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Is Russia's Doomsday Bomb Still Operational?

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin wall, we still don't know if Russia's doomsday weapon is still operational.  It's a bit of a worry, because the weapon, code name The Dead Hand, is 50,000 times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima:

As far as anyone knows, the Dead Hand remains operational. What is truly worrying, even today, is the secrecy that continues to surround the whole subject. Thompson has found that neither George Schultz nor former CIA director James Woolsey had heard of the Dead Hand system. Former Soviet era officials will still not discuss it. One who dared to talk died in mysterious circumstances. Such secrecy is, as Dr Strangelove realised, disastrous: ‘Yes, but the...whole point of the doomsday lost...if you keep it a secret! Why didn’t you tell the world, eh?’

The doomsday machine is supposed to be the ultimate deterrent. But if no one knows that the deterrent exists... Well, you've all seen the final scenes of Dr Strangelove.

Link - via markarayner

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by drtundra.

A deterrent that nobody knows of? Makes me kind of suspicious but then again the Soviets weren't exactly the type of folks who thought things out and the consequences of their actions.

Might I add: Fire ze missiles!
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The Dead Hand could have been FUD created by the Soviets to make the west fear them. Or it may have been FUD created by the west in order to make it's own people fear the soviet bloc and thus support their own government's war mongering. Either way it never existed.

The idea that the soviets had technology decades ago that the west still don't have today is frankly ridiculous.
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Like 4thirty said, it isn't a bomb, it is a system and a smart one, designed to let cooler heads prevail in times of crisis. In the event of nuclear attack, authority to launch is passed to whomever is on standby in the system. If Russia gets wiped out, they get vengeance.

In theory it could save a false alarm from causing a nuclear holocaust.
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Have you seen the state of Russia's entire military machine lately? Most of their planes are grounded for lack of maintenance and parts, the bulk of their fleet of surface ships and submarines are rusting in harbors or abandoned, scuttled or scrapped, and there's no reason to believe that this system, assuming that it ever existed, would be in any better shape.
Here's an example of what is now left of one of their bases:

Need I say more?
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Justin, at least you didn't find the definition Female Urinary Device. That might have given you even more uncertainty.
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As a Russian who actually knows about the crappy state of the government, the bureaucracy, and the lack of money, I find this panickiness about Russians having horrible weapons and evilly planning to use them someday hilarious.
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Eli, while I am happy you read Englishrussia, it is very funny blog sometimes, you cannot honestly get your facts from there. A bunch of old migs and T34s, I don't think the reason they are grounded is because of a lack of parts, it has something to do with them being 50 years old.
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