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Biosecurity in Putin’s Russia

Raymond A. Zilinskas and Philippe Mauger
Biosecurity in Putin’s Russia
ISBN: 978-1-62637-698-4
ISBN: 978-1-62637-713-4
2018/385 pages/LC: 2017041825
Also of interest:  Prohibiting Chemical and Biological Weapons by Alexander Kelle
"The international community would be wise to utilize this work to further advocate pressure for transparency and compliance in the BWC." —Maj Caitlin Diffley, Strategic Studies Quarterly

"An invaluable resource for a space where facts are scarce and intentions are murky. Zilinskas and Mauger do not claim to have all the answers, but their trove of data and innovative approach provide much-needed clarity and just cause for concern for those studying the increasingly opaque world of modern Russian biosecurity." —Ryan Henrici, The RUSI Journal

"[An] important, thoroughly researched, and carefully argued book." —Dmitry Gorenburg, The Russian Review

"[T]his is a timely and important book.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"A fascinating reflection of the complex web of interests and institutions that have converged to drive Russia’s current orientation towards biosecurity."—Gary A. Ackerman, Nature

"An authoritative, penetrating, and worrisome examination of a subject that is vital for the world to understand. There are no better investigators of biosecurity in Russia than Raymond Zilinskas and Philippe Mauger."—David E. Hoffman, author of Pulitzer Prize winning The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy

"This important book carefully analyzes events in the Russian Federation since 2012 related to possible novel weapons developments and the future of the Biological Weapons Convention. It gives ample reasons for concerns, but ends by suggesting ways in which such concerns might be reduced."—Malcolm Dando, University of Bradford


In March 2012, at a meeting convened by the recently reelected Russian president Vladimir Putin, Minister of Defense Serdyukov informed Mr. Putin that a plan was being prepared for "the development of weapons based on new physical principles: radiation, geophysical wave, genetic, psychophysical, etc." Subsequently, in response to concerns expressed both in Russia and abroad, the Russian government deleted the statement from the public transcript of the meeting. But the question remains: Is Russia developing an offensive biological warfare program?

Raymond Zilinskas and Philippe Mauger investigate the multiple dimensions of this crucial security issue in their comprehensive, authoritative survey. Ranging from the Soviet legacy to current doctrine, from advanced weapons-development networks to civilian biotechnology research, from diplomatic initiatives to disinformation campaigns, they document and analyze the build-up and modernization of Russia’s biodefense establishment under the Putin administration.


The late Raymond A. Zilinskas was director of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Philippe Mauger completed work on this book while conducting research at MIIS.


  • Putin's Direction in the Biosciences.
  • The Legacy of the Soviet Union's Biological Warfare Program.
  • Russian Biosecurity and Military Modernization.
  • Biodefense and High-Technology Research and Development.
  • Civilian Bioscience and Biotechnology Since 2005.
  • Russia Addressing the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.
  • Policy Suggestions and Possible Future Collaborations.