15
Apr
2005
Politique étrangère Articles from Politique Etrangère

Biological Weapons: Soviet Lessons, Russian Realities Brad Roberts, Politique étrangère, 1/2005, (Spring).

Buy the article on CAIRN websiteAbstract

The scope, sophistication, and ambition of the biological weapons programs of the Soviet Union were dramatic. Yet they were largely unknown outside secret circles in Moscow. In the early 1990s, Russian President Boris Yeltsin revealed the existence of these Soviet-vintage programs -and acknowledged his lack of success in closing them down. This experience is rich in lessons for Western security specialists. It is a reminder of the sometimes significant gap between perceptions and reality with regard to secret military programs. It illustrates the potential military utility of biological weapons as well as the potential impact of biotechnology on the BW threat. This experience also illustrates the limited success of arms control in dealing with especially willful violators. Russia's current biological warfare activities remain a subject of concern. Brad Roberts is member of the Research Team at the Institute for Defense Analysis in Alexandria, (Virginia, United States). He is also Assistant Teacher at the George Washington University and President of the Research Advisory Commitee of the Chemical and Biological Arms Control Institute.