For the first time, the name “Beginner” sounded in the context of the latest events of March 12. British Prime Minister Theresa May, speaking in parliament, announced the use of a poisonous substance with a similar name. In addition, she immediately found a couple of opportunities to blame Russia. According to her, the recent attempt was either committed by the Russian state or allowed because of the loss of control over the chemical industry. weapons. However, sufficient evidence of the guilt or involvement of the Russian special services, as often happens, was not cited.
Despite the heightened interest on the part of the world community, very little is known about the CEL of the “Novice” family. Moreover, almost all information about such weapons is obtained from one source, which, moreover, may not cause much confidence. However, this does not prevent the emergence of new publications, as well as the formation of unexpected versions. For example, by the forces of the foreign press, substances like “Novice” have already been able to “tie” to the loud murder of past years.
For the first time about the poison gas of the “Novice” line it became known in September 1992. It was then that the newspaper "Moscow news»Published an article" Poisoned Politics "written by Wil Mirzayanov, a former employee of the State Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT). In his article, V. Mirzayanov criticized the military and political leadership of Russia, and also accused him of violating existing international agreements on chemical weapons. He argued that the development and production of warfare in our country is not curtailed and continues.
It should be noted that the publication of the article in "Moscow News" was followed by very remarkable events. A criminal case about the disclosure of state secrets was opened against its author. The investigation lasted more than a year, but in the spring of 1994, the case was closed due to the lack of corpus delicti. Shortly thereafter, V. Mirzayanov engaged in political activities and is still in opposition to the federal authorities. In 1996, he went to the USA, where he continued social and political work.
Information about the project “Novice” was published by V. Mirzayanov not only in one of the Russian newspapers. Subsequently, the theme of the newest CWA was repeatedly raised by other publications, cited in the memoirs of the employee GosNIIOKhT, etc. Also, from a certain time in this context certain documents appeared, allegedly describing the technological process and the composition of the poisonous substance. Using all this data, you can try to make a big picture. However, we should not forget that the overwhelming majority of information was obtained from the same source, and, moreover, suspected, at least, of bias.
It was reported that the development of new warfare began in the seventies and lasted until the early nineties, including after the appearance of the Soviet-American agreement on chemical weapons 1990 year. Within the framework of the program with the code "Foliant", Soviet specialists created more than a hundred new substances, but only a few of them had advantages over existing ones. All of them were consolidated into the conditional family “Novice”. Despite the fact that the work on such substances was completed, the USSR or Russia did not accept them.
According to other data, the result of the project "Foliant" was the emergence of three unitary chemical agents - A-232, A-234 and "Substance 33". Then, on their basis, they created five binary toxic substances with the common name “Novice” and their own numbers. All these substances belong to the category of nerve paralytics and differ from older analogues by increased efficiency.
According to one of the versions, the CEL under the name “Novice” without an additional number was the Soviet version of the V-gas in binary version. This substance allegedly reached production and since the early eighties has been produced in Novocheboksarsk in relatively large quantities.
On the basis of agent A-232, a binary gas “Novice-5” was created, exceeding the older VX in combat performance in 5-8. As stated, poisoning with such a substance is extremely difficult to treat with standard antidotes used in cases with other BOV. "Novice-5" could be produced in Volgograd and tested at one of the objects of the Uzbek SSR.
With the use of the substance A-230 a binary substance “Novice-7” was created. According to its volatility, it allegedly was comparable to soman, but at the same time differed many times more toxic. Low-tonnage production and testing of the seventh “Novice”, according to some data, were carried out by the branch of GosNIIOKhT in Shikhany (Saratov region) and continued until the 1993 year.
There are some references to “Novices” with 8 and 9 numbers, but almost nothing is known about them. According to known data, such substances were actually developed, but not produced, not tested and not accepted for service.
In 1990, the United States and the USSR agreed to stop the creation and production of chemical weapons. In January, 1993, a number of countries, including Russia, signed a new Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. In accordance with these documents, the countries parties to the agreements could no longer develop, produce and use chemical warfare agents. Already produced substances, in turn, should be disposed of in a safe way. According to official data, by the time the Convention was signed, the Russian chemical industry had stopped developing and releasing WWW. Together with other projects, the "Folio" was closed. Now, the industry had to solve a new problem and dispose of the existing 40 thousand tons of chemical weapons.
Until a certain time, information about the substances of the “Novice” family was extremely scarce. Only from one source was known about their existence, and later came the approximate data on the composition of the family. However, the formulas of substances remained unknown, and until now specialists have to rely solely on estimates and assumptions. Moreover, some of the assumptions are refuted and criticized.
It is curious that soon after the article in “Moscow News” the American edition of The Baltimore Sun published its material on Soviet and Russian projects in the field of chemical weapons. The author of the article "Russia still holds a secret ban ban" argued that he was able to talk with representatives of the Soviet chemical industry and find out some details of recent works. In particular, it was The Baltimore Sun that first announced information about an accident while developing “Beginners”.
It was alleged that in one of the laboratories working on the Rookie-1987 project in 5 a ventilation failure had occurred. The concentration of the toxic substance quickly reached dangerous values, and the chemist working with him was seriously injured. He was able to get to the hospital on time and provide the necessary assistance. However, the specialist 10 days stayed unconscious, and the treatment took another six months. The chemist was unable to return to work and was disabled. Later it was announced that Andrei Zheleznyakov was the poisoned specialist. According to foreign press reports, he passed away in the 1993 year.
Subsequently, new reports of accidents or the use of gases of the “Newcomer” family were not published. However, the main sources of information about these BOV continued to talk about them, mostly repeating already known information. The most interesting data is, first of all, the chemical composition of toxic substances, production technology, etc. - remained unknown, and so far in this context only assumptions and estimates appear.
According to official data, our country stopped the development of new chemical warfare agents in the early nineties, after the first agreement with the United States. Shortly thereafter, a program began to utilize existing stocks, which was successfully completed last year. The completion of this work was announced on 27 on September 2017. Soon, the control structures of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed this. In the context of the “Foliant” project, this means that the “Novice” gases, if released, were disposed of in order to fulfill their obligations.
However, it should be noted that notifications of the Novice gas line did not appear in the reports on the course of destruction of reserves of CWA. Once again, it is worth recalling that their existence became known from unofficial sources, and they were not mentioned in the documents on the recycling program. Obviously, for the most banal reason - due to the fact that they did not exist.
A hypothetical project of Soviet scientists with a dubious past was recalled just a few days ago. On March 4, a former employee of the GRU, previously convicted of espionage, Sergey Skripal and his daughter Julia were admitted to a British hospital in Salisbury. According to official data from the internal affairs agencies of the United Kingdom, analyzes have shown that the victims were poisoned by a substance of the nerve agent, but the specific type of poison was not specified.
12 March in the British Parliament with a report on the situation made by Prime Minister Theresa May. It was she who first pronounced the name “Novice” with reference to a recent incident. Soon, British officials demanded from Russia complete data on the Novice program development program. Also in official statements there were threats of an economic and political nature directly connected with the “Russian aggression” and the alleged guilt of Russia in recent events.
14 March, a meeting of the UN Security Council was held, during which London officially accused Moscow of violating the existing Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. The next day, the head of the British Foreign Ministry, Boris Johnson, said that the UK has some evidence of Russia's involvement in S. Skrypall's poisoning.
Of particular interest is the reaction of the foreign press to recent events. Some publications — expectedly distinguished by an obvious anti-Russian stance — tried to find or think out proofs of the use of Novices in the past, without relying on the statements of V. Mirzayanov or the publication The Baltimore Sun.
For example, at once in several mass media people remembered the death of businessman Ivan Kivelidi, poisoned in August 1995. As the investigation found out then, the poisonous substance was applied by the killers to the membrane of the telephone tube. During the conversation, the substance was sprayed, falling on the skin and in the respiratory tract. The poison could not kill the victim immediately, but the businessman had several chronic diseases that got worse, and after a few days he died. Also his secretary-assistant, who had contact with the poisoned telephone, passed away. According to some information, the investigative authorities, who worked in I. Kivelidi's office, also felt unwell.
A number of details of the criminal case were never published, which became a good basis for speculations and outright speculations. Thus, it was previously claimed that the poisonous substance could be synthesized at the branch of GosNIIOKhT in Shikhany. In the same place, according to V. Mirzayanov, "Beginners" were issued. Such "facts" have allowed some domestic and foreign publications to suggest that I. Kivelidi was poisoned with the use of the BOB line "Novice". It hardly needs to be reminded that this version does not have any actual evidence and is more like an attempt to “work out the informational occasion” in the right way.
Obviously, recent statements by the British leadership were not the last, and real steps may even follow. Russia, in turn, will defend its interests and fight unjust accusations. How exactly events will develop in the international arena, and what the warring parties will reach, it remains only to guess. Only one thing is clear: the situation will worsen and the countries will not be able to improve relations for a long time.
While politicians are dealing with accusations, it is worth paying attention once again to the main features of the situation around Novice substances. The existence of such CWA is known only from a pair of sources that are often criticized for their bias and therefore can hardly be considered reliable or objective. At the same time, Russian officials refute the existence of Novices. Moreover, the absence of chemical weapons in Russia is confirmed by the regulatory authorities.
A few days ago, the opinion of the existence of substances "Novice" was supported by the British authorities, which, however, still does not allow him to outweigh the arguments of the other party. In addition, while we are talking only about the statements of officials who are not directly related to the investigation, as well as the absence of real evidence or, at least, their publication.
It is easy to see that the situation around the recent poisoning of a former employee of the Russian special services has already moved from the category of simple criminal cases to the political sphere. As a result, the actions of the official London will now be determined not only by the need to identify the poisoners, but also by the political goals of the government. And in such a situation, not every proof or refutation will be considered as such. As we can see, information about the absence of the Novovok CWA in Russia or other types of chemical weapons has already become a victim of this approach, and the British are no longer interested.
What will happen next and how the situation will worsen in the international arena is unknown. The only thing that can delight in such circumstances is the extreme carelessness of the British side. All known data suggest that the UK version is at least illogical and has problems. Moreover, from some points of view, it looks completely erroneous, since it is based on inaccurate information. However, the British authorities have already done and said too much to stop and admit the mistake.
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