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 published.
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.
Lev Aleksandrovich Fedorov
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.