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Report: Soviets Used Top-Secret 'Psychotronic' Weapons

There may be a scientific explanation for the rigid-faced inflexibility of Soviet-era border guards and soldiers, after all. Reports have emerged of a top secret program of "psychotronic" brainwashing techniques developed by the KGB and the Ministry of Defense in the 1970s to turn soldiers into fearless, unquestioning fighting machines and enemies into lethargic vegetables.

The techniques, which include debilitating high frequency radio waves, hypnotic computer-scrambled sounds and mind-bending electromagnetic fields, as well as an ultrasound gun capable of killing a cat at fifty meters, were originally developed for medical purposes and adapted into weapons, said journalist Yury Vorobyovsky, who has been investigating the program for three years.

"Ecology and Living Environment," an environmental and civil liberties group which claims a membership of 500 people in Moscow, has set up an association of "Victims of Psychotronic Experimentation," who have filed damages claims against the Federal Security Service, or FSB, and the government. Unfortunately, since by definition many of the victims are psychologically disturbed, there is a problem of verification.

"The Health Ministry and the FSB are doing medical experiments on over a million innocent people," said Ecology and Living Environment President Yemilia Cherkova, an ex-member of Zelenograd's local council. Cherkova wears a lead helmet in bed to protect herself against the rays she says the government beams into her flat. "They put chemicals in the water and use magnets to alter your mind. We are fighting to prove to the authorities that we are not mad."

Despite these somewhat far-fetched testimonies, there is strong evidence that some kind of psychotronic warfare program did exist in the Soviet period, and that the technology may be falling into the wrong hands.

Official confirmation was first hinted at in the 1991 Soviet budget, which mentioned that 500 million rubles of the state security budget had been spent on "psychological warfare technology" over an unspecified period of years, said Vorobyovsky. Former state security and interior minister General Viktor Barannikov, sacked for supporting the 1993 coup attempt, warned in an Interior Ministry memorandum earlier that year that he had information that the mafia had got hold of the technology, though little concrete evidence has been found by police.

"We have no evidence that our local mafia has psychotronic weapons; they have enough ordinary ones," said Gennady Melnik of the Moscow Police Department. "They are not the most technologically advanced mafia in the world. It must be cheaper just to use guns."

Nevertheless, the State Duma is taking the matter seriously enough to draft a law on "security of the individual," which will include regulation of subliminal advertising and pseudo-religious sects, as well as imposing state controls on all equipment in private hands which can be used as "psychotronic weaponry." The legislation brings Russia into line with Bulgaria, the only other country to outlaw such equipment specifically.

"The law is pre-emptive," said Vladimir Lopatkin, chairman of the drafting committee. "The equipment that now exists in laboratories must be very strictly controlled to prevent it from being sold to the private sector."

Vorobyovsky has filmed several laboratories which are using powerful electro-magnets of the sort experts believe can be used as weapons to supposedly cure private patients of various aliments. One, the Biovolna clinic in Zelenograd, near Moscow, went private after its funding from the Defense Ministry was discontinued. The clinic has "treated" more than 7,000 people, despite not having a Health Ministry license. One of Vorobyovsky's film crew volunteered to be subjected to rays from a similar machine built by Dr. Yakov Rudakov, now a general practitioner who used to work in a Defense Ministry psychotronic research laboratory. He described feeling dizzy, lethargic and confused after exposure to certain frequencies.

The dissident writer Vladimir Voinovich described in his memoirs how the KGB used a cocktail of drugged cigarettes and electromagnets to sap his energy and induce disorientation and confusion.

"One could call this 'Black Science.' Research scientists whose funding has been cut have resorted to putting equipment costing millions of rubles to any use that will pay," said Vorobyovsky.

Another program Vorobyovsky filmed was a sound studio at the Interior Ministry's research laboratory where officers were played bursts of computer-scrambled messages encouraging them to be more decisive and fearless. Dr. Rudakov claimed that this technique was used on Spetsnaz troops in Afghanistan. The danger, says Vorobyovsky, is that similar messages can be transmitted over the telephone, television or radio to influence whoever hears them.

"Of course this project is surrounded with a lot of hysteria and conjecture," said Lopatkin, of the Duma committee. "Something that was secret for so many years is the perfect breeding ground for conspiracy theories."

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