USSR: Debunking the Anthrax Outbreak – Sverdlovsk (1979)

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“In Sverdlovsk (and the surrounding region) cases of cattle disease have become more frequent. It is believed this has been caused within the collective farms through the introduction a low-quality cow feed. The city administration strongly recommends that all Sverdlovsk residents refrain from buying meat “in random places” – including in the markets.’

(Ural Worker – 1979)

(было опубликовано следующее: «В Свердловске и области участились случаи заболевания скота. В колхоз был завезён низкокачественный корм для коров. Администрация города убедительно просит всех свердловчан воздержаться от приобретения мяса „в случайных местах“ — в том числе на рынках» . Уральский рабочий)

The demise of the Soviet Union in 1991 (despite a national referendum to the contrary), led to an intensification of the US-generated Cold War, Anti-Soviet propaganda that sought to create and maintain a false and highly negative interpretation of the USSR in the mind of the average Westerner. The point of this approach was to turn the Western working class ideologically against the Soviet Union, and prevent the spread of Soviet-style Socialism beyond the borders of the Communist Bloc. When the USSR collapsed, the Cold War offensive entered the Russian hinterland proper, and all kinds of lies and disinformation were generated using the Russian language. The purpose of this ‘new’ wave of fabrications and myths was to turn the Russian people themselves against their own Soviet history, and prevent them from ‘voting’ in a Communist government (via the liberal democratic process), or participating in an armed uprising to achieve the same end. The so-called ‘Sverdlovsk Anthrax’ outbreak of 1979 is one such attempt at disparaging the memory of the Soviet regime.In this instance, the ‘evil’ Soviet regime under the leadership of Leonid Brezhnev, is accused of breaking a 1972 treaty (signed by the USSR) that sought to curb and prevent biological experimentation (for purposes related to war), and to have ‘tested’ biological weapons upon its own people. Although certain Western and (modern) Russian authors have suggested that the US propaganda radio service – Voice of America – made a broadcast on April 5th (1979) stating that the USSR had been manufacturing biological weapons (and had either deliberately or accidentally ‘released anthrax’ onto its own people), this assertion was convincingly questioned in 2006 – suggesting that at the time, the USA knew nothing about the case, and only became aware of this version post-1991 – when the CIA ‘invented’ it. Official Soviet-era stats record that during April, 1979, 64 people were reported dead after eating infected meat (beef), which had been the result of cattle being fed sub-standard food. This emergency was soon brought under control (with the mass vaccination of cattle and general ‘cleansing’ of the infected area), and life returned to normal in Sverdlovsk. In May, 1980, Soviet academic journals published articles referring to an ‘isolated’ outbreak of anthrax in the Sverdlovsk area, how the outbreak occurred, and what measures were taken to quell the infection. This chain of events is typical of the Soviet method of ‘scientifically’ assessing and recording all events, as a means to gaining a better understanding of phenomena, and deciding the most progressive cause of action. It is interesting that the Soviet authorities did not resort to the usual ‘capitalist’ method of intensive farming, which usually advocates the ‘mass slaughter’ of the animal populations infected. The first-time the US authorities are believed to have learned about this anthrax outbreak, was in 1988, when American officials were briefed by Soviet academic Pyotr Burgasov, who had studied 27 cases of cows infected with anthrax from the Sverdlovsk area. The point of this exchange may have originated in the idea that the two strains of anthrax discovered in the cows, were known to be prevalent not in the USSR, but rather in Canada and South Africa. These facts ‘hinted’ that the Sverdlovsk outbreak might have been the product of foreign intervention – in other words, a Western-backed biological (terrorist) attack on the Soviet Union (although this was never the official Soviet position). In response to this implied assertion, the US intelligence services concocted the story that the USSR was working on ‘anthrax’ weapons that were tested upon Soviet people. There is no evidence to support this theory – but some (modern) Russian authors, wanting to cash-in on Cold War nostalgia, are quick to ‘invent’ false histories in the Russian language. In 2015, a supposed anthrax victim attempted to sue the Russian government for being a victim of anthrax experimentation, with the case being thrown-out as it lacked supporting historical evidence.

Russian Language References:

https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Эпидемия_сибирской_язвы_в_Свердловске

http://gazeta.zn.ua/SOCIETY/sibirskaya_yazva_zabytaya_tragediya.html

http://ant-63.livejournal.com/246338.html

 

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