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Transcript of Russian Experimentation
Shavka and Brodyaga
Soviet Poison Laboratory
1921: First poison laboratory within the Soviet secret services was established under the name "Special Office". It was headed by professor of medicine Ignatii Kazakov, according to Pavel Sudoplatov.
First they mde an incision at the base of the large dog’s neck, exposing the jugular vein, the aorta and aa segment of the spinal column. Next they drilled two holes through the bony part of one vertebra and threaded two plastic strings, one red and one white, through each of the holes. This part of the operation took 40 minutes. Shavka was put under narcosis and her head was wrapped in one towel, her torso in another, leaving exposed only the the shaved area round her middle.
Thus prepared, Shavka’s limp form was placed on the operating table alongside Brodyaga. Goriainov made the incision, carefully rolling back Shavka’s skin. Then he and Demikhov, deftly wielding the scalpel, needle and thread, proceeded with infinite pains to expose the small blood vessels, drawing a tight knot of thread around each one in turn as they carved gradually deeper into Shavka’s vitals. Finally Demikhov severed the spinal column.
Although the rest of the body had now been amputated, Shavka’s head and forepaws still retained and used the lungs and heart. Now began the third and mot critical phase of the transplantation. The main blood vessels of Shavka’s head had to be connected perfectly with the corresponding vessels of the host dog.
Soviet scientist Vladimir Demikhov successfully grafted the head and forelegs of a smaller dog, Shavka onto a bigger dog, Brodyaga. Both initially survived the procedure and could see and move around independently. Both died four days later. Demikhov attempted the experiment over 24 times.
Demikhov’s experiments then inspired an American scientist, the pioneering neuroscientist Dr. Robert White, to carry out successful head transplants on monkeys.
Demikhov’s work, while aesthetically disturbing and undoubtedly shocking, led to major gains in organ transplant research without compromising human health. His experiments, especially the organ transplants—he was the first to successfully complete both heart and lung transplants in animals — paved the way for the human version, leading to a procedure that has clearly saved countless lives.
Prisoners." Paul Bogdanor. N.p., n.d. Web. <http%3A%2F%2Fwww.paulbogdanor.com%2Fleft%2Fsoviet%2Fexperiments.html>.
"The KGB's Poison Factory." The Wall Street Journal. N.p., n.d. Web. <http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2FSB111282082770699984>.
"Pick Your Poison—12 Toxic Tales." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://science.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/poison-toxic-tales/>.
"Terrible Effects of Poison on Russian Spy." Mail Online. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-417248/Terrible-effects-poison-Russian-spy-shown-pictures.html>.
"Soviet Scientists Made This Two-Headed Dog." Motherboard. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/soviet-scientists-made-this-two-headed-dog>.
"Russia's Two-Headed Dog." LIFE Google. N.p., n.d. Web. <http://books.google.com/books?id=oUgEAAAAMBAJ&q=two+headed+dog#v=onepage&q&f=false>.
LIFE magazine did a spread that documented the surgery—the scientists allowed a photographer and reporter into the lab to witness the experiment.
In the resultant article Russia’s Two-Headed Dog, published in July, 1959 Edmund Stevens describes the scene
"Demikhov said the little dog was a 9 year-old bitch named Shavka. ‘Shavka,’ he explained, ‘will be cut out for the part of the guest head. The host is over there.’ He pointed to the operating table where a large mongrel lay limp under narcosis. Around its neck and shoulders was a close-shaved area similar to the band around Shavka’s middle. While Shavka kept up her random barking. Demikhov said that there was no record of the big dog’s origin. It was just a strya picked up in the streets by the dogcatcher. Demikhov called it ‘Brodyaga,’ or Tramp, and pointed out that it was indeed a lucky dog. ‘You know the saying: two heads are better than one.’ "
Recently discovered official documents show that Lavrenti Beria, Stalin’s feared security chief, set up a secret poisons laboratory in which deadly substances were administered to more than 100 prisoners who were awaiting execution. They included an American and several Germans and Japanese.
The Poison laboratory of the Soviet secret services, also known as Laboratory 1, Laboratory 12 and “The Chamber”, was a covert poison research and development facility of the Soviet secret police agencies. The Soviets tested a number of deadly poisons on Stalin's prisoners from the Gulag (“enemies of the people”), including mustard gas, ricin, digitoxin and many others. The goal of the experiments was to find a tasteless, odorless chemical that could not be detected post mortem. Candidate poisons were given to the victims, with a meal or drink, as “medication”. These gruesome experiments devised to improve the assassination techniques of communist agents abroad.
By 1945 the tests had enabled Soviet scientists under the direction of Grigory Mairanovsky, a biologist, to develop poisons which could be secreted in pens, walking sticks and other seemingly innocent items and could kill victims swiftly and without trace.
According to Vladimir Bobrenyov, an investigator at the Russian general prosecutor’s office, the poisons were at first administered in food. Mairanovsky’s, a Soviet scientist, reports describe how one of the first victims, a healthy, strong man, “rushed about the cell as his stomach pains worsened... it was clear he understood. He ran to the steel door, blood pouring from his eyes, beating the door with his fists and his feet. He shoved his hand into his slobbering mouth.”
The report describes how he visibly weakened, shrank “and grew quieter and quieter, until he was completely still.”
Sometimes poisons deadly to animals would not kill the prisoners and just produced pains and high fevers. But this was no reprieve. “If they didn’t die, then they’d nurse them back to health and try again,” said Bobrenyov. “They would sometimes make as many as three attempts to kill them until they finally succeeded.”
There were no survivors from the experiments.
In 1945 Mairanovsky’s researchers made a breakthrough with tests on German prisoners. The men died much faster than previous subjects within 14 or 15 seconds of their injections. But the real test came when the bodies were sent to Moscow’s Sklifosovsky hospital for post-mortems. The verdicts: natural causes
However, he wasn't able to perfect the mix he called Injection C and was denied the chance to fully test out his theoris; Vsevolod Merkulov, Beria’s successor, closed down the laboratory in 1945.
When Beria fell from grace after Stalin’s death in 1953, his order to conduct experiments on people was one of the crimes for which he was executed. Mairanovsky was jailed and, according to Bobrenyov, not one of the people who worked in the poison laboratory died of natural causes.
“They hanged themselves, shot themselves, drank themselves to death, or ended up dying in mental institutions,” Bobrenyov said.
"Enemy of the people"