Book details germ warfare plans by Soviets

A new book that details the Soviet Union's efforts to create tools for germ warfare says that the nation would have used waves of plagues to kill the survivors of an all-out war.

The Soviet Biological Weapons Program, an 890-page history of the Soviet Union's 65 year efforts to improve its germ warfare capabilities, includes many new details about the county's biological weapons program. Authors Milton Leitenberg and Raymond Zilinskas detail potential weapons such as drug resistant anthrax and detection eluding bugs. The authors write that the biological strains may still be in the freezers of Russian military labs, the Washington Post reports.

The book suggests that the Soviet experimentation with germ warfare was potentially fueled by U.S. intelligence operatives who spread fake stories about the U.S. making weapons in secret. At the least, officials in the Soviet Union may have increased anthrax weapon production because they thought the U.S. was doing the same thing.

"It may have led to the massive expansion of the Soviet b. anthracis program," Leitenberg and Zilinskas wrote, according to the Washington Post.

Russia has officially denied the production of bioweapons during the Soviet Union era, though former Russian president Boris Yeltsin confirmed that a secret Soviet program existed to top officials in the U.S. in the 1990s, according to the Washington Post.

The authors used documents, interviews and intelligence files to generate the catalogue of biological weapons and their potentially intended uses. Details about how the country dismantled its bioweapons program after the collapse of the Soviet Union remain a mystery.

"One must assume that whatever genetically engineered bacterial and viral forms were created...remain stored in the culture collections of the Russian Federation Ministry of Defense," the authors wrote, according to the Washington Post.