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SEALs Sub Strike: Operation Emerald Red
By S. Gunn
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 S. Gunn
All right reserved.
Safe House Apartment of Grigoriy Rostov
83 Pushkin Alley
Novosibirsk, Lower Siberia
Senior Captain Grigoriy Mikhailavich Rostov sat in the darkened apartment he used as a safe house and squinted at the thirteen-inch black-and-white TV screen that flickered with images broadcast by State Television. The program was Brimyah -- "Time," in English -- the major news program produced by Svet Rebvoste -- the World News Network. What he saw hardly pleased him. His country had fallen apart around his ears.
Rostov could no longer deny the obvious. His beloved USSR had collapsed; the highly vaunted Soviet Union had disintegrated into a collection of mutually antagonistic states. Each one claimed to represent the "True Rodina." Rostov could not believe that the Motherland had ever spawned such disobedient children. He drank heavily of his glass of tea -- the strong brew liberally laced with a generous portion of Kremlin one-hundred proof-vodka -- and leaned forward to turn up the sound. As he listened vaguely to a report that Russia now sought membership in NATO -- traditional enemy of his beloved country -- his memory ran back over the past to when the dissolution of his icon began.
It was June 12, in the summer of 1987. The American president, Ronald Reagan, had come to West Germany for a conference with Chancellor Kohl. On this particular day, Reagan went to the Berlin Wall, to make a speech to the German people and the people of the Western nations. Many were not aware that the speech could be easily received in Eastern Europe as well. Reagan opened his remarks with the usual polite acknowledgments of those to whom he spoke. Then, as Rostov saw it, he suddenly changed gears and spoke with an iron determination, laced with smug and condescending superiority.
"You see, like so many presidents before me, I come here today because wherever I go, whatever I do: Ich hab noch einer Koffer in Berlin." It meant: "I have a suitcase in Berlin." The applause, as Rostov remembered, had been a roar of approval. Reagan continued: "Behind me stands a OPERATION EMERALD RED 5 wall that encircles the free sectors of Europe. From the Baltic south those barriers cut across Germany in a gash of barbed wire, concrete dog runs, and guard towers . . . Yet, it is here in Berlin where the wall emerges most clearly. Here, cutting across your city, where the television screens have imprinted this brutal division of a continent upon the mind of the world."
As Grigoriy Rostov saw it, when Reagan reached the heart of his message, he made a chilling demand. "General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate! Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!"
There had been much more, but Rostov marked that moment in time as the start of the destruction of the political and military power of his homeland.
Tragedy also fed the fall of the USSR, Rostov had to admit. In April 1986, when the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded and sent radiation three times above normal levels into the atmosphere, the Soviet government denied that any accident had occurred. They claimed it to be an invention of the Western media intended to discredit and harm the Rodina. Seventeen days later Gorbachev appeared on Mir state television with the utterly surprising admission of what had happened. Things got worse, by Rostov's estimation, 6 SEALS SUB STRIKE in 1987 when "Gorby" declared in a speech that for their own internal progress, the USSR must be open to normalizing international relations.
That opened the floodgates, as Gorbachev gave the world two new slogans peristroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). Under increasing pressure, the Soviet premier was compelled to promote a market economy, including the right to possess private property. Religious freedom came next, and the avalanche grew.
Rostov's depression deepened as he recalled the terrible chain of events. In May 1989 the communist system was abolished in Hungary, and in East Germany the disturbances proved even more remarkable. Within a month after celebrating the fortieth anniversary as a socialist workers state, even with Gorbachev as honored guest, the Communist party in that country collapsed. On June 11, 1989, the walls began to tremble. Three days later Reagan's prediction came to pass and the first hole was made in the Berlin Wall. On that day, Rostov cursed as he did now, recalling the sorry spectacle of East Germans flocking into West Berlin. Nervous East German police stood by, helpless. Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the rest of Eastern Europe quickly followed, bringing an end to the Warsaw Pact nations.
When all was said and done, Rostov lamented bitterly, the revolution of 1989 meant a victory for the Western governments and its way of life. Former Senior Sergeant Vladimir Frolik, the senior NCO of Rostov's Spetznaz unit, applied the stout, case-hardened jaws of a bolt cutter to the chain securing the former Red Army arsenal doors. With a sharp pop! the link parted. Frolik looked nervously over his shoulder and spoke in an agitated whisper. "Are you certain we're safe doing this, Captain?"
Despite this being their first adventure into a bold raid on a military warehouse, Rostov answered, "Of course. Major Koznikov accepted the bribe I offered -- one large enough to keep the major and his entire maintenance unit silent. There were five thousand cases of Kalashnikov rifles in there, and our friend Saddam requires fifty cases to issue to new recruits to his army."
Frolik grunted and worked quickly to open the tall double doors. Once open, ex-Sergeant Pyotr Adamenko backed the truck into the gaping warehouse. Adamenko cut the ignition, and the engine of the Zil-135, ten-ton truck died. Rostov gave instructions to Frolik, along with Adamenko and fellow ex-sergeants Josef Dreshko and Konstantine Gorenko. Working as a well-coordinated team, they swiftly began to load cases of AK-47s. Cognizant of the value of incentive bonuses, Rostov then indicated a corner of the arsenal where individual units of AGS-17 Plamya, or flame, grenade launchers had been assembled and arranged on the concrete floor.
Excerpted from SEALs Sub Strike: Operation Emerald Red by S. Gunn Copyright © 2005 by S. Gunn.
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