Cheget (Russian: Чегет) is a "nuclear briefcase" (named after Mount Cheget in Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia) and a part of the automatic system for the command and control of Russia's Strategic Nuclear Forces (SNF) named Kazbek (Казбек, after Mount Kazbek).
The cheget was developed during Yuri Andropov's administration in the early 1980s. The suitcase was put into service just as Mikhail Gorbachev took office as General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in March 1985. It is connected to the special communications system code-named Kavkaz (Кавказ, named after the local name for the Caucasus region), which "supports communication between senior government officials while they are making the decision whether to use nuclear weapons, and in its own turn is plugged into Kazbek, which embraces all the individuals and agencies involved in command and control of the Strategic Nuclear Forces."
The Russian president has a cheget on hand at all times. It is usually assumed although not known with certainty that nuclear briefcases are also issued to the Minister of Defense and the Chief of the General Staff. The General Staff receives the signal and initiates the nuclear strike through the passing of authorization codes to missile silo launch complexes/ballistic missile submarines or by remotely launching individual land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles/submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
On January 25, 1995, in the Norwegian rocket incident, the cheget was activated in response to a misidentified Brant XII four-stage sounding rocket, launched by Norwegian and U.S. scientists; it was the only time a nuclear briefcase has been activated in preparation for an attack.
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