Healthcare/Biosafety

Onishchenko Tries to Make Georgians Fear of Lugar's "Cold Room", Which Is Also a Common Practice in Russian laboratories

12 December, 2018

On December 5, 2018, Russian language page of Sputnik Georgia published a comment of Gennady Onishchenko - the member of the Duma, about the Lugar Laboratory in Georgia. According to Onishchenko there are "Cold rooms" in the Lugar laboratory, which are not used in any other laboratory.

Sputnik's material is provided with two links. The first one is titled as "Foreign Experts Have Revealed the “Secret" of the Scandalous Lugar Center”. However, none of the foreign experts are mentioned in the article and it is based only on the opinions of Igor Giorgadze and Kremlin representatives.

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The second link opens the comment of Bidzina Ivanishvili made on October 23rd. According to Bidzina Ivanishvili, there are no biological experiments held in Lugar Laboratory. Bidzina Ivanishvili spoke about the Lugar Laboratory during his meeting with journalists on October 23 and noted that "slanderous statements" against the Lugar Laboratory are just a part of a "polemics" between the US and Russia.

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Onishchenko's comment is a part of a long-lasting black propaganda against the Lugar Laboratory. The Kremlin and the Kremlin-related persons have been disseminating conspiracy theories about the work of the Lugar Laboratory for years, claiming that the laboratory aims to spread dangerous viruses and exporting them to Russia. As for the so called "Cold rooms", they are not unique to Lugar Laboratory and are used in almost all labs, including in Russia, to store material.

What is the “Cold Room”?

So called refrigerators to store laboratory materials are one of the main components of almost all laboratories. It might be as cold boxes as well as a refrigerated room with low temperature. The goal of cold rooms is to store laboratory materials and conduct experiments on low temperatures.

There are companies that sell the service to create cold rooms in the laboratories through the Internet. Finding such services via Google's search engine is quite simple.

Open sources also provide manuals to arrange cold rooms in laboratories in order to meet all standards of keeping the material and to ensure safety for researchers.

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Cold Rooms in Russian Laboratories

 

Despite Onishchenko argues that the so-called "cold rooms” are only used in the Lugar laboratory, since 2016 Russia adopted a safety standard for refrigerating systems and heat pumps which includes the safety standard for the staff in refrigerated cameras.

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In 2010, Russia also adopted blood, blood products, blood-components storage regulation, which directly states that low temperature is required during the work with plasma (quarantine, transportation, storage). For example, according to the regulation, the minimum standard of storage for the frozen plasma is at least -25°C, therefore refrigerating cameras are required in such laboratories.

There are refrigerating rooms in many of Russian laboratories, including:

  •  Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine with two refrigerating cameras (-20°C, -70°C);
  • Nuclear Power  Station;
  • Oil Spill  Lab in Murmansk;
  • Samara City Clinical  Hospital;
  • Lyubertsy Bacteriology Laboratory, etc.

Oinishchenko deliberately disseminates the conspiracies about the laboratory “Cold Room”, and with the dramatized misinformation tries to make the population fearful.


 

Propaganda Methods

Creation of simulation evidence  - Use of such authentic documents/facts, which create an illusion of the existence of evidence but are actually irrelevant to the accusations for illustration of which this evidence had been used.

Exaggeration and over-generalization – This method dramatizes. Raises false alarms or uses a particular premise to shape a conclusion.

Ad nauseum approach uses tireless repetition of an idea. This may be a simple idea or a simple slogan that is repeated so often that people begin to take it as the truth.

Conspiracy Theories and Pseudo-Science - platforms exert huge influence on target audience through using conspiracies and pseudo-science. Similar methods promote sowing fear and doubts among the population. Scientific and expert opinions, as well as authentic scientific papers are totally neglected. It is difficult to break through the circle of conspiracies, because the propagandists depict the facts debunking conspiracies as yet another “proof” of conspiracy.


Prepared by Sopho Gelava