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A description of the key features of the Soviet civil defense program and especially of those aspects that deal with defense against radioactive, chemical, and bacteriological agents. The reasons for the long-standing Soviet interest in civil defense are discussed, as well as the basic concepts of Soviet civil defense doctrine. Despite the fact that Soviet authorities appear to be losing interest in some types of urban shelters, and current Soviet propaganda is denying the value of civil defense, the author indicates that the Soviet Union still has an active civil defense program.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.