In simply one day, the suggestions have been pouring in for Russia's new atomic weapon: “Kraken” for a new underwater drone capable of blasting coastlines with a nuclear device. “Balalaika” for a futuristic nuclear-powered cruise missile capable of circling the globe.

Russians are raining the defence ministry with ideas, enjoying the online contest announced by President Vladimir Putin in his state of the nation address on Thursday.

Many of the entries on Friday reflected a certain wry dark humour. Someone suggested calling the missile ” Sanction”, an apparent reference to western economic sanctions against Russia for its support of separatists in Ukraine.

Another proposed calling it “Thaw”, adding in a note of irony that it would finally help warm the ties between Russia and the US.

The kraken- a fictional gigantic Arctic sea monster- seemed to reflect the nature of the nuclear-powered drone intended to sneak close to the shore unnoticed and slam a heavy nuclear warhead into the coast.

And naming the stealth atomic-powered cruise missile after a Russian folk music instrument tapped into a long Russian tradition of giving innocuous names to some of the deadliest weapons.

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There were quite a few four-letter entries as well. Many others were driving in patriotic impressions, suggesting the weapons be named after legendary Russian warriors, or Putin himself.

The regional leader of the province of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, proposed calling the nuclear-powered cruise missile ” Palmyra”, after the historic heritage site in Syria that was taken back from Islamic State under Russian air cover. The site suffered extensive damage in the fighting.” The missile's name should honour our guys who perished in Syria ,” Kadyrov said.” The Russian victory in Palmyra marked a turning point in their efforts to combat[ Isis ].”

Russian diplomats have sought to spread the contest beyond Russia's perimeters, with the Russian embassy in Washington tweeting a link to the defence ministry's website.

Speaking on Friday at a public forum in Kaliningrad, Putin again boasted about the new weapons, saying the still-anonymous underwater drone, the nuclear-powered cruise missile and the intercontinental hypersonic strike vehicle called Avangard bordered on science fiction.

He said the underwater drone” goes faster than any surface ship that exists today, I wouldn't even tell you the speed, it's incredible “.

The hypersonic vehicle” flies at a velocity 20 periods the speed of sound … and it can manoeuvre thousands of kilometres up and down and right to left ,” Putin told, gesticulating.” It's like science fiction .”

He said the Avangard's development had become possible thanks to the creation of new materials.” We have been working on them for quite a long time ,” he said.” Other countries also “ve tried” but, apparently, so far have failed to stimulate them, and we succeeded thanks to new materials .”

As the weapon name tournament went on, Russian officials and lawmakers insisted Putin's speech wasn't an announcement of a new limbs race but a warning to Washington to treat Russia as an equal.

” Russia has no intention of enter an limbs race ,” Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday, adding that the weapons aimed to maintain a” strategic parity, which is essential for maintaining peace and stability “.

The Pentagon on Thursday rejected Putin's statements, telling America's missile defences were ready to protect the nation but were not directed at Russia.

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