A Resurgence of the “Academy of Sciences of the USSR’s Legacy”:How to Understand the New Phase of the Ukraine War

March 26, 2022

(IISIA Researcher’s Report Vol.3)

“The 24th of February, 2022”, this is the day when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since that day, the global community has completely changed, and the days of business-as-usual have vanished in a moment. In this context, a point of concern is that in this war, there have been a series of attacks on Ukrainian nuclear facilities, laboratories, and other technological infrastructure, as well as “symbolic” targets such as the Kiev TV Tower and the Antonov An-225, the world’s largest aircraft.

In general, it is expected that the destruction of these key infrastructures is intended to increase pressure, break the war situation, and advance ceasefire negotiations, but Russia has more complicated grand strategy than it seems to be.

Figure: Destroyed world’s largest aircraft Antonov An-225
(Source: Twitter)

On 9th March (MSK), Kommersant, a valuable independent news organization in Russia, reported that Dmitry ROGOZIN, President of the state space corporation “Roscosmos,” said the following:

– Through a “special military operation,” Roscosmos will reestablish “historical scientific and industrial cooperation” by integrating the remaining Ukrainian rocket and space industry plants from the former-USSR era into the Roscosmos plant.

– Ukraine has devastated the legacy of the former-USSR, and hence Roscosmos undertakes a joint operation to overcome its technological devastation and to create advanced space rocket technology.

According to this article, it is possible to analyze the possibility that Russia’s aim, apart from its “territorial ambition” as it is commonly described, is to seize or destroy the Ukrainians’ scientific technology that they have possessed since the era of the “Academy of Sciences of the USSR.”

During the former-USSR era, Ukraine served as the point d’appui of research on nuclear development, nuclear power generation, and aerospace field, and this potential is still maintained down to the present day. For instance, there are 130,000 engineering degree holders in Ukraine. This number is higher than in the United Kingdom or Germany, without mentioning Russia.

Figure: Top European countries by number of engineering graduates
(Source: N-iX

According to the Good Country Index, Ukraine was 14th in Science and Technology category among other 163 countries in 2020. Furthermore, in addition to the capital city of Kiev, other Ukrainian cities such as Kharkiv, Lviv, Odessa, and Dnipro are included in the “list of the most innovative cities in the world,” according to the report. All of these cities are currently either under invasion or targeted for attack by Russia.

In line with this, one of the reasons for the escalation of military aggression by President PUTIN might be his ambition to integrate and resurrect the scientific and technological capabilities that were expelled simultaneously with the collapse of the USSR.

There is information that during YELTSIN’s presidency, the former USSR’s scientific and technological capabilities were dissipated by the Ashkenazic Jews in the name of “globalization.” Although President YELTSIN himself was Russian, most of the government officials surrounding him were Jewish, including American advisors.

figure: Vladimir PUTIN, nominated by YELTSIN to become acting president
of the new Russian Federation
(Source: Wikipedia)

In this context, Russia has started to claim that biological weapons are being developed in laboratories in Ukraine with support from the U.S. The U.S. has denounced Russian claims as “disinformation” and has begun to sound the alarm over the possibility of chemical weapons being used by Russia.

Although neither Russia nor the U.S. have provided evidence for this claim, and its veracity and future development are not clear at this time, there is a record in the National Security Archive (NSA) of “Cracking open the Soviet biological weapons system,” which describes the actual status of biological weapons development in the USSR as follows:

  • From the mid-1970s, the USSR established an organization called “Biopreparat” to develop and manufacture biological weapons. In 1989, Dr. Vladimir PASECHNIK of Biopreparat defected to the UK, and the reality of the laboratory was revealed to the UK.  At the same time, the information was shared with the U.S.
  • According to a memo from the Soviet Foreign Ministry to the U.S. and the U.K. Demarche executed in regard to the Sverdlovsk anthrax leak, the U.S. and the U.K. already had information about the USSR’s massive covert program in the field of biological weapons.
  • In 1990, the U.S. Secretary of State BAKER visits the USSR and expresses his concerns about the issue of biological weapons to SCHWARNAZE, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the USSR.

The above suggests that the U.S. had a fairly detailed grasp about the biological weapons programs of the former USSR, and in likewise, the USSR would have been aware of such a fact. It is premature to dismiss the current Russian and U.S. claims as “conspiracy theories,” and we need to carefully follow the claims and history of both sides.

In light of the foregoing, it may be important to examine the situation of the Ukrainian war based on a historical perspective, such as where the interests and the point d’appui of the “Academy of Sciences of the USSR” were dispersed. In order to keep track of the situation in Ukraine in the future, we should also keep a close eye on a historical perspective, such as to where the science and technology of “Academy of Sciences of the USSR” has disappeared.

Hiroyasu HARADA
Manager (Senior Analyst), Global Intelligence Group (GIG)