Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin wanted to rebuild the Red Army, in the mid-1920s, with Planet-of-the-Apes-style troops by crossing humans with apes. This was according to a report in The Scotsman newspaper on 20 December 2005.1

The report claimed that Stalin ordered Russia’s top animal-breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, to use his skills to produce a super warrior. Stalin is said to have told Ivanov, ‘I want a new invincible human being, insensitive to pain, resistant and indifferent about the quality of food they eat.’ In 1926, the Politburo in Moscow passed this request to build a ‘living war machine’ on to the Academy of Sciences, who engaged Ivanov and sent him to West Africa with many thousands of dollars to conduct experiments in impregnating chimpanzees by artificial insemination. In the USSR, a centre was set up in Georgia, Stalin’s birthplace, for the ‘apes’ to be raised.

Ivanov’s experiments in Africa were a total failure. Further experiments in Georgia to use monkey sperm in human volunteers also failed. Ivanov was now in disgrace. For his expensive failure, he was sentenced to five years’ jail, commuted to five years’ exile in Kazakhstan, where he died in 1932, aged 61.1

The authors of the above report do not give any references other than unspecified ‘recently uncovered secret documents’, ‘Moscow archives’ and ‘Moscow newspapers’.1 So how much truth is there in it?….

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