Onproliferation


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J
AMES
 M
ARTIN
 C
ENTER
 
FOR
N
ONPROLIFERATION
 S
TUDIES
CNS OCCASIONAL PAPER NO. 18
S
TORIES
 
OF
 
THE
 
S
OVIET
 A
NTI
-P
LAGUE
 S
YSTEM
Edited by
Casey W. Mahoney, 
James W. Toppin, and 
Raymond A. Zilinskas

J
ames
 m
artin
 C
enter
 
for
 n
onproliferation
 s
tudies
cns.miis.edu
The James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) strives to combat the spread of  weapons of  mass 
destruction by training the next generation of  nonproliferation specialists and disseminating timely information and 
analysis. CNS at the Monterey Institute of  International Studies is the largest nongovernmental organization in the 
United States devoted exclusively to research and training on nonproliferation issues.
t
he
 m
onterey
 i
nstitute
 
of
 i
nternational
 s
tudies
www.miis.edu
The Monterey Institute of  International Studies, a graduate school of  Middlebury College, provides international 
professional education in areas of  critical importance to a rapidly changing global community, including international 
policy and management, translation and interpretation, language teaching, sustainable development, and non-
proliferation.  We  prepare  students  from  all  over  the  world  to  make  a  meaningful  impact  in  their  chosen  fields 
through degree programs characterized by immersive and collaborative learning, and opportunities to acquire and 
apply practical professional skills. Our students are emerging leaders capable of  bridging cultural, organizational, and 
language divides to produce sustainable, equitable solutions to a variety of  global challenges. 
James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies
Monterey Institute of  International Studies
460 Pierce St., Monterey, CA 93940, USA
Tel: +1 (831) 647-4154
Fax: +1 (831) 647-3519
Partial funding support to realize this occasional paper has been provided by the Nuclear Threat Initiative.
 
The views, assessments, judgments, and conclusions stated in the editors’ commentary in this paper are the sole representations of  the 
editors and do not necessarily represent either the official position or policy or bear the endorsement of  the James Martin Center for 
Nonproliferation Studies, the Monterey Institute of  International Studies, the President and Trustees of  Middlebury College, the US 
Department  of   Energy,  US  Department  of   Defense,  Oak  Ridge Institute for  Science and  and  Education,  Oak  Ridge Associated 
Universities, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, or Battelle Memorial Institute.
ISBN #978-0-9892361-3-3
© Monterey Institute of  International Studies, August 2013
Cover image: Russian biohazard sign, “Caution! Toxic Agent”
Back cover image: Old fashioned, reusable Soviet-era syringe “Record”

 
 
 
 
S
TORIES OF THE 
S
OVIET 
A
NTI
-P
LAGUE 
S
YSTEM
 
 
 
 
C
ASEY 
W.
 
M
AHONEY
,
 
J
AMES 
W.
 
T
OPPIN
,
 
 
AND 
R
AYMOND 
A.
 
Z
ILINSKAS
,
 
E
DITORS
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
J
AMES 
M
ARTIN 
C
ENTER FOR 
N
ONPROLIFERATION 
S
TUDIES
 

- 1 -                                               
August 2013
T
able
 
of
 C
onTenTs
                                
Translator’s Notes   
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                 iii 
 
Writing Russian words and names in English
 
Structure of  Russian names
Introduction                          
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
          v
Part I: M.I. Levi’s Interesting Stories...   
 
 
 
 
 
 
          1
 
Volume 1 (1994)  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
          1
 
Volume 2 (1994)  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
          7
 
Volume 3 (1994) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        16
 
Volume 4 (1996) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        33
 
Volume 5 (1997) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        50
 
Volume 6 (1997) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        79
 
Volume 7 (1998) 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
        97
 Volume 

(1998)          
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
116
 Volume 

(1999)          
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
143
 Volume 
10 
(2000) 
         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
165
 Volume 
11 
(2001) 
         
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
172
 Volume 
12, 
Issue 

(2002) 
        
 
 
 
 
 
 
179
 Volume 
12, 
Issue 

(2002) 
        
 
 
 
 
 
 
197
Part II: The Anti-Plague System in Russia and Western Media   
 
                   213
 
The Plague 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                   213
 
Bioterror: Who Will Protect Russia?   
 
 
 
 
 
       221
 
Soviet Germ Factories Pose New Threat: 
 
Once Mined for Pathogens in Bioweapons Program, Labs Lack Security 
 
        228
Part III: Biographies of  P.N. Burgasov and I.V. Domaradsky    
 
                   233
 
Petr Nikolaevich Burgasov (On the occasion of  his 85th birthday) 
 
                   233
 
Igor Valerianovich Domaradsky (On the occasion of  his 75th birthday) 
 
       235
Part IV: Concluding Remarks by the Editors 
 
 
 
 
 
       237
Appendix 1: Understanding Natural Disease Foci  
                                                       245
Appendix 2: Acronyms 
 
 
                                                                                             248
Appendix 3: Glossary of  Biotechnical and Russian Terms and Names                                 250
Appendix 4: Complete Table of  Contents of  Levi’s Interesting Stories                                 259

- ii -                                     
Stories of  the Soviet Anti-Plague System

- iii -                                               
August 2013
T
ranslaTor

s
 n
oTes
Writing Russian words and names in English
The Russian alphabet is much different from the alphabets used for English and many other European 
languages. In Russian, each written letter has a consistent or easily predictable sound. By contrast, in 
English the “f ” sound, for example, also can be written as “ph” or “gh.” Russian, however, does have 
some silent letters.
There are many different systems for converting Russian spellings of  names, etc. into English. Some 
systems leave out the Russian silent letters, resulting in a simpler and more phonetic English version, 
which can be a very important advantage for non-Russian readers. Other systems (such as those used for 
library cataloguing) may include all silent letters so that names can be converted readily from Russian to 
English or vice versa by computers, but these longer versions can be more challenging for readers.
As a further complication, the different European languages that use the Roman alphabet spell 
Russian names differently according to the sound systems of  those languages. For example, the names 
Chekhov and Tchaikovsky both start with the same Russian letter “
Ч”, but the “Tch” reflects how the 
sound would be written in French versus “Ch” in English.
For these and other reasons, there may be several different English spellings of  the same Russian name. 
The composer
 Чайковский, for instance, could be spelled Tchaikovsky, Chaikovsky, Tchaykovskyy, 
Tschaikovskii, etc., although in most cases one spelling is predominant. Essentially, we follow the 
system used by the US Board on Geographic Names, but with a few simplifications for readability. For 
example, we use a single “y” in situations where strict adherence to the system would give “yy” (e.g., 
we use “Domaradsky” instead of  “Domaradskyy”). Fortunately, search engines seem to do a good 
job of  recognizing these variations, so the search results based on one version of  a name will usually 
suggest common alternative spellings.
 
Structure of  Russian names
Russian names have three parts: first name, patronymic, last name. The patronymic is derived from 
the father’s name, so Ivan Petrovich Kuznetsov is the son of  Petr Denisovich Kuznetsov (who is the 
son of  Denis, and so on). All of  Ivan’s brothers would have the same patronymic and last name, for 
example Aleksandr Petrovich Kuznetsov, Yury Petrovich Kuznetsov, etc. (Note: these names are given 
as examples only and are not intended to refer to actual people). Ivan’s sisters would have a slight 
variation of  this patronymic and last name reflecting the gender construction used in Russian, so they 
would be Irina Petrovna Kuznetsova, Nataliya Petrovna Kuznetsova, etc.
For a married Russian couple, if  the woman takes the husband’s last name, her last name will reflect 
this gender variation. For example, Mr. Popov’s wife will have the last name Popova, Mr. Lensky’s 
wife’s name will be Mrs. Lenskaya. However their patronymics will be different (unless their fathers 

- iv -                                     
Stories of  the Soviet Anti-Plague System
happened have the same first name). Some last names, such as those ending in -enko, are invariable, so 
will be the same for male and female.
In formal situations, it is common to address or refer to a person using the first name and patronymic, 
rather than using the English equivalent of  Ms. Lastname or Mr. Lastname.

- v -                                               
August 2013
I
nTroduCTIon
Throughout the twentieth century, the 2nd 
Directorate of  the USSR Ministry of  Health 
(MOH) directed a wide-ranging “anti-plague 
system” with the main objective of  protecting 
the country from endemic and imported dread 
diseases such as plague, anthrax, tularemia, 
Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, and others 
with either a natural or laboratory-based 
etiology. In addition, it had an important, three-
phased role in the Soviet Union’s offensive 
biological warfare (BW) program: to provide 
training to the BW program’s scientific workers 
on biosafety practices; to submit cultures of  
especially virulent pathogens to that program’s 
research and development institutions; and, 
in some instances, weaponize some bacterial 
species. 
Because the Soviet Union considered 
information about endemic infectious disease—
as well as BW-related activity—to be state secrets, 
hardly any outsiders knew about the anti-plague 
(AP) system’s work and accomplishments. For 
various reasons noted below, with the exception 
of  a few states with their own plague experts, 
the Soviet AP system was unknown to Western 
nations. In fact, our research of  the Western literature found just a single publication in 2002 about the 
AP system in a Western newspaper (by the Washington Post’s Joby Warrick; see Part II) and no academic 
publication prior to 2006, when investigators at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies 
(CNS) published five separate but connected articles in the journal Critical Reviews in Microbiology.
i
 
After the USSR dissolved in December 1991, the AP system fragmented, and its institutes and 
stations located outside of  Russia became part of  the health systems of  the newly independent states. 
Problematically, however, Russia stopped funding the AP scientists and auxiliary personnel in those 
states, which offered only insufficient funding for these programs. The results were predictable; to this 
day, AP scientists and technicians are trying to eke out a living on starvation wages, and the physical 
i
   Sonia Ben Ouagrham-Gormley, Alexander Melikishvili, and Raymond A. Zilinskas, “An Introduction,” Critical 
Reviews of  Microbiology 32(1) (2006), 


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