Simferopol Experiment: Russia Reported About America’s Failed Plans to Create a Biological Laboratory in Crimea

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


The US planned to open a biological laboratory in Simferopol, however the implementation of this scenario was prevented by the reunion of Crimea with Russia in 2014. Such a statement was made during a briefing by the head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare Anna Popova. In recent years the number of biological laboratories created in the post-Soviet space using the money of the Pentagon grows — now there are about 50. And, according to the available data, work on studying especially dangerous pathogens and fatal diseases are carried out there under the leadership of the American military. One of such laboratories (The Lugar center near Tbilisi) came under the spotlight in September 2018 when the former minister of State Security of Georgia Igor Giorgadze reported about the possible carrying out of experiments with people. However, since then neither he nor the Russian side have received a response from international organisations concerning the inquiries about the activity of this center.

The United States planned to create a biological laboratory in Crimea similar to the Lugar Center in Georgia, however the implementation of this scenario was prevented by the events of 2014 and the reunion of the peninsula with Russia. Such a statement was made during a briefing in Moscow by the head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare Anna Popova.

“Today in Ukraine there are 11 US laboratories, and they are modernised using the money of the Pentagon. The construction of such a laboratory was supposed to happen in Simferopol too. In 2014, after the accession of Crimea to Russia and formed a service on the peninsula, we found 104 ectoparasites pools, 46 samples of rodent internal organs, and 105 blood serum samples taken from people and prepared for shipment on the territory of a former Soviet anti-plague station”

said Popova, speaking in MIA “Russia Today” at a briefing on the topic of “Actual Threats to Biological Safety”.

“This anti-plague station stopped being a research and focal one, it became only a point for collecting material and sending it to Europe via grants”

noted the head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare

According to her, the biomaterial was fully prepared for shipment — only the reunion of the peninsula with the Russian Federation in March 2014 prevented the implementation of this project. Popova also focused on the fact that documents were stored in the same anti-plague station describing plans to open a laboratory similar to the center in the Georgian Alekseyevka (The Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research where experiments on people could take place) in Simferopol. Popova emphasised that the emergence of such an object in such a strategic point as Crimea would create additional very high biological risks for the entire region.

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As a reminder, in September 2018 the former Minister of State Security of Georgia Igor Giorgadze said that documents concerning the activity of the US laboratory near Tbilisi that he acquired can testify to the Americans carrying out experiences on people there.

In particular, according to the published documents, just in one day – on December 30th 2015 – 24 of 30 volunteers who passed through “experimental treatment for hepatitis C” according to the program of the Gilead company died in the center. It is noted that all 73 persons became the victims of tests for the preparation of the Sovaldi drug made by the American firm Gilead Sciences (one of the main shareholders of which is the former head of the Pentagon Donald Rumsfeld). I.e., after the death of 24 people in December 2015 the experiments continued, which led to the death of 49 more people.

The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation emphasised that such a number of fatal cases isn’t even recorded in infectious hospitals during large-scale epidemics. According to the defence department, laboratories of the Pentagon were placed in the Richard Lugar Center for Public Health Research that opened in 2011, which realise four projects for studying especially dangerous pathogens, including atypical plague, zoonotic poxvirus infections, and Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.

“These diseases can do irreparable harm to a person’s health. These are fatal infections”

stressed Popova at a briefing

The head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare added that in July 2018 a group of Russian school students during a vacation in the Georgian settlement of Mestia suffered from hemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS). Then the children were hospitalised and evacuated to Russia, where they completed a course of intensive therapy, including hemodialysis. Moreover, one of the school students is still at home recovering in connection with the severity of their condition.

At the same time, according to the Georgian Ministry of Health, if in previous years the number of cases of infection with Enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli were in the single digits, then just in nine months of 2018 the number of cases of HUS reached 57 (about a half of which were in Tbilisi). Russian scientists investigated the causative agent of the disease and found out that such a variant of bacteria wasn’t previously described and presented in the genetic bank.

“Yes, it is similar to the causative agent of the outbreak of 2011 in Europe, and I will remind that there were more than 4,000 victims and 50 dead… but this is not completely the same. Of course, this causes us to ask certain questions to which there are no answers today”

stated Popova

“Our experts don’t exclude the possibility of this strain being artificially modified”

she noted

The country as a testing ground

The head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare noted that in recent years in the post-Soviet space the number of biological laboratories constructed and modernised using the money of the Pentagon grows. This is about 11 laboratories in Ukraine, 10 objects in Georgia, the same quantity in Kazakhstan, 8 centers in Azerbaijan, 7 in Armenia, and 3 laboratories in Uzbekistan that conduct research with biologically dangerous pathogens. Moreover, at least a part of them were created and are financed within the framework of the Nunn–Lugar program, which is implemented in relation to Russia and the CIS countries, and which initially aimed to “jointly reduce the threat” from weapons of mass destruction.

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It is interesting that when laboratories are created and such research is carried out, the United States adheres to approximately the same algorithm of actions. The abolition of the national sanitary-epidemiologic service of the country is followed by the abandonment of vaccination (including for farm animals) against dangerous diseases, which leads to a growth in the number of cases and the emergence of a proposal to do experimental vaccinations of people.

Ukraine can serve as an example of such destruction of national control services in the field of sanitary-epidemiologic wellbeing and biological safety.

“Once upon a time a harmonious system that protected the health of the population against various biological threats worked in Ukraine. Today in Ukraine there is a measles epidemic, trouble with poliomyelitis, and an emergency situation with tuberculosis and diphtheria”

stated Popova

At the same time, the immunisation and vaccination coverage of the country’s population doesn’t exceed 40%, whereas it should be no less than 95%. Thus, according to official data of the Public Health Center of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, just in a week – from December 11th-18th – 2652 cases of measles were discovered in the country. In total since the beginning of year nearly 50,000 people (more than 31,000 children) fell sick in Ukraine, and from them 16 people died from measles complications.

At the end of November the Russian authorities strengthened sanitary-epidemiologic controls on the border with Ukraine because of the high number of cases of tuberculosis, whooping cough, poliomyelitis, flu, and other dangerous infections there.

Gene drive

The head of the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare noted that the Russian side is also concerned by the wild distribution of the Zika virus in recent years and the active studying by American experts of the latest developments of synthetic biology, including the “gene drive” – experiments with insects — carriers of diseases, allowing for the distribution of a specific set of genes across the entire population of a species.

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In addition, American experts developed technologies and registered a number of patents for special pilotless means for the delivery and distribution of blood-sucking insects. Because of the risks entailed, every year Russia holds large-scale preventive events to treat its territories against carriers of dangerous diseases.

Popova also said that the analysis of the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease in 2014 that was carried out by the Russian scientists in Africa showed two various trends of development of a virus’ genome — typical and atypical, which has an excessively sharp and considerable difference with this virus. And the outbreak of the disease was soon followed by the withdrawal of American military experts from Sierra Leone. However, the world community practically didn’t react to the publication of this data.

In this regard, it is noteworthy that the US still remains the only country in the world that hasn’t ratified the Convention on Biological Diversity.

“Thus, today we see activity all around the world and we observe a number of non-transparent stories that are connected to ensuring biological safety. Unfortunately, we haven’t yet received an adequate explanation and assessment from the US or the International organisations that hold closed meetings in connection with the publication of these or those documents (in particular, Igor Giorgadze’s documents), but take no measures”

stated Popova

Earlier, on December 19th, both the deputy head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Grigory Karasin and the former head of the State Security of Georgia stated that their is a lack of any explanations concerning the activity of the Lugar laboratory.

“Instead of any distinct answers to the questions asked by me, stupid accusations bordering on the falsification of facts, lies, and propaganda arrived. This was the first expected disappointment”

stated Giorgadze

According to him, he didn’t receive a response to his inquiry about the published documents from any of the 108 international organisations that he turned to concerning this question.

Thus, in the middle of November the head of the Georgian National Center for Disease Control Amiran Gamkrelidze stated that “international experts” carried out monitoring on the territory of the Lugar Center and didn’t find “anything illegal there”. We will note that Russian experts didn’t take part in these actions, since it was noted that the check was “prepared with the purpose of misleading the international community concerning the real status of this facility”.

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