Dastan Eleukenov: Our American partners, when they first saw, they were just shocked by the dimensions, you know... The primary equipment units, in which, basically, the biological agents, that is, anthrax, were produced, they were three storeys high, although in ordinary biological, microbiological industry they would normally be quite small vessels, the size of a samovar, to borrow an example from Russian culture. The test chambers were there as well, there, the place where... the missiles are loaded with warheads containing biological agents, the strategic missiles, which were, of course, aimed more or less at where you and I are standing right now.
Slava Paperno: And all of this was in Stepnogorsk?
Eleukenov: Yes, all of this was in Stepnogorsk. Of course, there were many other places in the Soviet Union where research was done, and development. The reason Stepnogorsk was chosen as the site for the plant was that at a site in Russia there had been a leak of anthr... well, of one of the military biological agents. And as a result, everything there had to be closed down, and the population suffered. But this, too, is unconfirmed information, there was never any official confirmation of this anywhere. And they decided to build there. There's another theory that Stepnogorsk, in addition to being a centre of biological weapons production, was also a place where large quantities of uranium were mined. Which is still the case. And so this town was built specifically for uranium extraction, and when it was built, there were buildings which were not exploited, and so they decided to use them for what they called a refinery. And to disguise its purpose even further, an even larger civilian facility was constructed around it.
Paperno: The Progress plant?
Eleukenov: Progress. Yes, Progress.