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Over the course of hundreds of pages, Milton Leitenberg and Raymond A. Zilinskas document the cavernous gulf between those public statements and the scope of the Soviet BW program, which was easily "the largest and most sophisticated BW program the world has ever seen" 3. The early chapters of the book narrate what we know about BW during the first fifty years of the Soviet Union, including circumstantial evidence that smallpox variola had been weaponized before , yet over three-quarters of the book chronicle with astonishing texture the erection of the massive Soviet program, which ironically mostly happened after the signing of the BWC.

There are two reasons for the backloaded quality of this excellent study.

First, it is simply irrefutable that the greatest investment in personnel and resources in BW came in the s, so there is just more to describe. One of the many interesting arguments that populate this book attributes some of this mobilization to bottom-up pressure from molecular biologists who sought to prove the utility of their discipline in the wake of the hegemony of Trofim Lysenko from to , when Soviet scientists were largely locked out of the revolution in genetics.

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. An agreement was signed with the US and UK promising to end bio-weapons programs and convert BW facilities to benevolent purposes, but compliance with the agreement — and the fate of the former Soviet bio-agents and facilities — is still mostly undocumented.

Greatest Mysteries of the Cold War Soviet Top Secret Weapons

This occurred despite the fact that the USSR was a signatory to the Geneva Convention , which banned both chemical and biological weapons. The Leningrad Military academy began cultivating typhus in chicken embryos. Human experimentation occurred with typhus, glanders and melioidosis in the Solovetsky camp.

The Soviet Biological Weapons Program

Tularemia was allegedly used against German troops in near Stalingrad. However, the number of cases jumped to more than , in the year of the Stalingrad outbreak. German Panzer troops fell ill in such significant numbers during the late summer of that the German military campaign came to a temporary halt. German soldiers became ill with the rare pulmonary form of tularemia, which may indicate the use of an aerosol biological weapon the ordinary transmission pathway is through ticks and rodents.

According to Kenneth Alibek , the used tularemia weapon had been developed in the Kirov military facility. In the Soviet Union, the outbreak at Stalingrad was described as a natural outbreak. Crops were left in the field during the German offensive and the rodent population swelled, putting many inhabitants into contact with infected rodents. It was also noted that before the war, there was a so-called "threshing tularemia", caused by people inhaling infected dusts soiled by rodents while threshing grain.

At the conclusion of the war, Soviet troops invading Manchuria captured many Unit Japanese scientists and learned of their extensive human experimentation through captured documents and prisoner interrogations. The first smallpox weapons factory in the Soviet Union was established in in the city of Zagorsk , close to Moscow.


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  • Mysteries of the Soviet Biological Weapons Program?

An especially virulent strain codenamed India or India-1 was brought from India in by a special Soviet medical team that was sent to India to help eradicate the virus. The pathogen was manufactured and stockpiled in large quantities throughout the s and s. Biopreparat pursued offensive research, development, and production of biological agents under the guise of legitimate civil biotechnology research.

It conducted its clandestine activities at 52 sites and employed over 50, people. Annualized production capacity for weaponized smallpox, rabies, and typhus, for example, was 90 to tons.

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A production line to manufacture smallpox on an industrial scale was launched in the Vector Institute in Sergei Netyosov in the mids, according to Kenneth Alibek. It has been reported that Russia made smallpox available to Iraq in the beginning of the s. The Soviet Union continued the development and mass production of offensive biological weapons, despite having signed the BWC. In the s, the Soviet Ministry of Agriculture successfully developed variants of foot-and-mouth disease and rinderpest against cows, African swine fever for pigs, and psittacosis to kill chicken.

These agents were prepared to be sprayed down from tanks attached to airplanes over hundreds of miles. The secret program was code-named "Ecology".

The Soviet Biological Weapons Program: A History | Foreign Affairs

In the s, the President of the Russian Federation , Boris Yeltsin , admitted to an offensive bio-weapons program as well as to the true nature of the Sverdlovsk biological weapons accident of , which had resulted in the deaths of at least 64 people. Compliance with the agreement, as well as the fate of the former Soviet bio-agents and facilities, is still mostly undocumented. Yeltsin acknowledged the existence of an illegal BW program in the former Soviet Union and ordered it to be dissolved.

His decree was, however, not obeyed. At least one of the pilots was a Russian Foreign Intelligence Service officer".

The program reportedly includes institutes of the Russian Academy of Sciences from Pushchino [4]. An outbreak of weaponized smallpox occurred during testing in General Professor Peter Burgasov, former Chief Sanitary Physician of the Soviet Army , and a senior researcher within the program of biological weapons described this incident:.

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Spores of weaponized anthrax were accidentally released from a military facility near the city of Sverdlovsk in The death toll was at least , but no one knows the exact number, because all hospital records and other evidence were destroyed by the KGB , according to former Biopreparat deputy director Kenneth Alibek. The Soviet Union reportedly had a large biological weapons program enhancing the usefulness of the Marburg virus.

The development was conducted in Vector Institute under the leadership of Dr.