Shikhany 1987
In 1987 the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva was invited by the USSR to visit one of the main Soviet chemical warfare bases. This was the one in Shikhany, a closed town on the Volga, some 750 kms SE of Moscow.

For decades, the Soviet Union had denied it possessed chemical weapons. The Shikhany visit was one of the moves by Mikhail Gorbachev to end the deadlock in the Geneva talks about a treaty banning chemical weapons.

I was one of the few journalists (and the only Geneva-based one) to be invited for the visit. The treaty (the 'Chemical Weapons Convention') was signed in 1993 and entered into force in 1997.

For an official program of the Shikhany visit, see

All pictures © Hans de Vreij
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