Death in Focus: Music of nuclear explosions

In films he shot, there was no titles were just numbers. In the picture, you can never see the man was just a bomb - nuclear, thermonuclear, hydrogen. Operator Mahmoud Rafikov worked in a closed space of the closed film. His camera caught "the smile of death" forty times, "admired" ballistic missiles and nuclear submarines. Films classified as "top secret", the subscription of non-disclosure for four decades - all this has led to the fact that even the colleagues do not know these details of his biography. And only now, half a century later, 86-year-old Max (as he was called at nuclear test sites) agreed to share his memories
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Nuclear bombs necessary not only to blow up, but also to remove - this first thought in the Soviet Union in 1947. On the table lay a few Beria envelopes with questionnaires filmmakers Moscow film studio of popular movies. Applicants had no idea that participate in the casting - and yet in the summer of 1949, a group of filmmakers traveled to the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site for the filming of the first Soviet atomic bomb.

Mahmoud Muhamedzyanovich Rafikov got into this profession after 2 years. The "creative" trip for its first license picture, he went in 1951, immediately after the VGIK, where he learned to the operator. He was not thrilled with the choices made for him. Life to him "spoiled" two unfinished Aviation Institute - Ufa and Moscow. The operator, also versed in aviation, an order was sent 'to a closed topic. " Although he dreamed of making movies Mahmoud about the musicians and composers: VGIK he was famous musical abilities, and even sang in the choir of the Conservatoire.

 - The timing was such that no one argue - recalls Rafikov. - Just hyped case of doctors, and I was told firmly: "You have been taught for 15 years for free, so if you please to work for the state! Homeland knows where you belong! ».

We loaded our group at the Yaroslavl station in two trailer, hitched to a freight train. Destination - Kapustin Yar, the nuclear test site near Stalingrad. But we found out about this only when they arrived, and the whole way we had no idea where we were going. One hour after administration of someone at the window I said: "The second time Tarasovka pass. Revolves around Moscow. " Strained that such nonsense! Well, I think we need to relax, eat, listen to music. We had the first post-war radio "6-N-1." Catch the music, and suddenly hear "the enemy," the voice, "Today the train from Moscow sent kinogruppa the shooting secret trials associated with rocket." We were stunned! How can this be? We have also the coded trip! We did not say anything, did not have the right to say, and there is already all know!

At night we peretsepili another Tovarnik. And we finally moved somewhere. Only once in place, they appreciated their location, and the degree of secrecy. It was the economy Sergei Korolev. Here, the "compose" the first rocket ...

 - How do you get started? Remember the first shot?

 - There was serious work to prepare the rocket the P-1 and P-2. She did not want to fly. I could not even get off the ground. We filmed from different angles: the time of assembly, start - very detailed, carefully. Operators were five. When the rocket finally took off, our group split. One shot at the start, while others (including me) at the landing site. We guess that this is very dangerous, although they were close to the bunker, at a depth of 12-16 meters hid observers - generals. But they are under, and we - on the surface. We are focused on the black bar two kilometers, he daw a fat sticking out of the snow, and the circle is white. And it is very cold.

 - Coped with the task?

 - No. Rocket let us down, it reached 4 kilometers. The explosion somewhere in the back, behind our backs. And then came the scandal. The door opened bunker, left the general, followed the adjutant. One of our broke down and attacked them: "Here you are hiding, and if the rocket fell on our heads? What then?". The general shouted: "Remove the operators! Look! "I quickly responded," We sent Queens. Ask him before chasing. " After my cues they went into the bunker. Fairly froze, we waited for our fate. 15 minutes later came the adjutant, like circles, something intense thinking. Then he approached me and said quietly, so when I heard, "King said general it can be removed, and the operator - no." Very soon these missiles still teach regularly take off. And then began the next stage - working off the landing.

 - How do you remember the Queen? They say strict was afraid of him.

 - He was not only a leading designer, but really very strict, even rigid administrator. He submitted a great team. I think that for him there were no details. Every detail was important, because it was built a whole. Of course, all were afraid of him. But it's not a very precise definition. His word has always been so appropriate and right that has always been respected. Any desire to disobey disappeared immediately, itself - a. Korolev believed that if each step of the missiles shot on film, the work is still that failed. It is no accident that this secret organization appealed to the studio "Mosnauchfilm": all the methods of scientific kinoissledovaniya were concentrated here. And when Academician Igor Kurchatov, who was involved in bombs, aviation, too, needed a shot, the government again appealed to us. I have been claimed with a nuclear missile range - in Semipalatinsk. Fate as if specially provided me with the opportunity to see the birth of nuclear weapons from different angles, in all aspects.

 - You have worked in the mainstream of familiar tasks and gain new experiences?

 - Experience, of course, unique. It is here - and this could not happen again - I rode astride a bomb. Aviation garrison who served atomic tests, was in Jean-Semey, is 15 kilometers from Semipalatinsk. I was asked to remove the "stuffing" of the atomic bomb. And here I first saw so right, droplet. Young, bold, even desperate, for a spectacular shot, I climbed on top of the bomb. Well, she was without filling - though I did not know. When the stuffing brought up, I was shooting, it is placed in a drop-like "cover." Then prepared for the explosion of a bomb on the truck drove up to the very huge at the time the plane "TU-16". The procedure for suspending a payload "belly" the plane for me, as for each of the people working here - a real test for the usefulness of the psyche. Actors made fun of each other, trying to relax the tension. The bomb was from me at a distance of 10 meters. Filmed under the belly, I ran to the aircraft "Tu-4", from which it was necessary to shoot the explosion itself from a height of 5 kilometers. Oh, it was awkward to work! A tidy little windows, glass darkly. The aircraft dropped bombs from a height of 12 kilometers, and she flew in free fall for nearly a minute. Pilots know exactly when work charge and give a signal. Particularly nasty first stage of the explosion. Flash dazzles as if I brought a long lens to the sun. And look at this light is very dangerous. I shot long pieces with a tripod camera on the French «Debrie -L». Then he worked on this plane even two or three times, and in the end, I was given "his" air transport, specially trained. On my recommendation in the sidewall of the aircraft window 50 cut by 60 centimeters, climbed to three lenses.

 - From what distance you shoot?

 - The distance to the object depended on the power of the explosion, it was calculated the scientists. Prior to the explosion of the atomic bomb - from 3 to 5 kilometers to the hydrogen - all 25. Shooting from my window was very dangerous, because the plane had the effect of overturning of the shock wave, crawled into the right flank. Then, because the technique was different: optical peephole movie camera had foam rubber. About iron magnifier eyepiece face smashed into the blood, eye sat perpetual bruise. On the plane took off and the first vodorodku in 1953. We were ahead of the Americans, they realized how much power we have and "calmed down."

 - Your "film set" finally moved to heaven?

 - There was only one occasion when I was shooting from the ground. History gloomy. The nuclear warhead was standing on the tower. Prior to the explosion was 10, 9, 8 - seconds. At 6-second turns on the camera. And suddenly, instead of the powerful mushroom toadstool pops on a long stalk. It is worth all the smoke. We are at a loss. We arrived Kurchatov and the Chief of the Special Department Valentin P. Polyakov. They say: "We have the first refusal, the explosion did not happen." And ask (order in this situation it was not ethical) to fly up in a helicopter and take a steaming atomic bomb on all sides. Warned: "Keep in mind, it can explode at any moment. Who will fly? "The collective chorus looked in my direction, as the aviation shooting involved only me. I was then a man of non-family thing to lose ... I had to take an assistant to the camera reloaded COP -50B. The helicopter "Mi -4" We flew a distance of 50 meters over an unexploded bomb. His work was carried out in a circle panorama made on all sides. When asked the pilot to approach even closer, he matyugnulsya, they say, he has a family, children. This pilot was given the Hero of the Soviet Union. He suffered for me, summed to the battalion commander. He hugged me and said: "I would have also presented an award, but you are a civilian, I can not." Anyway.

 - Have you seen my films and photos?

 - That's just a shame that there is. The film was treated at the site in a small darkroom. And then scientists working with images. And I look at all requests, answered, "Do not put!" I tried to convince: "After all, I have to also analyze the results of their work, then I'll shoot better." They answered: "All is well filmed, better not." We had to humble ourselves. On the training ground no one had the right to ask additional questions. The basic material - color - processed in the laboratory near the Kiev railway station. But to us it is not allowed.

 - How often have you visited the bombings? In what circumstances you contain?

 - Within three months we were shooting 8-10 explosions. We were very well fed in the House of officers. Kurchatov scientists who occasionally visited, boarded in a private room, which gets through our room, but the serving was all the same: white linen tablecloths, nice glassware. Kurchatov once nearly slowed down next to me: "It's your call Mach (I still VGIK reduced to Mach)?" And then one night after a flight I came into the dining room, he comes and says, "When douzhinaete, go, please , to me". Kurchatov was incredibly intelligent man. In the room sat a man, seemingly simple tractor in a quilted jacket and canvas boots. Kurchatov asked me: 'Tell us what you have seen today from the heights? Just tell us in great detail "(it is forbidden to fly, it was impossible to take risks). He was interested in all color transitions, carrot color was after the explosion, or any other. I replied that I was basically Strontium. They looked at each other: "Yes we have there strontium was not!" I explained that dabbled in painting and that Strontium - a bright lemon. They laughed. Then I learned that the "tractor" took Nikolai Nikolaevich Semenov, Nobel, Lenin ... In general, many awards. Then this kind of offers, go to the room to Kurchatov, began to carry regular character. What caused my colleagues some envy. Very often I met there Zeldovich, Keldysh, Artsimovich ...

 - I heard that you shot the first nuclear submarine explosion on Novaya Zemlya ... What is particularly memorable?

 - Yes, I filmed in 1955. Scientists fear the effect of the tsunami, but then came to the conclusion that water - enough dense medium to protect the earth's crust. The explosion was beautiful and terrible feerichen. Giant mushrooms from the water, too, has been fixed by me from the plane. These and other works related to the fundamental period of nuclear weapons continued to 1960 inclusive. During this period, in 1958, I as a director-operator took descent and testing of the first nuclear submarine. New boat was tested on the surface and diving. And then I was not lucky when I spent shooting in the third nuclear-powered submarine leaked fuel, which I found out too late. On a serious protection while nobody thought. One and a half hours under a hot shower, the clothes in the fire - that's all ways of dealing with radiation. Very sorry that I had to burn the fur pants! It was good!

 - Without consequences?

 - The hospital offered a disability. When a young wife and to be disabled? No really! But the professor sent an order to the Director of the studio "Mosnauchfilm" Tikhonov "translate victim statement on a topic unrelated to radiation." So I went back to the missiles, to the Queen, and was in the city of Kuibyshev in the search group N1, fixed for "Gagarin».

 - Again in the historic best.

 - Yes, lucky again. The first phase of this project was terrible secret. Shortly before Gagarin's flight into space was abandoned so-called Ivan Ivanovich - Mannequin, who returned to the ground, but landed badly. Now we can openly say that the life of Gagarin's very risky. At the landing site could only be a person with experience and practice, understanding the degree of responsibility and privacy. The choice fell on me. I guess I was very lucky, I became the first operator in the world, whose lens Gagarin came immediately after landing, still tepid after space "shock." In my films the team then made a portrait of the Queen of psychophysical condition of the first cosmonaut. Important was every second.

 - Please tell us how it all happened.

 - Gagarin landed 15 minutes later he was taken to the garrison. I waited for him Atmosphere in a tiny room with a large table on which there were about thirty phones. It resulted in a blue suit, pale but smiling. With us, he will report to Brezhnev, who was then the Chairman of the Supreme Council. Paleness a few minutes passed. The room was dark. I was nervous, you know, what comes marriage. And then we were asked to move to another room, not for me, of course. We had to call Khrushchev, he was then in Adler, and with him it was possible to connect only for HF communication. We went to the office of commander. A huge curtained window. Open. Flooded light. Lots of light. It was a moment of my triumph! Gagarin forty minutes talking to Khrushchev. Smiled. Beamed. I was shooting, guided instruction Queen - large, long shots, so you can in detail to assess the condition of the astronaut. With these frames was then printed with a portrait of Gagarin handset, published in all the newspapers of the Soviet Union. Of course, without the author's name ...

I can now reveal a secret: Gagarin was thirsty, he for some reason bring lemonade, although in such cases the tea is much better. Then, when we were flying in an airplane, it was sick. The doctor decided that seasick. Wow, in space not seasick and vomited on the plane. I think it's lemonade guilty. Communicating with Gagarin, I shot a 180 meters of film. But when the screens released film "The First Flight to the Stars", it included only a small part, just meters 35. If today to return to this material (they are in the studio vaults of the Ministry of Defense), for sure, you can open a lot of interesting details. But, unfortunately, this film is no access until now, even I ...

 - On the other astronauts work it was easier?

 - I shot Nikolayev, Popovich, Bykovskiy, Tereshkova, Egorova, Komarov, Feoktistov, the Coastal. Movies related to space, a state commission to declassify gradually. With Vladimir Suvorov, we released the film "Space bridge" - with the staff who had to declassify even the king himself, literally, two weeks before his death.

 - Why did you leave the space theme?

 - I wanted to have time to realize his youthful dream, somehow closer to the music. He was happy when he participated in the creation of films about the First Ballet Competition, the Third Tchaikovsky Competition. Gilels, Bieshu, Atlanta, Plisetskaya, Rostropovich, Oistrakh ... This fullness of the other frame. Other state of mind. Other music.

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