The presence in Georgia of a US military bio-laboratory remains an obstacle to the development of economic ties with Russia. This came as a statement by head of Rospotrebnadzor Gennady Onishchenko. In his opinion, the US military structures located on the Georgian territory are not controlled by the authorities of the Republic and are engaged in activities prohibited by conventions in the field of biology.
The Lugar Research Center is named among the most secret objects in Georgia. This center was built for the US money within the space of 5 years, and it immediately became surrounded by legends. Locals were wondering: Why does America need to allocate $ 270 million for building a laboratory in another country? Many suspect that the US spent this money for a good reason. One of the most wide-spread assumptions is that the Americans might produce biological and chemical weapons in Georgia. The great interest of the US in this institution on the Georgian territory is proved by the rank of the guests, who participated in the official opening of the center. Thus, the event was visited by Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Defense Programs Andrew Weber. Half of the staff of the research center consists of military specialists. In general, such a scrupulous attention on the part of the USA cannot but worry the Georgian population, former Minister of State Security of Georgia Valery Khaburdzaniya says.
“This does not enjoy the confidence of the population, because the Americans used not to show any interest in the Georgian economy, but suddenly they got interested in some kind of biological strains and are carrying out some secret operations. The fact that servicemen are working there is suspicious. It is still unknown, why servicemen are working at a civilian facility”.
All this only generates rumors: the spread of avian flu in 2011, epidemic of measles at the end of 2012, hog cholera in 2013. Residents of Georgia associate all misfortunes with the existence of the laboratory. Some mass media have even released information that the Americans were testing some viruses on the Georgian population. Today, almost no one believes the official version that the Research Center is monitoring the epidemiological situation in the Republic, Georgian political analyst Archil Chkoidze says.
“My father lives in a village. And I can say responsibly: hundreds of pigs owned by the local population die every year. And the cause of death is this very virus, which, as they say in the government, was not registered in Georgia for several years. So, I believe that we must study the origin of this virus. And it is preferable that we do it in cooperation with Russian specialists. Because both of us should know, where does this virus come from”.
Archil Chkoidze is even more suspicious of the statement of Director of the mysterious laboratory Giya Kamkamidze about the fact that African hog cholera was not registered in the country for 6 years now.
It is noteworthy that the laboratory in Georgia has supplemented the network of such institutions built by the Americans in a number of European countries, as well as in Thailand, Egypt, Kenya and other regions of the world. And it is a dark military secret, whether this network has some kind of a general purpose, or each facility solves its own specific tasks.