Russia has wacky conspiracy theorists, too?

If you spread kooky nonsensical ideas, you’re likely to be infected with them too.

I’m having a tough time pitying them now.


  1. larrylyons says

    That old canard. They made the same claim in 60’s through the 80’s. You would have thought that their propaganda would have improved by now.

  2. Rob Grigjanis says

    Wacky like a fox. Plant the idea that US/Ukraine are planning to use these weapons (biological or chemical). Kill a few of your own troops with them, accuse the other side, etc.

  3. blf says

    Putin’s about to have the entire world laughing at him, Russia to go to UN with its claims of US-backed biological weapon plot (my added emboldening):

    Russia is preparing to put before the UN unfounded claims of a US-orchestrated biological weapon plot in Ukraine […].

    The UN security council is meeting on Friday at Russia’s request to discuss Moscow’s claim that the US-backed laboratories in Ukraine were working on biological weapons to target Russians. […]

    The head of the Russian military’s radiation, chemical and biological protection troops, Igor Kirillov, said on Thursday that US-backed labs in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa were working on dangerous pathogens, custom-designed to target Russians and other Slavs. According to Russian-state media, Kirillov alleged the US planned to exploit Ukraine’s “unique geographical position” by sending migratory birds carrying deadly diseases into Russia.

    The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, made a similar claim on Thursday, alleging that US-backed labs in Ukraine were working to “develop ethnically targeted biological weapons”. […]

    As per at least one recent comment in poopyhead’s [Putin’s War, Pandemic, and Politics] Infinite Thread, “Putin believes in gene bombs”. Now his minions are going to go the UN Security Council with, presumably, this wacky unscientific conspiracy theory, presumably with the added migratory birds nonsense, and the complete lack of any evidence (or more likely, the misrepresentation and outright falsification of medical and biological research (most or probably all publicly-known)). Popcorn time — assuming the council members have read their briefs, etc., it should be a very amusing show, a complete humiliation of Putin (who probably won’t take it well, and so the anticipated-rebuke may be “toned down” or put in more “diplomatic terms”, just to keep the madman from going even further off the plank).

  4. Tethys says

    Leave it to Russians to get their own mythos backward. The story about St. Olga of Kyiv and the birds is in the Primary Chronicle. Perhaps they missed the irony of her being the Patron Saint of Vengeance?

    Give me three pigeons,” she said, according to the Primary Chronicle, “and three sparrows from each house. I do not desire to impose a heavy tribute, like my husband, but I require only this small gift from you, for you are impoverished by the siege.”

    The Chronicle records in great detail the feat of precision-guided pyromania that followed:

    “Now Olga gave to each soldier in her army a pigeon or a sparrow, and ordered them to attach by thread to each pigeon and sparrow a piece of sulfur bound with small pieces of cloth. When night fell, Olga bade her soldiers release the pigeons and the sparrows. So the birds flew to their nests, the pigeons to the cotes, and the sparrows under the eaves. The dove-cotes, the coops, the porches, and the haymows were set on fire.

  5. robro says

    I hear echos of Chump, the former guy, and some of our illustrious senators harping about the “Chinese virus”. I guess there’s no limit to the traction you can get shilling crazy ideas to an ignorant population.

  6. snarkrates says

    People keep wondering if Putin is insane. This is just what happens when people become scared to tell you the truth–you wind up getting high on your own supply of misinformation.

  7. drew says

    Well, it does sound like something the CIA would do. Or the US military. It may be ineffectual but are we sure it’s not true?

  8. Larry says

    Seems as though them Rooskis have weaponized our Q. I wonder if they’re looking in the basements of pizza parlors for bird cages.

  9. says

    If so, the Russians have just provided the perfect cover. Everybody already thinks the Russians are nuts, so now the US can just parrot Rob’s claim from #2 and then release the virus. Russia is done for and most people will believe it was their own plan backfiring.

    Kinda parallels how Putin is supposedly scared of NATO, but is also the single person who has done most for the cause of NATO expansion in decades. He convinced the Finns to reconsider NATO from one week to the next. I’m not sure who else could possibly have achieved that.
    Maybe we should cut him a check, for all his hard work. Or maybe Putin just isn’t as smart as we gave him credit for.

  10. John Morales says

    OP quotes thus:

    The head of the Russian military’s radiation, chemical and biological protection troops, Igor Kirillov, said on Thursday that US-backed labs in Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odesa were working on dangerous pathogens, custom-designed to target Russians and other Slavs.


    It may be ineffectual but are we sure it’s not true?


  11. jrkrideau says

    Victoria Nuland
    Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs

    “Ukraine has biological research facilities which, in fact, we’re now quite concerned Russian troops, Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how we can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces should they approach,”

  12. Tethys says

    Most modern countries have biology research labs, where they research diseases and treatments. See also-global pandemic

    They do not train wild birds. If that was a thing, Ukraine would have released them in 2014 when Russia was invading Crimea.

  13. blf says

    jrkrideau@15, Just about every country has “biological research facilities”, and similar, such as “medical laboratories”. Only Russia has Putin, who has a known history of using or enabling the use of biological and chemical weapons (see, e.g., Syria), who believes in gene bombs which can target ethnically Slavic people, and be delivered by migrating birds. Also note, ethically Slavic people would include Ukrainians themselves — Ukrainians are working on something targeting non-existent genes to be released from their own territory which would affect themselves?

    Some of those biological research facilities will have dangerous pathogens. They are used in legitimate research, including samples collected whilst tracking and monitoring local endemic bacteria and viruses. There is concern such samples could be released, either due to damage to the labs (e.g., by, rather obviously, Russia’s indiscriminate shelling) or be stolen by the Russians (due to either ignorance, stupidity, or nefarious intent). Hence the concern you mischievously quoted about keeping them out of Russian hands (and, in general, destroying them due to the concern about accidental release due to lab damage).

  14. Rob Grigjanis says

    jrkrideau @15: Ukraine has biological research facilities? OMG, that’s an admission of guilt!

    Please tell us what you think of the BS about the anti-Slav migratory birds theory.

    How does a nice Canadian lad become such a fucking twit?

  15. snarkrates says

    jkrideau, Just curious. Are there two other stooges you regularly hang out with?

  16. blf says

    @18, They’ve got previous form spouting pro-Putin(? Russian?) content, referencing RT and Tass (and probably also Sputnik), and has even recommended RT as a “reliable” source (all in this very blog).

  17. says

    Hold on a sec… I just read yesterday that the USA already owns bio-weapons plants in Ukraine. If the bio labs are already there, why would they need the birds? As conspiracy theories go, I’d rate the bird theory a 3/10 and the Ukrainian lab theory a solid 5/10. BTW, on my scale 10/10 is one I actually believe is somewhat plausible. So Russian interference in 2016 is a 10/10. Bush and 9-11, 1/10. Chameleon like aliens running our government, 0/10.

  18. Rob Grigjanis says

    Re #18: That last question was serious, jrkrideau. I get that there have been mountains of bullshit in Western media, and there still are. But there is also Western and other media which takes pains to expose the bullshit.

    How do you get to where you seem to be now, simply accepting everything that comes out of Putin-approved ‘news’? And spare me protestations about not accepting everything. You accept far more than can be explained by simply doubting Western media.

  19. Rob Grigjanis says

    blf @20: Yes, I know. I’ve been reading comments for a while. I also know that jrkrideau doesn’t always come across as a clueless twit. I’m always curious about True Believers.

  20. blf says

    Follow-up to @16, @17, and @18, illustrating @22’s point “there is also Western and other media which takes pains to expose the bullshit”. The most-relevant snippet from What are Russia’s biological weapons claims and what’s actually happening?:

    What are independent world bodies saying?
    The World Health Organization (WHO) has said it is unaware of activity by Ukraine violating any international treaty, including the ban on biological weapons.

    The UN high commissioner for disarmament, Izumi Nakamitsu, confirmed that the UN was not aware of any biological weapons programmes in Ukraine. Nakamitsu pointed to the Biological Weapons Convention, which has prohibited the development and use of biological weapons since 1975. The convention was backed by then president Richard Nixon, who in 1969 also put a stop to the US developing its own offensive biological weapons.

    So do bio labs exist inside Ukraine, and is the US supporting them?
    Yes, and yes. Ukraine does operate biological laboratories which receive US funding. The US undersecretary of state Victoria Nuland affirmed those facts in a Senate foreign relations committee hearing this week […]

    Nuland’s comments were seized upon by far-right commentators as further evidence of a secret US-Ukraine plot. In fact, US funding to the laboratories had its roots in the fall of the Soviet Union after which money was pumped into Ukraine and other former Soviet countries to help them transfer scientific skills away from weapons programmes towards public health initiatives.

    The scheme was originally known as the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) programme, but is now more commonly referred to as the biological engagement programme. It has been successful in supporting former Soviet and other countries to fulfil public health obligations.

    “This is one of the best things that we do,” Dr Gigi Gronvall, senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, told the Guardian.

    Most of the work of the Ukraine labs today, Gronvall said, involved surveillance of diseases in animals and people as an early-warning system for illnesses such as African swine fever, which is endemic in the region. “We know pathogens don’t respect borders, so helping to put out public health fires before they become too big is an advantage to all of us,” she said.

    Do the Ukraine laboratories store dangerous biological agents?
    Yes, it appears so. As part of their work researching diseases the bio labs do seem to hold dangerous pathogens. We know that because WHO is urging Ukraine to destroy any highly dangerous agents in its laboratories to avoid the risk of a disastrous outbreak should one of the labs be hit under Russian attack.

    “As part of this work, WHO has strongly recommended to the ministry of health in Ukraine and other responsible bodies to destroy high-threat pathogens to prevent any potential spills,” the UN health agency said.

    The WHO has worked in Ukraine for several years helping the bio labs improve their safety and security, so it knows what it is talking about.

  21. John Morales says

    Thank you, Tethys.

    Most informative video for me.

    (Mind you, the pacing between cameras and scholar’s cradles were a bit distracting)

  22. PaulBC says

    Rob Grigjanis@23 I agree that jrkrideau has said reasonable things in the past unless I’m remembering wrong. But the statement that Russian troops are “trying their damnedest” to avoid civilian casualties (different thread) is sufficient for me to discount anything else they say on this topic.

  23. John Morales says

    christoph, heh.

    Of course, we’re talking about parrots here. cf. LykeX @13:

    […] so now the US can just parrot Rob’s claim from #2 and then release the virus.

  24. hemidactylus says

    The KGB planted a conspiracy theory in India about HIV being created at Fort Detrick decades ago. We are still feeling the damage from that via pervasive distrust of authority. The actual courses of events at Tuskegee and in Guatemala didn’t help.

    Add the classic China lobby chant of “Who lost China?” and “ChiCom” and the Wuhan lab leak conspiracy gets amplified. The GOP is clinging on for life so has refurbished old tropes.

    Now I wonder if the Qmob and assorted characters will latch onto this migratory bird angle in Ukraine as mocked by the “Mockingbird media”. How far from being lovingly implanted up Putin’s keister are the alt-right, white nationalists and neonazis in the US?

  25. says

    The best skill I learned in college is my ability to think critically and do actual research. I hated it at the time but now, in a world where disinformation has been weaponized, I really appreciate those skills. I can smell bullshit from a mile away.

  26. hemidactylus says

    In my search for good sane sources on Bilderberg (very few…two) I stumbled upon cray cray books about the “Great Reset” by Glenn Beck, Alexander Dugin and others. Things are going totally off the rails.

    “Jones continued, “Glenn Beck’s getting it, Tucker Carlson gets it. Now Joe Rogan gets it. How are we ever going to beat this globalist corporate take over that wants to make us poor to control us? If we people don’t know even that they exist MTG?”…“ In January, Beck was on Tucker Carlson’s show promoting his new book titled The Great Reset and claimed that an international “reset” is underway that is moving Western civilization toward a fascist dystopia and that there is proof of it in Washington State – upcoming Covid-19 “internment camps.””

    I wish the administrative state, Soros, Bilderbergs, and Trilats were more effective. Given the rampant bloviations of the unhinged the Elite suck at the control thing. They had one job to do! Their early problems with de Gaulle were a preview.

  27. HidariMak says

    The Meidas Touch podcast mentioned the Qanon conspiracy that Dr. Fauci is secretly stationed at an Ukraine bioweapons lab, working on a more fatal and contagious COVID variant, and that Putin is working with Trump to destroy the lab and save humanity.

    I think that the importance of critical thinking is something that should be introduced in public schools. It’s unfortunate that the same people who use critical thinking when it comes to buying/renting a home or buying a car, completely abandon rational thought with just about everything else.

  28. Carl Andersson says

    The thing I’m worried about is all those weapons flowing into ukraine, javelins, nlaws and whatever, material support to warring nation means you are no longer neutral. Russia still has a lot of short range balistic missiles with conventional warheads in range of nato airbases, shitload of non-conventional warheads for that matter

  29. wzrd1 says

    The claimed threat of bioweapons is likely an attempt to justify, even if weakly, the usage of nuclear weapons by the peace loving, well nuclear armed, Russia. The trick is older than the “your shoes are untied” gambit.

  30. outis says

    @33, J.Morales:
    A parrot? The parrot is dead. It has ceased to be. It has expired and gone to see its maker. This is a late parrot.

    But seriously, I do agree that misinformation has reached baroque heights, unmatched since the time of medieval bestiaries.
    Just now I read about a news site called “Papapover”, created by some poor soul whose ass is being bombed in Kyiv, and whose dad in Russia DOES NOT believe that those bombs are real:

    apart from the grotesquery of it all, it is heart-breaking in every sort of way.
    And makes you think that not only coming down from the trees was a terrible mistake, but even getting out of the sea was a big bad move.

  31. StevoR says

    Russia has wacky conspiracy theorists, too?

    Why wouldn’t they?

    Sadly, it seems to be part of our -all of us everywhere species-wide – flawed human brains and thinking.

    Apologies if this point has already made here by others.

  32. says

    As an example of what numerobis linked to I live within 2 or 3 miles of VIDO at the University of Saskatchewan. I’m guessing there’s at least one guy out there spreading the idea it’s secretly a bioweapons lab.

  33. Arkady says

    I work in a research institute in the UK where we handle infectious diseases. Thinking through everything we’d need to do to make sure nothing got out of the labs in the kind of nightmare going on in Ukraine right now. Top of the list to kill would be the cholera and dysentery as they can survive in the environment and no-one wants a repeat of the Haitian cholera outbreak (that was from UN Peacekeepers). TB next, then the others are less likely to make it out of the lab; streptococci aren’t that transmissible, campylobacter need a host or very specific lab conditions, clostridia need anoxia etc. The viruses wouldn’t survive without hosts so those would be a lower priority, likewise the parasites like malaria, trypanosomes etc. Probably also a good idea to kill everything in the insectaries (though not carrying diseases) as no-one would want to add tropical mosquitoes to a war zone.

    Even with a list that short it could take days to get everything in the freezers dumped in bleach or run through the autoclave (and the autoclave needs power). I think researchers in Ukraine could do without a bunch of nutty conspiracy theories on top of what they’re already dealing with.

  34. seachange says

    8 @ snarkrates
    People said and do say the same things about Trump. Whether it’s true or not isn’t relevant, the results are the same.

  35. chrislawson says


    Like you say, if I was in charge of a biolab in a rolling war zone like Ukraine, I too would be destroying every sample. It’s not that all of the pathogens you mentioned are highly risky. Cholera doesn’t need to escape for labs to cause outbreaks in a disaster zone and tropical mosquitoes are not likely to survive the Ukrainian winter. But in disaster tuations the general principle should be to destroy everything while it’s still possible. One can always restock once the disaster is over.

  36. chrislawson says

    Oops: that should read “cholera doesn’t need to escape labs to cause outbreaks”…

  37. chrislawson says


    ‘Jones continued, “Glenn Beck’s getting it, Tucker Carlson gets it. Now Joe Rogan gets it. How are we ever going to beat this globalist corporate take over that wants to make us poor to control us?’

    Amazing how the rogues’ gallery of Jones, Beck, Carlson, and Rogan like to talk about the horrors of “this globalist corporate takeover”…while themselves doing their absolute most to entrench the legal, economic and political power of huge globalist corporations while also doing their damndest to strip human rights, voting, access to healthcare and fair working conditions from the poor and marginalised.

  38. birgerjohansson says

    Speaking of gangster regimes.
    Boris and his cretin gang have closed down covid testing.
    Because if people die and there is no test, it means there is no statistics. And if there is no statistics about covid deaths it means the pandemic is over.
    And people will not demand costly shutdowns.
    This is what happens when you put a sociopath in power.

  39. KG says

    birgirjohansson@48, blf@49,
    At least for now, Scotland is continuing to track infections and trace contacts, although the sharp rise in cases (more than doubled in the last 2 weeks) means by no means all contacts get traced.