During the years post-World War II through the fall of communism, the Soviet Union created and ran the most advanced biological warfare program that has ever existed. At its peak, they were producing tons of weaponized anthrax spores (highly drug resistant), smallpox virus, Marburg and Ebola viruses, Francisella tularensis, Burkholderia mallei, and a host of hybrid organisms. When Communism fell, a nagging question in my mind is what happened to these organisms? Even if the vast amounts were destroyed or eventually became non-viable, seed stocks could have been easily created and disseminated to a number of ex-Biopreparate scientists who, unable to get decent jobs in the new Russia, left for more profitable pursuits.
Although there is little danger of these organisms wiping out large portions of the population, they could be used on a limited basis and the resulting panic could be devastating. Recall what happened following the 911 anthrax scare.
Does the current Russian government maintain a biowarfare program? I have no idea. If they do, it is probably not on the former scale. But with molecular methods widespread these days, it's fairly easy to create a monster. I'll discuss some of the ways in which bugs are weaponized in future blogs. For now, think about it.