S. Popov: There had always been biological weapons-related designs, and by the early 70s, they had gotten rather impressive. Aerosol formulae were developed for many infectious agents, including the smallpox virus, and that famous incident in Aralsk, when the smallpox virus was sprayed for research purposes... The effect of that biological weapon was so powerful that five hundred grams of dry powder were sufficient to infect people who were up to fifteen kilometers away.
Somehow, it so happened that on the Aral Sea, fifteen kilometers downwind, a research vessel on the Aral Sea was taking water and air samples. Although there was no plan for this vessel to be in any way... to enter the area of infection, but it happened. And the lab assistant who was taking those air and water samples on the deck of the vessel was within the area of infection. Although this was clearly much, much further away than anyone might have expected.
That woman ended up getting infected, and she returned to the town of Aralsk and infected her children. The children then went to school and infected other children and it became clear that an epidemic was gathering force, and the town was closed off entirely from the outside world. Trains stopped running, air traffic came to a halt, and full quarantine measures were put into place. In the Soviet Union, this kind of thing was done most effectively. The upshot was that the epidemic did not go beyond Aralsk. However, some time later, Burgasov, the Surgeon-General of the Soviet Union, remarked on the incident, stating that we, meaning the Soviet Union, had displayed the might of our biological weapons and that whatever it was that the Americans somewhere over there had at some point regarded as an effective weapon was far, far inferior to what we had demonstrated in Aralsk.