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Union of Soviet Socialist Republics · Soviet Union

Like the USA, the former Soviet Union (USSR) has a long cryptographic history. Over the years, the union produced a wide range of cipher machines that were used by the Russians themselves and by their allies of the former Warsaw Pact states, such as the DDR, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria.

Unfortunately though, not much is known about the cipher machines made in the former Soviet Union, as most of them were produced in the heat of the Cold War, when East and West were separated by the tightly closed Iron Curtain.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union a few years later, most machines were withdrawn by the Russians and have subsequently been destroyed. Only very few machines have escaped the sledge hammer, some of which are covered on this website. For equipment used in the post-Soviet era, check out our page about Russian cipher equipment.

 Russia (post-Soviet era)

USSR cipher machines on this website
Russian copy of the Hagelin B-221
M-125 (Fialka) wheel-based cipher machine
M-105 AGAT
M-130 (Korall) meteorologic cipher machine
T-204 (Wolna) telegraphy encryptor
T-205 (Wecha) telegraphy encryptor
T-206 MT, 3MT, 3, 3M and 3M1 solid-state telegraphy encryptor
T-219 (Yachta) voice scrambler
Moscow=Washington Hotline
Related equipment
Test and alignment set for T-217 (Elbrus) and T-219/T-817 (Yachta) voice scramblers
Known USSR cipher machines
  1. The prefix 'M' denotes an offline cipher machine.
  2. The prefix 'T' denotes an online cipher machine.

K-37 Crystal
Shortly before WWII, the Russians bought a couple of Hagelin B-211 machines and copied the design. The machine became known as K-37 (Crystal) and was modified for the Cyrillic (Russian) alphabet, providing 30 characters rather than the standard 25.

There are currently no known surviving K-37 machines, although a photograph of one was published in the memoires of Boris Hagelin.

 More information

M-125 Fialka
The M-125 (codename: Fialka) was one of the most beautiful and compact electro-mechanical cipher machines produced by the USSR during the Cold War. It was used by most Warsaw Pact countries, including Russia itself.

It has a built-in printer, paper puncher, paper tape reader and a 10-wheel cipher machine with irregular wheel stepping.

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M-105 Agat
The M-105 (AGAT) was an off-line cipher machine developed in the USSR in the mid-1960s and used by all countries of the Warsaw Pact. The machine uses a wide 11-level punched paper tape as the key.

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M-130 Koralle
The M-130 (codename: Koralle) was used for the encrypted distribution of weather reports between the former Warsaw Pact countries. It was intended to be used in case a war broke out between East and West.

As the weather reports were further distributed via other cipher machines, the enemy could exploit them as a possible crib. For that reason, the meteorological data had to be encrypted.

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At the height of the Cold War, the Americans and the Russians installed a Direct Communication Link (DCL) between Washington and Moscow. It allowed direct exchange of teleprinter messages between the two nations.

The DCL became known as the Washington-Moscow Hotline, or Hotline for short.

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T-219 Yachta
The T-219 (codename: Yachta, Яхта) was a voice scrambler, used by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. In consists of a remote control unit and a main scrambler unit, and was commonly installed in the radio shelter of a GAZ-66 truck, as part of the R-142 radio set.

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  1. Encryption machines of the USSR 1931-1991 (Russian)
    Prizma Blog 18 November 2020. Visited 12 March 2022.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Wednesday 03 August 2011. Last changed: Wednesday, 10 April 2024 - 07:44 CET.
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