Sunday, February 22, 2009

About my book


New Book Reveals How One Man Blew the Whistle on Russia’s Chemical Weapons Program – And Shocked the World

January 13, Denver, CO and Princeton, NJ – Vil S. Mirzayanov made international headlines for blowing the whistle on Russia’s illicit chemical weapons program, bravery that later landed him in prison on trumped-up charges of revealing “state secrets.” Now, a stunning autobiography sheds new light on the incident – widely regarded as the “first test” of Russian democracy – and the mystery-shrouded operation that produced some of the world’s most insidious killing technology.

“State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program” (Outskirts Press; takes readers behind the scenes and into the ominous halls of GOSNIIOKhT – the Soviet Union’s and, later, Russia’s most advanced chemical weapons laboratory. And it provides fresh insights into the personalities, political machinations and intrigue surrounding the country’s military industrial complex.

For decades, GOSNIIOKhT produced some of the most lethal substances known to man. Then, researchers there developed something that would top the entire world’s nerve agents: dubbed Novichok – for “newcomer” – these binary nerve gasses were at least 8 to 10 times as powerful as any other chemical weapon. Despite Russia’s leaders’ assurances to the contrary, they were lying to the international community and to their own people. Until now Novichok has remained cloaked in secrecy and has evaded control by the Chemical Weapons Convention, placing its effectiveness in doubt.

Spurred by the sense that he was involved in a criminal enterprise, and by concerns over the facility’s environmental side-effects, Mirzayanov went public with details of the weapon in Russian newspapers in 1991. After an interview with the Baltimore Sun and an article in Moscow News, authorities took notice – and promptly sent the mild-mannered chemist to the notorious Lefortovo Prison in 1992. What followed was a sensational story for the Russian and Western press and an early litmus test of the Russian government’s commitment to openness, honesty and democracy.

State Secrets documents in compelling detail Mirzayanov’s epic struggle for justice in a country whose legal system was still more firmly rooted in Kafka than a constitution. How he managed to triumph from within a cramped prison cell, rally international pressure around him and become the first person in 70 years to actually sue the Russian government is ultimately a story at least as compelling as the development of Novichok.

While many of Mirzayanov’s revelations and arrest have been well documented, never before has there been such a complete account of how Soviet and Russian elite military and scientific institutions functioned as told from the inside. Incompetence, nepotism – and above all – fear, prevailed, as Mirzayanov shows in this richly detailed and engagingly told account. But against this backdrop, great courage was also possible – from the scientists who joined the Russian democratic movement to the journalists who told the truth to an entire world for the first time.

“State Secrets: An Insider’s Chronicle of the Russian Chemical Weapons Program” is now available through Ingram, Baker & Taylor,,, and the online bookstore of Outskirts Press, at

Book Statistics
PB: 978-1-4327-2566-2
HB: 978-1-4327-1923-4
Suggested Retail Price(s):
PB: US$29.95, CAN$37.95
HB: US$43.95, CAN$54.95
Size and Format(s): 6 x 9 Paperback, 6x9 Hardback w/Jacket
Page Count: 624

About the Author: Vil S. Mirzayanov was born in 1935 in a rural village in Bashkortstan, Russia. He is the recipient of numerous scientific and civic honors, including the Heinz R. Pagels Human Rights of Scientists Award, the Cavallo Foundation’s award for Moral Courage in Business and Government, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1995 and currently lives in Princeton, NJ.

Author Contact: Visit him on the Web at

About Outskirts Press, Inc.: Outskirts Press, Inc. offers full-service, custom self-publishing services for authors seeking a cost-effective, fast, and flexible way to publish and distribute their books worldwide while retaining all their rights and full creative control. Available for authors globally at and located on the outskirts of Denver, Colorado, Outskirts Press represents the future of book publishing, today.

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Outskirts Press, Inc., 10940 S. Parker Rd - 515, Parker, Colorado 80134

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