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Biowarrior: Inside the Soviet/Russian Biological War Machine
     

Biowarrior: Inside the Soviet/Russian Biological War Machine

by Igor V. Domaradskij, Wendy Orent
 

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This extraordinary memoir by a leading Russian scientist who worked for decades at the nerve center of the top-secret "Biopreparat" offers a chilling look into the biological weapons program of the former Soviet Union, vestiges of which still exist today in the Russian Federal Republic. Igor Domaradskij calls himself an "inconvenient man": a dedicated scientist

Overview

This extraordinary memoir by a leading Russian scientist who worked for decades at the nerve center of the top-secret "Biopreparat" offers a chilling look into the biological weapons program of the former Soviet Union, vestiges of which still exist today in the Russian Federal Republic. Igor Domaradskij calls himself an "inconvenient man": a dedicated scientist but a nonconformist who was often in conflict with government and military apparatchiks. In this book he reveals the deadly nature of the research he participated in for almost fifteen years.

Domaradskij goes into great detail about the secrecy, intrigue, and the bureaucratic maze that enveloped the Biopreparat scientists, making them feel like helpless pawns. What stands out in his account is the hasty, patchwork nature of the Soviet effort in bioweaponry. Far from being a smooth-running, terrifying monolith, this was an enterprise cobbled together out of the conflicts and contretemps of squabbling party bureaucrats, military know-nothings, and restless, ambitious scientists. In some ways the inefficiency and lack of accountability in this system make it all the more frightening as a worldwide threat. For today its dimensions are still not fully known, nor is it certain that any one group is completely in control of the proliferation of this lethal weaponry.

Biowarrior is disturbing but necessary reading for anyone wishing to understand the nature and dimensions of the biological threat in an era of international terrorism.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This autobiography of a Soviet scientist works better as memoir than it does as insight into the biological threat that might exist from research done in the former Soviet Union. After a somewhat lengthy description of his childhood and early adult years in the 1930s and '40s, Domaradskij, now chief research fellow at the Moscow Gabrichevsky G.N. Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology, depicts his rapid rise in the Soviet research system. For several decades, Domaradskij worked as an epidemiological researcher. Then in 1970 he was called to work on the Soviet secret biological weapons program. (He reiterates from firsthand knowledge what has long been known: when inconvenient, the Soviets simply ignored international treaties, such as those regarding banned weapons.) What comes through from his description of Biopreparat, as the program was known, is not its technological advances-Domaradskij admits that its major achievement has long since been scientifically superseded-but the petty bureaucracy of the Soviet system. As was the case throughout the Soviet Union, science took a back seat to politics, and personal advancement and greasing the palms of one's superiors took priority over cutting-edge research. Domaradskij bit his tongue for a while before speaking out against the program and eventually losing his prestigious position. In this sometimes laborious read, he shows how the Communist system's excesses eventually pushed a loyal-and rewarded-citizen into the status of a semidissident. (Aug.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Domaradskij has enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a microbiologist in the Soviet Union, first in legitimate epidemiological control research, then in covert defense operations against offensive biological weapons. In 1970, he was transferred to the weapons development program, Biopreparat, where he attempted to develop new germ weapons. Now nearly 80 and still living in Moscow, he has written this memoir to explain his involvement and offer his take on the bureaucratic struggles in which he was caught. As a child of the 1930s who had seen close relatives disappear into Stalin's purges, he concluded that he had no choice but to join the Communist Party and to take the jobs assigned to him, despite his preference for lab research. The factual presentation, unfortunately, includes little psychological insight, so readers don't get a sense of the agonizing decisions Domaradskij was forced to make. Readers of Loren Graham's books on Soviet science will recognize the tension between the demands of science and those of the Communist Party. Despite the awkward presentation, specialized collections dealing with weapons of mass destruction will still want this. Defector Ken Alibek published a widely known account of Biopreparat in Biohazard.-Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781591020936
Publisher:
Prometheus Books
Publication date:
07/15/2003
Pages:
250
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.93(d)

Meet the Author

Igor V. Domaradskij (Moscow, Russia) is chief research fellow of the Moscow Gabrichevsky G. N. Institute of Epidemiology and Microbiology; a member of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Russia; and the author of fourteen books on microbiology, biochemistry, and immunology.
Wendy Orent (Atlanta, GA) is a freelance writer and an anthropologist.

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