Re-evaluating Russia's biological weapons policy, as reflected in the Criminal Code and Official Admissions: insubordination leading to a president's subordination

Crit Rev Microbiol. 2006;32(1):1-13. doi: 10.1080/10408410500496862.


Half-heartedly acknowledged by the Russian Federation, the Soviet Union ran the world's largest offensive program for biological weapons, breaching the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention. Russia criminalized biological weapons in 1993 only to decriminalize them in 1996, but in 2003 president Putin partly recriminalized them. None of these changes were declared within the Convention. Several well-known official statements, when reviewed in their context, turned out to admit to neither an offensive program nor a breach of the Convention. Thus, the Russian biological weapons policy is more ambiguous than usually depicted, and various policy shapers can be discerned.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anthrax / epidemiology
  • Biological Warfare / history
  • Biological Warfare / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Bioterrorism / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Disease Outbreaks / history
  • Government Programs / history
  • History, 20th Century
  • History, 21st Century
  • Humans
  • Public Policy
  • Russia
  • USSR / epidemiology