the British gladly integrated that research.

When Putin today says he has a new this and that, he is simply saying, “that technology we stole recently in 2004, well we finally have our own breakthrough in 2017! So don’t try that shit on us!”

In the Soviet era they cloned, pirated and reverse engineered western integrated circuits in facilities in East Germany, Ukraine, USSR, Czeckoslovakia, Hungary etcetera sometimes with major successes or disastrous results.

For instance, American intelligence agencies, having learned about Soviet piracy efforts, placed bugs in copied software which caused later, catastrophic failures in industrial systems. One such bug caused an explosion in a Siberian gas pipeline in 1982, after pump and valve settings were altered to produce pressures far beyond the tolerance of pipeline joints and welds. The explosion caused no casualties, but led to significant economic damage.

An interesting Washington Post article from 1985:

[SIZE=7]Soviet Radar Allegedly Stolen From U.S.[/SIZE]

By Michael Weisskopf
September 24, 1985
When the Carter administration decided against B1 bomber production in 1977, officials said the proposed aircraft would have difficulty surviving a bombing mission because of Soviet strides in developing a new airborne radar system.
As U.S. officials were making that rationale public, Soviet technicians were secretly poring over U.S. documents, adapting American technology for their feared “lookdown/shootdown” radar.

The fire-control radar of U.S. F18 jet fighters, whose design was contained in documents stolen by Moscow, served as the “technical basis” for the new Soviet radar’s ability to look down and spot invading, low-level bombers before they reach their target, according to an intelligence report released by the Pentagon last week.

Purloined documents pertaining to the F18, one of the most advanced U.S. combat jets, saved Soviet radar and aviation industries five years and 35 million rubles in developing countermeasures to the F18 and other U.S. aircraft, the report said.

The report cited the F18 case to dramatize dangers of a Soviet campaign to subsidize its defense industry, legally and illegally, with the cream of Western technology.
Based on unusually detailed accounts and rare Kremlin documents supplied to the French intelligence service by a KGB agent, the report contends that Soviet acquisition of tens of thousands of Western blueprints and weapons in recent years has benefited almost every Soviet military research project.

Moscow has used everything from sophisticated Western computers to cruise-missile documents to raise the technical levels of thousands of weapons and industrial processes, accelerate military research projects by years and initiate hundreds of new programs annually, the report said.
With sensitive microelectronics fabrication equipment smuggled from Japan, Europe and the United States, the Soviets have shortened the Western lead in that area from 10 years to four years, according to the report.

Most of the integrated circuits in Soviet strategic and tactical military systems are copies of Western microchips, the report said. A microprocessor adapted by Soviet technicians from an American component reportedly carries the equivalent U.S. part number to avoid confusion with other stolen items.
“Significant advances” in the Soviet microelectronics industry were achieved with help from Western businessmen who, in exchange for lucrative fees, falsified export licenses and established dummy firms to smuggle thousands of pieces of sophisticated components, including epitaxial reactors and diffusion furnaces, the report said.

Western documents, it said, helped the Soviets cut their research time by two years on a new generation of fuses for munitions with a large kill radius and self-aiming aviation cluster munitions.
The report describes a well-organized Soviet effort responsible for “massive diffusion” of Western technology. At the top is the Military Industrial Commission, known by the Russian acronym VPK. It consists of top defense industry executives who earmark funds for “collection” of specific items.
Soviet and East European intelligence agents netted about half of the 30,000 pieces of military hardware and one-fifth of the 400,000 technical documents targeted by the VPK between 1976 and 1980, improving “large numbers” of Soviet weapons, the report said.

It said the VPK, which targets items in their order of priority, focused in recent years on the IBM 370 computer, used as a model for the Soviet “Ryad” computer, on a cruise missile computer sought for its large-capacity digital memories, and on a U.S. Fairchild Instrument Corp./Xincom semiconductor memory tester.
The VPK’s program is a “Soviet success story,” said the report, which cited such significant leaks of Western technology as documents on ballistic-missile defense concepts, the U.S. Phoenix missile, U.S. Copperhead laser-guided artillery and millimeter radar.
Military hardware netted by the Soviets include infrared radiometers, fiber-optics systems, analyzers for submarine quieting and aircraft engine vibration control systems, according to the report.

From Russia Beyond the Headlines a Russian state owned Gazette. The agency that owns Russia Beyond also owns RT News.

[SIZE=7]Computers in the USSR: A story of missed opportunities[/SIZE]
SEPT 24 2014
BESM-6 control panel in the Computing and Automatization Laboratory. Joint Institute for Nuclear Research. Source: Boris Ushmaykin / RIA Novosti

The Soviet computer industry underwent rapid development until the beginning of the 1970s, when the government effectively curtailed innovation in this area. Some of this knowledge is still so valuable that it remains classified.

Immediately after World War II Stalin’s government began to recognize the need to achieve a technical breakthrough in industry and science as the burgeoning Cold War required the mobilization of the nation’s intellectual resources.

By the early 1950s the USSR had established a modern computer industry. However, by the beginning of the 1970s, the Soviet government decided to put a stop to these unique developments and resolved to pirate copies of Western systems instead. As a result, an entire industry’s progress was halted.

[SIZE=6]First steps: From the USSR to the future[/SIZE]

The first steps toward creating a small electronic computing machine (MESM) were made in 1948 in a secret laboratory in Feofaniya, near Kiev. The work was overseen by Sergei Lebedev, at the time Director of the Institute of Electrical Engineering.
He proposed, justified and implemented the principles of an electronic computing machine with a storage program. In 1953 Lebedev led a team that created the first large electronic computing machine, known as the BESM-1. It was assembled in Moscow at the Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering.
Before the Internet: TOP 11 Soviet PCs
Personal computers were produced by the Kiev Institute of Cybernetics in the 1960s in a series including the Mir-1, Mir-2 and Mir-3 computers. These were full-scale personal computers with all the necessary features, memory and the capability for use in industrial production facilities of the time.

The original computer systems in the USSR were not unified under a common standard, even within the confines of a single series. Modern computers could not “understand” their predecessors. The machines were incompatible based on criteria like digit capacity and peripherals. Because of a lack of unified standards and a misguided development strategy, the Soviet computer industry had begun to seriously lag behind by the beginning of the 1970s.

Andrey Ershov, one of the founders of computer technology in the Soviet Union, openly stated that if Viktor Glushkov had not ceased developing the Mir series, the world’s best personal computer would have been created in the USSR.

[SIZE=6]The fatal flaw: pirating IBM[/SIZE]

In 1969 Soviet authorities decided to terminate these developments and start creating computers on the basis of the IBM/360 platform. In other words, they decided to pirate Western systems. “This was the worst possible decision,” says Yury Revich, a historian and programmer. “The Soviet government and partly the builders themselves were to blame for the fact that the industry ceased to develop independently. Each group cooked in its own juices and the regime of secrecy made it easier for several technological solutions to be borrowed from Western scientific journals.”
In Revich’s opinion, this caused the Soviet computer industry to lag behind. By the time the USSR launched its first ES EVM mainframe in 1971, the U.S. had already transitioned to the next-generation IBM/370.
Anatole Klyosov: The original Soviet internet geek
“Developers had to perform a momentous amount of work – no less than they had to do to create computers from scratch – including translating the programs and much more,” Revich explains. “But the result was totally inadequate. World science lost a lot because of that decision.”
In the 1980s the computer industry stagnated. “I caught the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s when there were two or three types of computers in the country,” recalls Maxim Moshkov, the founder of, Russia’s first electronic library. “At work I had two boxes the size of an office desk, 1.5 meters tall, that handled ordinary wage calculations for employees.” He explained that the boxes contained 16 megabytes of RAM and were maintained by a 15-member team of programmers, administrators and technicians. “Foreign computers worked in a similar way,” Moshkov added.
Many masterminds behind Soviet computing moved abroad. Vladimir Pentkovski, who worked at the Lebedev Institute of Precision Mechanics and Computer Engineering, became the leading microprocessor developer at Intel and it was under his leadership that the company created the Pentium processor in 1993.
Pentkovski used knowledge acquired in the USSR to assist in Intel’s developments. By 1995, Intel had launched the more modern Pentium Pro processor, which in terms of its capabilities was close to the Russian El-90 microprocessor of 1990.

[SIZE=5]Russian supercomputers[/SIZE]
From 2007-2010, when the government started to actively finance the sciences after a 15-year hiatus, Russian and Belarusian scientists jointly created the SKIF supercomputer series (SKIF is the Russian acronym for SuperComputer Initiative Phoenix).
Another supercomputer, the AL-100, was launched in 2008. Its peak productivity reaches 14.3 Tflops. The AL-100 comprises 336 Intel Xeon 5355 processors and has 1,344 GB of RAM. The Lomonosov supercomputer was created in 2009.
This machine is made up of three types of computational nodes and processors with varying architectures. The supercomputer is used to solve resource-intensive computational science problems with the development of algorithms and software for powerful computing systems. Lomonosov is among the Top 500 most powerful supercomputers in the world.
[SIZE=5]Read more: State safeguards IT sector against foreign takeover>>>[/SIZE]

Espionage was and is still very common on both sides. It’s just that the USA is more covert about their excursions but scream like virgin girls (having it for the first time) when the favour is returned in kind.

@patco, until the lion tells the story, the hunter will always be the hero. Technology was stolen at both ends, that is what covert operatives do to this day, but only one side tells about it. The USA ironically has several of its technological advancements attributed to immigrants and in some cases defectors. Some Russian technology is superior or equal to that of the USA. The Chinese copied or emulated, the Israelis did the same, now both are in some areas technologically superior than the USA. How is it that everyone else “steals” and the USA does not?

but Russia has told her story numerous times. Hio article hapo juu ni ya Russia Beyond. Putin’s gazette version of RT News. Russia Beyond is a state owned gazette.

All these weapons you see being flaunted by mighty Russia ni modified versions of Western weaponry.

Where did Russia get microchips and powerful computers for conducting modern weapon research in the 1970s? Where?

By 1969 they had nothing. Zero inroads in computers. And you need powerful computers to store data in modern weapons research. The West was ten years ahead. They figured there was no time to start research. Wakaamua waibe.

That Russian newspaper admits it and it was indeed a terrible mistake in hindsight. In their panic they killed Russian research. Today they still have to wait for the West to act then they do something similar, or work around Western technology.

They lost the whole I.T. commercial market to the West because of that decision.

nimewachia hapo

Very true. Both sides play this espionage game but the soviets appear to do it alot more than others. American society is definitely a much more innovative society than the Russians ever were under communism. We now know in hindsight that communism is the worst form of government when it comes to innovation. So I guess for the soviets to keep up, they had to steal. They also stole the plans to the Atom Bomb. The Americans actually admired the soviets when it came to espionage for the very creative ways the soviets employed to this end.

Russians discuss this a lot even in their online forums.

For instance in one Russian version of Kenyatalk called ixbt:

A fellow going by the handle Felid in 2007 explained how they used to clone western microchips (translated to English) :

Felid (08.09.2007 17:24)

In short: yes, we shamelessly ripped off everything except for the MIPS R3000 which was licensed and produced as Л1876ВМ1 etc. running at 25Mhz (in reality <15) - officially licensed, with complete documentation for production. People tried to adapt it to Angstrem’s production line, but until 2003 processor could not reach 40Mhz (to which the original could be overclocked because it used 1.2 µm and Angstrem only had 2µm (and 1.5 metal layers). Still, for the aviation industry (airplane navigation) it seems they managed to make a 100Mhz version (works at 80) - was announced a couple months ago (see Angstrem’s site). Looks believable especially if you read this: . In reality this is the sole more or less modern design which exists now but it’s being squeezed dry.

Of our own single-chip microprocessors, not a single one reached mass production.

There were only two options: a full clone or an improved/reworked copy.

Т34ВМ1 is not a Z80 but a single-chip PDP-11 CMOS version LSI-11/23. After entering production, it got an added clock generator, simple power and interrupt controller, RAM selector and data bus multiplexer and got renamed into 1013ВМ1 - that’s what inside the microcomputers Электроника МК-85(М,С). By the way, one of the best designs and a really successful model. I could have been used to create an amazing machine for its time. But…

We had no clones of MС68xxx, except for 1843ВМ2(Integral’s copy of MC68C881) but I don’t know where it was used.

Regarding pipelines: the first time some kind of pipeline appeared was back in MOS 6502.

Among the strictly PC-range CPUs - in '86, where reading of the next instruction happened during execution of the current one.

So which pipeline was “first” is a tricky question.

1810вм89 is not a processor but the 8289 bus master.

[INDENT]When you copy layer-by-layer you don’t have to understand how it works. Important thing is to keep the scale(?) and to not scramble the order of layer shots[/INDENT]
This works only up to the '286. Once you get to 134000 transistors - while turns out that it can be copied (1847ВМ286, if you can imagine), to achieve more than one percent yield for such a chip was nearly impossible. And USSR ended by that time so it was easier to buy the ready-made ones. So it didn’t go anywhere. Here’s some reading for you: , and especially . After this the blind faith into the soviet/Russian electronics will fade by itself. Especially the bit about 580ВГ75 (CGA controller of the first PCs) and 1% yield after one year in production.

Regarding backdoors and self-destructing mechanisms - this ancient myth still doesn’t want to die.

There were no backdoors, it’s all paranoia. You can’t backdoor without it being visible undert microscope, and they would affect legitimate functions. Real cases of backdoors in IC chips were never discovered, but the myth lives on.

About the trinary Setun and the “ruined” advanced performance - read here:

added 08.09.2007 18:12:


Who and how copied:

At first the top-secret “boxes” and numbered no-name research institutes. Afterwards even students started being involved. In Leningrad, at least. With the obvious productivity and results.

Documentation and samples were acquired who knows where, but closer to 80s were received from the Soviet diplomats in the West via missions (not directly of course but under strict and constant control of you know who).

Some even managed to get documentation for photolithography machines. Well, and also subscriptions for western magazines like Scientific American.

As a rule, nothing was released until understood how it worked. About fixing errors I’m not sure but those that happened (tons…) were caused by production issues, since completely good and bugless chips did exist.

Western companies knew all about it but since USSR did not plan to complete in the same markets, kept their silence.

Although, I’ve heard this story about DEC experts who came to check if we really copied the PDP-11.

And reportedly said, “Fine, keep it up but don’t try to sell to the West”. Could be made-up though.

By the way, electronics for cars in USSR/Russia existed and exists: it’s called МСУАД(MSUAD): Micropocessor system for contolling the automobile engine Various controllers and stuff are being released for it.

Some observers say the likes of Felid wanaongeza chumvi sana when they describe the ease at which they could acquire Western blueprints and then interpret them back in the day. But it’s illustrative of the cloning going on at that time. And the USSR did have the financial resources needed for cloning exercises.
Numerous other blogs on the same topic exist online like this one by a Czech blogger:

The long and short of it is probably Russia could have lead the I.T. age had they kept to their research. Unfortunately research requires sharing and Communist Russia was and still remains mainly closed off.

Modern weapons research started way early in the Soviet Union. The knowledge of ICBMs partly helped the Soviets put the first satellite into orbit (the R-7 rocket). Plus first space walk. It would be a while before the US caught up with Explorer 1 rocket.

As if nikijua Russians ni wezi ushuru yangu itapungu nkt!!

and what’s wrong with cloning systems? even nowadays we still check other people’s work and clone [fork] to create copies, learn from it or improve on it. That’s what learning is about.

And the point of this is what? Thank you for filling up my head with unhelpful information

Hahaha, “but Russia has told her story numerous times”, nothing more to add.

Why is the West concerned about the S-400 for example, if its a modified version?


Hapo umeignore history kidogo. It was a Space Race and nuclear weapons race started from a position of who got the WW2 war booty or the spoils of war. What do I mean by that?

Actually if you want to go historical I would venture to say it all started with an American called Robert Goddard.

The Chinese had been using gun powder rockets and barutis (fireworks) in battle since as far back as the 10th century, but Goddard together with the likes of the German scientist Hermann Oberth, Frenchman Robert Esnault-Pelterie , and the Russian Konstantin Tsiolkovsky are considered the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics.

From Wikipedia Goddard is described as an American engineer , professor , physicist, and inventor who is credited with creating and building the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket . Goddard successfully launched his model on March 16, 1926, ushering in an era of space flight and innovation. He and his team launched 34 rockets between 1926 and 1941, achieving altitudes as high as 2.6 km (1.6 mi) and speeds as fast as 885 km/h (550 mph).

The Germans were watching all this with very keen interested more than anyone else at the time.

A secondary key figure would be Wernher von Braun of Germany. After the Nazis took power they were quite interested in rockets. Especially so after the allied bombings of German cities in WW2. The Nazis wanted vengeance.

And Wernher von Braun the young German scientist gave Hitler the Vergeltungswaffe 2 or “Retribution Weapon 2”. The V-2 Rocket.

It was the world’s first long-range guided ballistic missile and the first man-made object to travel into space by crossing the Kármán line with the vertical launch of MW 18014 on 20 June 1944.

20,000 Jewish concentration camp slaves died in its development but it’s capability attracted the world’s attention. Over 1300 V-2 rockets were launched towards the UK with over 2,700 casualties. France and Belgium were also targeted.

After the war and as expected the Russians and the Americans wanted that rocket.

Wernher von Braun prefered to surrender to the Americans and he took 1,600 of his team including their families to the U.S. in what was known as Operation Paper Clip.

Operation Paperclip - Wikipedia

The Russians were too late but they still bagged themselves 2,200 German specialists at gunpoint in 1946, although the U.S. had the creme de la creme. The russian operation was called Operation Osoaviakhim and those scientists birthed the R7 rocket while von Braun and his team developed the Explorer.

Operation Osoaviakhim - Wikipedia

And thus the Space Age/Space Race was born. From Prisoners of War or “Prisoners of Peace” as von Braun called his team.

Umeffi tupu. Unhelpful indeed.

Have you ever seen Americans or the West for that matter bragging about sijui a new missile that can do this or that like Putin? Never.

And they don’t need to because they are miles ahead. Even when America steals a piece of Russian weaponry ni kuangalia wamefika wapi sasa, ‘oooh kumbe bado wako 1994! Hii ni ile chip waliiba 2002. Bado hawajajua stealth technology?’

Russia plays catchup all the time. Now had they developed an I.T. infrastructure to rival the west rather than copy it…

Sputnik anyone?