For residents of the outskirts of Alma-Ata, it is not at all a secret that in their neighborhood there is an object on which a state-rebuilt facility is located, on which, until recently, US military doctors and scientists worked in the strictest secrecy.

For residents of the outskirts of Alma-Ata, it is not at all a secret that in their neighborhood there is an object on which a state-rebuilt facility is located, on which, until recently, US military doctors and scientists worked in the strictest secrecy.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

– Why didn’t your peacekeepers take this center under protection? – Asked me a woman, whom I so directly and asked the way to the American biological laboratory.

For residents of the outskirts Alma-Ata it is not a secret at all that next to them there is an object rebuilt by the states, where until recently they worked in the strictest secrecy US military doctors and scientists. They placed their “Central Reference Laboratory” on the basis of the National Scientific Center for Especially Dangerous Infections named after Masgut Aikimbaev.

Information appeared in social networks that on January 6, at the height of the pogroms, terrorists seized and plundered the Center. Considering that we are talking about research on deadly viruses and their strains, the consequences could be catastrophic. However, the information about the looting was not confirmed. But in those days a certain group of people tried to get inside.

The information about the looting was not confirmed.  But in those days a certain group of people tried to get inside.

The information about the looting was not confirmed. But in those days a certain group of people tried to get inside.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

The perimeter of the Center is impressive. Thick fences with a double layer of barbed wire, gate gates, as in the most guarded strategic objects, cameras, as in a television reality show … In short, atypical for medical and scientific institutions. Behind the checkpoint is the very laboratory, to the first floor of which, according to some media reports, terrorists managed to break through.

In fact, as local residents told me, the attackers broke only one of the checkpoint windows. Now it is covered with a carpet. However, the window is protected by a lattice, with which the bandits could not cope.

– These are all fakes! – cut off a man who left the checkpoint and introduced himself as a security officer. But I couldn’t explain anything about the window.

It is curious that, according to unofficial data, representatives ОДКБ proposed to include this center in the list of objects protected by peacekeepers. However, the Kazakh side assured that it will cope on its own. Although the strengthening of the security regime around him is not visible. Neither an armored personnel carrier nor, at least, a patrol car …

Who the attackers were is unknown, it is unlikely that ordinary marauders were interested in the contents of American laboratories. Probably, some forces were not very persistent, but still tried to gain access to what could be used as biological weapons.

In fact, as local residents told me, the attackers broke only one of the checkpoint windows.

In fact, as local residents told me, the attackers broke only one of the checkpoint windows.

Photo: Alexander KOTS

This facility is one of a whole network of similar ones deployed in almost all the former Soviet republics. Judging by the open data, new strains of plague, smallpox, anthrax, cholera, brucella and other deadly diseases are being studied there and the ways of their spread. At the same time, this is a coincidence, over the years of functioning of such biological laboratories, outbreaks of dangerous diseases have been recorded on the territory of these countries. For example, for the Uzbek center, opened in 2007, the Pentagon allocated a grant to study brucellosis. A year later, a sharp jump in this disease was recorded in the region. And in 2013, in the Alma-Ata laboratory, research began on the Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever and its spread by ticks. A year later, biologists noted an outbreak of fever carried by these insects. Some experts believe this is the result of field trials. However, at the state level, investigations of infectious outbreaks were not conducted anywhere.

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