This book synthesizes for the first time ever the information from various Soviet archives (military, governmental, economic, public, etc.) about the creation and development of chemical weapons in the Soviet Union, and provides data about the wide-ranging and secret preparation of USSR for an offensive chemical warfare against a potential enemy.
Additionally, the book offers a general analysis about the influence of chemical warfare on the environment.
The book is intended for scientists, military experts, chemical and medical specialists, environmental activists and a wide range of readers with an interest in chemical warfare and chemical safety.
Russia is concluding the elimination of the stocks of one of the most
barbarous types of weapons of mass destruction -- chemical
weapons. The world will feel more at ease without the Soviet
chemical weapons, especially the citizens of Russia.
Only in 1987 were citizens informed of the existence of chemical weapons in
the Soviet Union. In parallel with the "probable enemy". And about the
biological weapons, too. The leaders of the country made the chemical and
biological weapons politically useless because of the 70-year concealment of
the fact of possession of these types of weapons: not having announced it to
the world, the authorities undermined its value as weapons of deterrence in
the "Cold War". What is more, the authorities never admitted the existence
in the Soviet Union of the huge and irresponsible chemical warfare complex
aimed at offensive chemical warfare.
Glasnost concerning the chemical weapons which arose in the Soviet Union at
the turn of 1980s -- 1990s actually has turned out pseudo-glasnost. The
official information about Soviet chemical weapons which the chemical
warfare complex and its establishment gave the public turned
out most often to be a half-truth or a lie. The information of the
intelligence services of the West was no more reliable. The country's
authorities actively rejected alternative points of view.
That is why we had to try to set forth a more realistic picture of the
events of Soviet chemical armament. We have been compelled also not only to
set forth a picture of the long-term and expensive preparation for offensive
chemical warfare, but also to make an analysis of the serious environmental
consequences of this hazardous activity. The first materials have been
After two major documents of the 20 century came to light -- the
"Protocol for the Prohibition of the Use in War of Asphyxiating, Poisonous
or Other Gases, and of Bacteriological Methods of Warfare" adopted in 1925
in Geneva and the "Convention on the Prohibition of the Development,
Production, Stockpiling and Use of the Chemical Weapons and on Their
Destruction" signed in Paris in 1993 -- the secrets of the past chemical
armament have lost any meaning. And something entirely different came to the
fore -- the social and ecological aspect of a Soviet offensive chemical
warfare which never occurred.
The Soviet chemical warfare enthusiasts always carefully avoided the
spotlight. However, the information that is currently available is
sufficient for an attempt to reconstruct the true history of how the Soviet
Union prepared for offensive chemical warfare. At the present time one can
rely on thousands of archival documents which describe all aspects of the
history of Soviet chemical armament between the two World Wars. First, this
means documents about the understanding of the business of chemical warfare
as a whole; about the creation of an integrated system of chemical attack;
about the formation and development of the chemical warfare infrastructure
(chemical warfare services, chemical troops, laboratories, institutes and
proving grounds). Second, there are many documents about the creation and
testing of different kinds of chemical warfare agents and chemical weapons
in general (ground forces, artillery, and aviation), the overall
requirements for them and other summarizing materials; about training for a
chemical offensive and waging offensive chemical warfare; about the creation
and operation of an industry geared for chemical attack; about the
stockpiling and handling of tons of chemical weapons. Finally, there are
many documents about the public healthand environmental aspects of the
problem of putting into circulation a wide variety of chemical warfare
agents, about Soviet the details of chemical warfare collaboration with
various countries and also about the intelligence and counter-intelligence
activity of Soviet authorities during preparations for chemical warfare.
So, we will examine real documents and other materials.
The goal of this book is to draw a picture of that senseless history.
Unfortunately, the large-scale preparation for offensive chemical warfare
proved ruinous for a country which was not as rich as it seemed. This is
evident. However, it is also important in our time to assess the
consequences of that preparation for a war that was absolutely unnecessary
for the our country's people and environment.
Professional chemist with a doctorate in chemical sciences. After graduating from Moscow State University in 1965, he worked at the Academy of Sciences of the USSR/Russia until his retirement.
In 1992, after co-authoring an article entitled «The Poisoned Policy» in Moscow News, he became one of the accused in a sensational case against «betrayers of state secrets» concerning chemical weapons. The case happily came to nothing.
In 1993, he founded and headed the Union for Chemical Safety that speaks out in defense of people and nature against chemical aggression perpetrated by the state. The Union is involved in studying and dealing with environmental consequences of the development and production of stockpiles of chemical, missile and biological weapons. The Union also deals with the damage to humans and the environment from the excessive use of such dangerous «chemicals» as pesticides, dioxins, heavy metals and other man-made contaminants.
L. A. Fedorov is the author of the first Russian monographs on such important environmental issues as dioxins (1993), chemical weapons (1995) and others.