Slava Paperno: So, you were supposed to design new pathogens and a new vaccine at the same time. New pathogens and a new vaccine. Meaning that you were developing offensive and defensive weapons simultaneously?
Sergei Popov: Ideally, yes, but it we take into account that one of the goals was to design vaccine-resistant agents, then it becomes clear that from that standpoint, at least, the goal of simultaneously designing a defense... both defensive weapons, and offens... a means of defense and offensive weapons was impossible. How is it possible to create a defense against a formula which by definition is supposed to be resistаnt to all defensive measures?
Paperno: And which of the two goals was number one?
Popov: Well, basically... basically, these goals were always on an equal footing. To design formulae that were resistаnt to antibiotics, design formulae that were resistant to vaccines, design formulae that would prevent identification of the agent, detection and diagnosis. That is, it's obvious that this... this was, basically, to put it bluntly, these were Satanically evil goals that were set. When no one thought about saving humanity, or about saving people who could potentially have been infected by these agents.
Paperno: And what about saving one's own troops, if the adversary happened to have the same weapon?
Popov: I cannot answer that question. I can't answer, because that question was never raised or discussed. Apparently, the idea was that the advantage... the Soviet Union's unilateral advantage was so great that... there was not even any expectation of an attack by the other side using these means. And indeed, history did show that the United States gave no serious thought to the use of such agents, uh-huh, and even more than that, it built its previous biological program around agents which caused only a partial loss of the soldier's capacity to, let's say, engage in combat, incapacitating agents, [as they're called in English], rather than agents which killed forces outright. In the Soviet program, everything was the reverse. No one was interested in agents that merely diminished a soldier's capacity to engage in combat. We absolutely had to design... the question was put with utter clarity: the agent should do nothing other than kill, and it should kill in a highly effective manner.