Vil Mirzyanov

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Person.png Vil Mirzyanov  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Vil Mirzayanov.png
Born9 March 1935
Starokangyshevo, Bashkortostan, USSR
ResidenceUnited States
NationalityRussian, US?
Alma materLomonosov Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technologies
InterestsSkripal case
Chemist and supporter of Tatar nationalism. He gained notoriety after revealing in the 1990s the existence of a secret program in the USSR and Russia to develop chemical warfare agents of the Novichok family. He moved to the United States after charges were dropped.

Vil Sultanovich Mirzayanov is a chemist, environmental activist and supporter of Tatar nationalism.

Mirzayanov gained notoriety after revealing in the 1990s the existence of a secret program in the USSR and Russia to develop chemical warfare agents of the Novichok family. He published the formulas for some of the Novichoks in 2008 in his book State Secrets: Inside the Russian Chemical Weapons Program. He also was extensively interviewed at the time of the 2018 Skripal case, where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were hospitalized after alleged use of Novichok and his daughter Julia were hospitalized[1] after alleged use of Novichok

Scientists who participated in the development of "Novichok" at the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) claim that Mirzayanov was listed as the Head of Counteraction at technical intelligence - that is, he was responsible for security, and had access to restricted access (potentially confidential) but not classified information[2].

In 1992, Mirzayanov was accused of disclosing state secrets, but in 1994 the case was closed for lack of corpus delicti. Since 1995 he has been living in exile in the USA.

Early life

He was born in a Tatar teacher's family. After graduating from the Dyurtyulinsky Tatar School No. 1 in 1953 with a silver medal, he entered the Lomonosov Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technologies in Moscow.

In May 1965 he defended his dissertation for the degree of candidate of chemical sciences on the topic "Gas chromatographic determination of poorly adsorbing impurities" and from the same year began working at the State Research Institute of Organic Chemistry and Technology. In June 1985, at the same institute, he defended his dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Chemical Sciences.[3]

Until January 1992, he was an employee of GosNIIOKhT. In the period 1986-1990, he held the position of head of the department for countering foreign technical intelligence, and had access to materials of special importance under the first form.[4] According to Leonid Rink, Mirzayanov was a chromatographer responsible for monitoring laboratory effluents (water and air emitted from the laboratory).[5]

In 1992, Mirzayanov and Lev Alexandrovich Fedorov published an article "Poisoned Politics" in the Novosti newspaper, in which they criticized the Russian military-industrial complex and accused the country's supreme power of violating the Chemical Weapons Convention[6] (Russia ratified Convention 5 December 1997). Mirzayanov was accused of divulging state secrets (Article 75, part 1 of the Criminal Code of the RSFSR) and arrested on October 22, 1992. On November 3, Mirzayanov was released from Lefortovo prison on his own recognizance (without bail), but in January 1994 he was arrested again, and on February 22 he was released again. On March 11, 1994, Russian Prosecutor General Alexei Ilyushenko issued a decision to dismiss the criminal case "due to the absence of corpus delicti in Mirzayanov's actions."

After the decision to terminate the criminal case, he was engaged in opposition political activities. He was the chairman of the organizing committee of the Tatar People's Party, which was part of the Federal Democratic Movement of Russia (FDDR).

In 1995 he emigrated to the USA. He lived and worked at Princeton. After emigration, he also searched for works on the history of the ancient Tatars and translated them into Russian and Tatar languages. He translated the book of the Tatar emigrant "Essays from the history of the Tatars" from English into Russian, it was published in Kazan. In 2003, another book was published in Kazan in a popular local publishing house in his translation by the Sinologist Eduard Parker, A Thousand Years from the History of the Tatars. On his website he published his journalistic, polemical works, translations, as well as his autobiographical book "The Challenge".

In 2000, he turned to the UN with a request to give Tatarstan the status of a colonial state. As the reasons for this decision, Mirzayanov said that the republic had actually become a colony a long time ago. The UN refused the request because an individual cannot be recognized as an official applicant.[7]

On October 26, 2008, he was elected to the presidium of the Milli Majlis of the Tatar people[8]. In 2009, at a conference dedicated to the separation of Tatarstan from Russia, Vil Mirzayanov was elected "prime minister of the government in exile"[9]. He signed the 2018 appeal of the Russian opposition "Putin must go".[10]

Skripal case

In March 2018, after the Skripal case, where Sergei Skripal and his daughter Julia were hospitalized[11] after alleged use of Novichok, Mirzayanov said only the Russians can be behind the weapon's use in the poisoning and said he was convinced Russia carried it out as a way of intimidating opponents of President Vladimir Putin. He added that the Russians could argue that maybe someone had synthesized them "and they could make me guilty!"[12] Interviewed by the BBC, he was asked how much was needed to kill a person. He replied:

“To kill a person, you need only 1mg. To be sure, 2mg.”

As to why this didn’t it kill Skripal and his daughter, since they were both allegedly contaminated with far more than 2mg of the stuff, Mirzyanov suggested:

“Maybe the dose was not high enough. Salisbury was rainy and muggy. Novichok breaks down in damp conditions, reducing its toxicity. It’s the Achilles Heel of Novichok.”

Mirzayanov spoke about how Russia maintained tight control over its Novichok stockpile and that the agent is too complicated for a non-state actor to have weaponized. "It's torture. It's absolutely incurable." "I never imagined even in my bad dreams that this chemical weapon, developed with my participation, would be used as terrorist weapons."[13]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Salisbury Poisoning One Year On - An Open Letter to the Metropolitan Policeopen letterRob Slane
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