On July 4, Russian Channel One’ aired a story (1,2,3,) about the alleged demands for an investigation into the activities of the American laboratories in the territory of Georgia, in particular, the Richard Lugar Laboratory of Tbilisi. The story talks about various “dangerous experiments” being conducted in the Lugar laboratory and in the “American laboratories” on the territories of other states of the post-Soviet space, including Ukraine. Georgian-speaking users of Facebook have also disseminated the story of Channel One.
The claims voiced by the Russian ‘Channel One’ about the existence of Western-controlled biological laboratories in Georgia and Ukraine are disinformation. The narrative about “dangerous experiments” taking place in such “biolaboratories” is part of the Kremlin’s propaganda, used to discredit the relationship between the USA and its partners, including Georgia and Ukraine.
Disinformation №1: Confirmed cases of tropical fever in Georgia were not “imported from abroad” and the center of infection existed in Georgia. In Lugar, there is a “factory” for breeding mosquitoes that spread dangerous diseases.
In fact, instead of breeding insects that later spread various dangerous diseases, the Lugar Center monitors the species of mosquitoes that spread dangerous viruses in order to maintain a normal epidemiological situation. Among the insects that spread dengue fever (tropic fever) are two species of mosquitoes: Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Both of them can be found in Georgia. Since 2014, in order to prevent the worsening of the epidemic situation in the country and to protect public health, these species of mosquitoes have been monitored by the Lugar Laboratory.
After voicing the claims by the Russian media, “Myth Detector” contacted Paata Imnadze, Deputy Director-General of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. According to Imnadze, the accusations of the Russian media are absurd, while the activities of the laboratory are transparent.
In November 2018, an international visit under the auspices of the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Biological and Toxic Weapons took place in Georgia to ensure the transparency of the activities of the Lugar Center. Biosafety experts from 20 countries visited the Lugar Lab. Despite the invitation from Georgia, Russia refused to participate in the visit. After the visit, international experts prepared a report, which was presented at the meeting of member states of the Convention on Biological Weapons at the Geneva office of the United Nations. The report noted that
“The facility demonstrated significant transparency about its activities. The visiting team observed nothing that was inconsistent with prophylactic, protective and other peaceful purposes…All the equipment and infrastructure observed was relevant to the prophylactic, protective and other peaceful research and diagnostic purposes stated by the visited facility.”
The Lugar laboratory has been visited by journalists a number of times. According to Paata Imnadze, in 2018, along with other journalists, Rima Berulava, the author of the story on Russian Channel One, also visited the center.
Disinformation №2: A particularly virulent strain of African swine fever, later found in Russia and Europe, was developed at the Lugar Lab.
Linking the African swine fever to Lugar Lab is a Kremlin conspiracy. The African swine fever epidemic started in 2007, while the Lugar laboratory in Georgia was opened in 2011. Presumably, in 2007, African swine fever entered Georgia from East Africa through contaminated pork products. After the disease spread to Europe in 2007, a second large-scale outbreak began in China in 2018.
Notably, in 2021, the KGB of so-called South Ossetia claimed that the African swine fever was spread from Georgia to the territory of the Tskhinvali region and linked the virus to the Lugar laboratory.
- Disinformation of the so-called “South Ossetian” KGB, as if the African Swine Fever Virus is Spreading from Georgia
Disinformation №3: The Lugar Lab conducted experiments on the spread of Bird Flu and studied the ways of the disease’s transmission from animals to humans.
The purpose of the Lugar Center is to protect Georgian citizens from epidemics and infectious diseases. Instead of experimenting with the ways of transmission of various diseases from animals to humans, the center works in the direction of modern diagnosis and prevention of epidemics in humans and animals.
Not to mention, the following labs operate in the center to diagnose the following diseases: rota viruses, invasive meningitis, malaria, antibiotic resistance, diphtheria and salmonellosis. The center has international ISO accreditation in clinical laboratory research.
Disinformation №4: In the post-Soviet space, dangerous experiments were conducted on cholera strains and Siberian ulcers in the territory of American laboratories, while the Ukrainian laboratories specialized in the spread of cholera, typhoid and hepatitis through “water channels.”
Notably, the disinformation that the American Biolabs in Ukraine were working on the spread of cholera, typhoid and hepatitis through ’water channels’ was disseminated by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation on April 14, 2022.
On the second day of the press conference, the Scientific and Technological Center of Ukraine denied the accusations of the Ministry of Defense of Russia. The organization noted that its goal is to support peaceful scientific activities. The Ukrainian Science and Technology Center said in a statement that it played a vital role in changing the profile of the scientists involved in the USSR’s weapons development programs. The information about the activities of the center is public. The organization publishes reports on both its activities and funding sources annually. The Scientific and Technological Center of Ukraine is not related to any kind of biological weapons development program.
Disinformation №5: Medicines not yet approved in the US were tried on patients in the Kharkiv psychiatric hospital
Clinical trials of drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, depression, bipolar disorder, hallucinations and other mental disorders were conducted on the basis of Psychiatric Hospital No. 3 in Kharkiv. Information about this is published on the website of the State Expertise Center of Ukraine.
Participation in the research was purely voluntarily and required informed consent. This issue is regulated by the legislation of Ukraine. If the medicinal product being studied belongs to narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, then the clinical testing of drugs is carried out in accordance with the requirements of the legislation on narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances. Drug testing takes place in four phases and is a normal process before drug release.
Information related to all clinical trials of medicinal products in Ukraine is not confidential and is available in open sources. Clinical testing protocols are published on the website of the State Expert Center of Ukraine. Information about clinical trials and their results is published on the website of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.
Disinformation about the alleged biological experiments being carried out in the hospitals of Kharkiv was fact-checked by the “Myth Detector” in the past as well. See the article here.
Disinformation №6: A number of people infected with Hepatitis C died in 2015. Before their death, they were given medicine at the Lugar Center, which was not licensed yet.
Disinformation related to Hepatitis C has been disseminated in both Georgian and Russian media since 2018. In particular, the former Minister of Defense of Georgia, Igor Giorgadze, claimed that secret experiments on the population are being conducted in the Lugar laboratory within the framework of the Hepatitis C program, due to which many people died in unclear circumstances. According to them, an experimental drug is produced in the Lugar laboratory, which costs USD 80,000, and is free for the Georgian population. At different times, Channel One, Россия-24, РЕН ТВ, “Звезда” НТВ, Sputnik-Georgia’s Russian-language website and Georgian-language Saqinform have disseminated the above-mentioned information.
This is misinformation, because the Lugar laboratory participates in the hepatitis C elimination program only in the diagnostic part, and not directly in the treatment process.
For more information on the Hepatitis C Elimination Program and the Lugar Laboratory’s role in this process, see the following article by the Myth Detector:
- Giorgadze’s Claims about Hepatitis C Treatment Program Allegedly Causing Death are Groundless
- Why is Sovaldi Listed Among Vital Medications in Russia Considered “Dangerous” at Lugar Lab?
Disinformation №7: Biological laboratories operating in the post-Soviet space are linked to Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Bident. According to Channel One, Biden’s links with bio labs are confirmed by the leaked documents from his computer.
According to the claim of Channel One, Hunter Biden helped the company Metabiota to acquire funds in the amount of millions of dollars, while Metabiota itself specializes in conducting dangerous experiments. According to Channel One, Biden’s connection to Metabiota can be confirmed by the documents leaked from his computer. In fact, the leaked documents do not confirm such links. For more details, see:
About the Work of Richard Lugar Center
The Lugar Lab was opened in 2011 under the Framework Agreement signed in 1997 and the Agreement on Cooperation in the Area of Prevention of Proliferation of Technology, Pathogens and Expertise Related to the Development of Biological Weapons signed between the U.S. Department of Defense and the Georgian Defense Ministry in 2002.
In 2013, the laboratory came under the control of the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health, and since 2018, the Government of Georgia has been responsible for the full financing and operation of the Lugar Center and the laboratory network.
The activities of the center include several directions: food safety, protection of Georgian citizens from epidemics and infectious diseases, reduction of the threat of biological disasters, and scientific research direction.
For several years now, Kremlin propaganda has been actively spreading disinformation about the Richard Lugar Central for Public Health. “Myth Detector” has repeatedly fact-checked the false accusations addressed to the center.
What type of organization is “AntiLab Georgia” and who are the Georgian respondents of the Russian Channel One?
The story prepared by the Russian ‘Channel One’ features the participants of the conference “Biological threats and our future” organized by the “Euro-Asian Alliance” and “Antilab-Georgia” on July 3 in the National Library of the Parliament of Georgia, namely: Chairman of the Euro-Asian Alliance Viktor Kusiani, Chairman of the National Unity Council Teimuraz Makaridze and Medical Doctor Tinatin Gotsadze.
“Antilab-Georgia” is a part of the “AntiLab” coalition founded in January 2021, aimed at banning the development of biological weapons. The article prepared about the July 3rd conference notes that the creation of the organization “Antilab-Georgia” was announced at the event, the main goal of which will be to study the dangers of the American biological laboratories operating in Georgia. In addition, the organization aims to inform the public about these laboratories, to ensure their transparency or to close them.
The website of the organization stopbioweapons.org was created on June 9, 2021, and it is registered by the Russian-language provider – reg.ru. The IP address of the website is located in Moscow.
The website of “AntiLab” mentions that in September 2020, at the initiative of the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan and the United Communist Party of Georgia, the collection of signatures for the worldwide elimination of American military biological laboratories began among the communist and labour parties, which was supported by 47 parties. In January 2021, a coalition was formed, which, along with the United Communist Party of Georgia, has the following members: the Socialist Movement of Kazakhstan, the Communist Party of Pakistan, the Socialist Party of Latvia and the Socialist Member of Parliament of Ireland, Paul Murphy.
On June 13, Teimuraz Makaridze, the chairman of the pro-Russian organization “National Unity Council”, published information about the creation of “Antilab-Georgia” on his Facebook profile.
Teimuraz Makaridze is one of the respondents in the story of the Channel One of Russia.
Teimuraz Makaridze and his organization were one of the organizers of the rally held in Gori on May 9, 2022, together with the United Communist Party of Georgia and other pro-Russian groups, demanding the restoration of diplomatic relations with Russia and the termination of the law prohibiting communist symbols. Soviet flags were displayed at the rally, after which the leader of the United Communist Party of Georgia, Temur Fifia, was arrested.
According to the article published on Saqinform, Teimuraz Makaridze was also present at the meeting organized by the “Union of Russian Youth of Georgia” entitled “Danger of the reanimation of fascist ideology for Georgia – Fighting Methods” along with representatives of other pro-Russian organizations.
Another respondent of the story is the chairman of the non-governmental organization Euro-Asian Alliance, Viktor (Koba) Kusiani. The organization was registered on March 28, 2018, and its contact email address is [email protected].
The Euro-Asian Alliance is one of the pro-Russian organizations that appealed to the Prime Minister of Georgia in February 2021 to import Sputnik V, the Russian-made Covid-19 vaccine in Georgia.
The statement stressed that Georgia is negotiating with the COVAX platform, while the data “on the effect on the human body, contraindications and side effects” of the vaccines placed on it are not known, and the Russian vaccine is distinguished by its safety and effectiveness. In addition, the statement noted that those who wish to be vaccinated with Sputnik V in Georgia are deprived of the opportunity, which is a violation of the constitutionally guaranteed right to access to health.
Victor Kusiani ran for the majoritarian candidacy in Bolnisi, Dmanisi, Tetritskaro and Tsalki in the 2020 parliamentary elections. He participated in the elections on behalf of the political party “Georgia” with the number 20.
The party “Georgia” was founded in 2016 at the initiative of the “National Academy of Georgia” and its chairman is Giorgi Liluashvili. At the same time, Liluashvili is one of the leaders of the anti-vaxx “EMI” group, which demands Georgia to leave the World Health Organization. For this purpose, the group’s representatives have submitted a referendum question to the Central Election Commission.
As for Tinatin Gotsadze, she is presented in the story of Channel One as a doctor and a medical scientist.
Amid the pandemic, Gotsadze has been actively spreading anti-vaccine disinformation and questioning the safety of anti-COVID vaccines. For example, Gotsadze claimed that Pfizer causes serious side effects, including blindness, which is disinformation. In addition, Gotsadze has also disseminated disinformation, as if vaccination does not protect a person from the complications of the disease or from death, and there is an epidemic of vaccinated people in different countries of the world, for example, in Israel. She has also claimed that it is possible to place a medicine or vaccination-carrying micro-device on the sticks of PCR tests and to perform “covert” vaccination this way.
Gotsadze is a member of “Lazaros” Association of Inventors, Innovators and Healers of Georgia, founded in 2007.
In 2018-2019, this organization held a Russian-language camp in Tskaltubo called “Friendship First” and invited Russian-speaking students from different countries to participate.
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