Talk:Novichok agent

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Looks like we may soon see official confirmation of at least one Novichok agent structure once they release details of what was used to poison Skripal and his daughter. Now the question for us is, do we create a new page for this specific compound or just add details to the general page here? It will certainly meet WP:N given the high profile of this poisoning incident! Meodipt (talk) 20:56, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

VX for example has a separate page from Nerve agent, so I anticipate the same for any specific Novichok agent. I suspect detailed and reliably sourced information will be as rare as rocking horse shit for quite some time, however. Neil S. Walker (talk) 11:59, 13 March 2018 (UTC)
It seems someone on Portuguese Wikipedia has made a page for one specific compound, what looks like the parent structure for the phosphoryl-dihalooxime series [1] not sure it would meet WP:N on but that may change as more sources emerge. Meodipt (talk) 21:15, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
The Russian ambassador to the UK reportedly claims to have been told that the responsible agent is A-234, according to BBC news [2] Now the question is, which structure is the correct one? The experts seem to be leaning towards Mirzayanov's structures as indeed being the genuine ones, but I'm not sure that one article in Chemical & Engineering News is sufficient WP:RS to create the page just yet... Meodipt (talk) 11:19, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
I'm losing track of all this. The table below shows the agents that Mirzayanov disclosed in his testimony to Congress in 1995:

Source: Mirzayanov, Vil (1995), "Dismantling the Soviet/Russian Chemical Weapons Complex: An Insider's View", Global Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Hearings Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Governmental Affairs, 104th Cong., pp. 393–405

Name Type Research site Test site Production site Notes
Substance 33
  • Unitary agent
  • Similar to VX
  • Precursor to Novichok
GosNIIOKhT (Moscow) Shikhany Novocheboksarsk
  • Also known as VR and R-33
  • Developers: Sergei Ivin, Leonid Soborovsky, and Iya Shilakova
  • 15,000 tons produced
  • Declared as VX
  • Unitary agent
  • Precursor to Novichok
GosNIIOKhT (Shikhany) Nukus
  • Lead developer: Pyotr Kirpichov
  • Tested between 1988-89
  • Adopted by military as a weapon in 1990
  • Produced in low quantities (10s of tons)
  • Unitary agent
  • Precursor to Novichok
GosNIIOKhT (Shikhany)
  • Shikhany
  • Nukus
  • Shikhany
  • Volgograd
  • Lead developer: Pyotr Kirpichov
  • Not approved as a weapon by military
  • Produced in experimental quantities ("a few tons")
Novichok-5 GosNIIOKhT (Moscow) Nukus
  • Shikhany
  • Volgograd
  • Lead developers: Igor Vasiliev and Andrei Zheleznyakov
  • Tested between 1989-90
  • Approved as a weapon by the military in 1989
  • Produced in experimental quantities ("a few tons")
  • Binary chemical weapon
  • Based on Substance 33
GosNIIOKhT (Moscow and Shikhany)
  • Shikhany
  • Nukus
  • Shikhany
  • Novocheboksarsk
  • No established name
  • Tested between 1989-90
  • Adopted by the military as a weapon in 1990
  • Produced in experimental quantities (10s of tons)
  • Binary chemical weapon
  • 10 times more effective than Soman
GosNIIOKhT (Moscow) Shikhany Shikhany
  • Lead developer: Georgi Drozd
  • Tested in 1993
  • Produced in experimental quantities (10s of tons)

So which is A-234? Neil S. Walker (talk) 11:54, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

Okay, my copy of Mirzayanov's book was just delivered; let's see if it clarifies the position. Neil S. Walker (talk) 12:32, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

See the diagram in the Chemical & Engineering News article for the most likely structure, the one the VÁSÁRHELYI and FÖLDI article says is the ethyl-analog of A-232. Looks like Novichok-7 is the binary form of A-234. Meodipt (talk) 18:24, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
In your chart where it says "Precursor to Novichok" it would be more accurate to say "Product of Novichok", i.e. the binary components of Novichok-5 react to form the unitary compound A-232. The precursors for the Novichok are what the binary components are made from. Meodipt (talk) 18:41, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

Just leafing through Mirzayanov's book again, there are a few clarifications that could be added to the main article

  • Mirzayanov does not actually compare anything to VX, as the Soviets did not use VX, all his comparisons are to Substance 33 (i.e. VR (nerve agent). Not that it makes much difference as VX and VR are reportedly equipotent, but if we are citing Mirzayanov we should be saying "5-8x stronger than VR" and if citing Western experts they all say "stronger than VX" instead.
  • He states that A-230 is 5x - 8x stronger than VR but this depends on route ("toxicity...was up to 5-8 times higher", p143), i.e. 5x stronger for transdermal exposure and 8x stronger when administered intravenously.
  • He says A-232 is actually weaker, "has the same toxicity as Substance 33" but had the advantage of higher volatility, not freezing at low temperature and not containing a P-C bond (relevant to CWC controls)
  • I can't actually see a mention of the specific toxicity of A-234, he says the guanidine analogues A-242 and A-262 are "ultra highly toxic" and that they are solids not liquids like the earlier ones, but doesn't say how toxic (i.e. are they as potent as A-230)
  • The only specific Novichok agent he mentions that I can see is Novichok-5, the binary of A-232. Other sources mention Novichok -7, -8 and -9 as well but there are four possible unitary compounds (A-230, A-234, A-242 and A-262). We might presume that A-230 has a lower Novichok number and Novichok-7, -8 and -9 correspond to the binary agents for A-234, A-242 and A-262 but Mirzayanov doesn't state this explicitly and the other sources are also all quite vague.

So barely enough to make an article for A-234 here, if it is confirmed by OPCW that this was the agent that was used to poison the Skripals then it is certainly notable enough, but it would be nice to have more sources. I suppose there will probably be a great deal more published research on this class of compounds in the next few years after they have suddenly been given such a high profile anyway! Meodipt (talk) 20:15, 17 March 2018 (UTC)

  • While citing Mirzayanov is fine (and including such Table to the page is also probably fine), there is no way to claim that the Table was complete and make your own conclusions based on that. My very best wishes (talk) 14:25, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

The Iranian spectroscopic study is actually very interesting. Note (i) they synthesized all the compounds themselves, and (ii) these are all new structures, not in Hoenig / Ellison or Mirzayanov. However they are very similar to the guanidine derivatives Mirzayanov identifies as A-242 and A-262. This tells us that the Iranians have been carrying out genuinely independent third-party research on the Novichoks (i.e. independent from both Russia and NATO), and that they consider Mirzayanov's structures as being the more reliable. However note that if Mirzayanov is correct, the structures listed by Hoenig / Ellison that were cited to Soviet literature, are indeed still nerve agents developed under the Foliant program, they are just weaker examples not the super potent agents developed for military use. Meodipt (talk) 20:15, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

I am not entirely sure what is the relationship between Substance 33 and Novichok. In the Table it was included as a precursor. Is that correct? My very best wishes (talk) 21:05, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Substance 33 is another name for VR (nerve agent), which in its unitary form is a "classic" V-series agent, developed before the start of the Foliant research program. However the binary form of Substance 33 was apparently the first agent described as a "Novichok" (presumably Novichok-1 though this is not specified in the sources). The distinction is relevant to discussion of the poisoning of Kivelidi, as apparently it was unitary Substance 33 that was smeared on his office telephone handset, not the binary form - so technically not a Novichok agent, despite being made in the same lab. Strictly speaking, if the Skripals were poisoned with unitary A-234 then that is not a Novichok agent either, only the binary forms had a Novichok designation according to the sources. Meodipt (talk) 21:22, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you for clarification. That helps. So, the unitary and the binary forms of Substance 33 - are they chemically different, and what is the difference? Our current page shows only one compound. My very best wishes (talk) 01:29, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
The unitary form is the finished nerve agent as shown on the page. The binary form is two compounds that react together to form the unitary agent. Mirzayanov's version shows 2-(diethylamino)ethanethiol reacting with an organophosphate that looks like VR but with a -CN replacing the -S- fragment. Not sure if alternative chemistry to this has been suggested - the binary version of VX is quite different. Meodipt (talk) 01:48, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
Regarding the A-232 agent

Mirzayanov explicitly states that A-232 is a phosphate (and not a phosphamide, for example) in his 2009 article:

Next, agent A-232 doesn’t belong to the class of phosphonates, as all other known phosphor organic chemical agents do. It is a phosphate, like many pesticides. Phosphates are not listed among the controlled chemicals on the CWC lists. In order to hide it more effectively, they synthesised and started producing a decoy pesticide, based on a component of the binary version of A-232. Laboratory tests at GosNIIOKhT confirmed the high efficiency of this binary of A-232, and so, on October 6 1989, the First Secretary of the Central Committee of the CPSU and future Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mikhail Gorbachev signed Resolution N 518-33 to begin mass development and testing of this agent.

Major General Nikolay Antonov writes in his 1994 book that (quoted per US DoD National Air Intelligence Center translation with a minor and pretty obvious correction of 'ether' to 'ester'):

Replacement in analogs of VX of methyl group by methoxyl in some cases makes it possible to obtain substances with toxicity comparable with toxicity of VX. Observation in esters of phosphoric acid of levels of toxicity comparable with levels of toxicity of esters of methylphosphonic acid, is, first of all, of only scientific, not practical interest.

I don't believe Antonov didn't know about adoption of the binary A-232, most likely he was being deceptive ('nothing to see here'), however it may be relevant to cover this aspect in the article. By the way, four Ellison's supposed Novichok agents from C01-A035 to C01-A038 have a methoxy group, don't have a P-C bond, and are esters of phosporic acid (in other words, organic phosphates like Dichlorvos). Ain92 (talk) 23:09, 23 March 2018 (UTC)

Interesting how similar dichlorvos is to some of the claimed dihalooxime structures like Ellison's C01-A035 (see link to above). Phoxim is pretty close too. Also interesting that structure that is purported to have been identified in the Kivelidi case. That certainly isn't Substance 33 at any rate, looks more like GV (nerve agent) but with ethoxy in place of the fluoro. Meodipt (talk) 05:00, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
Antonov's claim that (to paraphrase), methyl --> methoxy analogues of known V-agents were also made in the Foliant program is also intriguing, and sounds plausible. If Uglev's estimate is accurate that several hundred novel compounds were made during this research, it is entirely possible that all of the claimed structures are genuine, the real question is more as to which of these compounds are the four that were weaponised. Still there seems to be consensus among most sources that Mirzayanov's structures are the right ones. Meodipt (talk) 05:41, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Regarding the structure from the Kivelidi case forensic analysis which I uploaded to Wikimedia Commons and added to this article I received a piece of information I can't prove and not going to disclose (at least yet) which made me doubt the correctness of this structural formula made by a forensic science center of the Internal Affairs Ministry and Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution of the RAS. I analysed the bits of technical information in the article in Novaya Gazeta and my doubts strengthened. How are you going to add fluorine–which was definitely present in the substance according to GosNIIOKhT forensic analysis–to that molecule? There's no hydroxyl near the phosphorus atom to assume the fluorine left after the agent underwent hydrolysis (-F + H20 → -OH + HF). And how is it actually supposed to bind to the AChE serin esteratic site? Ain92 (talk) 09:39, 25 March 2018 (UTC)
Yes I did wonder myself where the leaving group was in that structure to allow it to bind to the serine OH group. I suppose it would not be that surprising for them to present a false structure to the court if they wanted to protect the secret structures. Maybe it was Substance 33 after all. Still from WP perspective, court documents are RS, I suppose we just have to say this is the structure presented to the court that was claimed to be the compound involved. Meodipt (talk) 19:04, 25 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Well, the 'civil' (police/RAS) analysts who did publish the formula couldn't have had the security clearance to know the actual formula while GosNIIOKhT apparently omitted a formula from its analysis. I propose to use Hanlon's razor here and assume that if the formula is incorrect, more likely it's due to imprecise analysis than due to conspiracy. And if it actually was R-33 aka A-208 after all, why would Uglev claim otherwise? Regarding the reliability, I agree. Ain92 (talk) 00:08, 26 March 2018 (UTC)
Actually if the GosNIIOKhT analysis found fluorine then the molecule can't have been Substance 33 either (no fluorine). The compound pictured in the Novaya Gazeta article looks like a nerve agent simulant, the kind of non-toxic but structurally related compound that might be used to test protective equipment etc. Mind you replace the oxygen in the dimethylaminoethoxy group with a sulphur and I bet it would be plenty toxic. Still no fluorine in there though! Meodipt (talk) 02:46, 26 March 2018 (UTC)
  • And BTW, Zheleznyakov got poisoned with A-232 according to Mirzayanov memoir. Ain92 (talk) 09:39, 25 March 2018 (UTC)
Interestingly this book Inhalation Toxicology (2014) suggests a third possible structure for A-232 and A-234, like Hoenig's but missing the oxime O so it is just a fluorochloroimine (and so actually making them more similar to Mirzayanov's structures). Since the book postdates Hoenig's it is probably just a mistake copying them over, but it could be someone's creative attempt to reconcile Hoenig's structures with the longstanding claim of acetonitrile being one of the components of the binary agent. Meodipt (talk) 10:03, 29 March 2018 (UTC)
Yet another suggested Novichok structure can be found on this page [3] which is largely but not entirely a copy of the old version of the page (i.e. as it was prior to the Skripal poisoning) but includes some images from elsewhere, including the one depicting this compound CCN(CC)CCSP(C)(=O)N=C(C)F which is like VR but with the isobutoxy replaced by a fluoro-imine. Wonder where that one was sourced from! Meodipt (talk) 23:05, 4 April 2018 (UTC)
The page claims this compound (on left) to be the parent structure from which both the Novichok agents and GV (nerve agent) were derived Novichok sctructures.png Meodipt (talk) 10:12, 17 May 2018 (UTC)
This Spanish page [4] has another suggested Novichok structure, like C01-A035 but with ethoxy rather than methoxy and =S instead of =O. Again no source provided unfortunately. Meodipt (talk) 10:07, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
Uglev's list of Novichok agents

GosNIIOKhT syntethic chemist Vladimir Uglev who worked with Mirzayanov and blowed the whistle to support him in 1990s gave his largest interview since 1993 (both links are English translations, even though maybe not the best ones) where he refused to comment on certain classified technicalities but otherwise gave a lot of useful information. For example he listed (under his own codenames) unitary agents which can be referred as __Novichoks__, three from the Foliant program and a subsequent one:

  1. A-1972, developed by Pyotr Kirpichyov in 1972, liquid;
  2. B-1976, developed by himself in 1976, liquid;
  3. C-1976, developed by himself in 1976, liquid;
  4. D-1980, developed by Kirpichyov in early 1980s, 'can be in powder form'.

BTW he also claims not a single binary was weaponized, at least before 1994. Ain92 (talk) 23:46, 23 March 2018 (UTC)


I'm reading Mirzayanov's memoir now (like it so much, strongly recommended) and found out today that Mirzayanov himself actually wasn't cleared for binary R&D himself and first heard about it in a celebration after the GosNIIOKhT bosses had been awarded for the binary, despite heading the department of countermeasures against foreign technical intelligence services in this research institute (head of a organization department in Russian terms is roughly equivalent to Chief Officer position in a Western company) and holding the highest security clearance (so-called first form for documents classified as osoboy vazhnosti, may be analogous either to TS or TS/SCI in the US – in the military industry AFAIK usually the latter, e.g. military operation requirements for a nuclear device of a new warhead design being developed were classified OV, but compartmentation complicates the comparison, the details being out of scope of this post). As Mirzayanov points out in his interview to Kommersant-FM, Uglev as a senior engineer most likely haven't been cleared either, and the documents he managed to copy from his criminal case prove successful development of the binaries beyond any reasonable doubt. Ain92 (talk) 09:39, 25 March 2018 (UTC)


I'm reading the Russian original of the memoir and I heard the English translation is pretty bad, that's so sad. =( As a side note, I added to the article a mention of Uglev's 1998 interview when he actually confirmed development of the binary A-232. Ain92 (talk) 19:50, 28 March 2018 (UTC)

Fourth generation[edit]

See for example [5] (US Dept of Defense), [6] (US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations), [7] (US Senate Committee on the Judiciary), [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13], etc etc. Recognised term. Neil S. Walker (talk) 14:05, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Jsrkiwi has again removed the term, claiming—without offering evidence—that it "is disputed by academics" and—without offering evidence—that he is "an expert in the field". The term is clearly in widespread use by academics and one might be forgiven for suspecting Jsrkiwi is now simply being pointy. Neil S. Walker (talk) 20:41, 12 March 2018 (UTC)

Agree. Besides, the book by Birstein (quoted on the page) provides some historical details - according to Mirzayanov. It was first developed by Pyotr Kirpichev in 1973. In 1987 chemist Andrey Zhelezov was accidently exposed to the gas, but he died much later, in 1992. My very best wishes (talk) 02:20, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

There is a very clear and concise list of "Generations of classical lethal chemical weapons"—published in table form in the journal Toxinshere. (Pitschmann, Vladimír (2014). "Overall View of Chemical and Biochemical Weapons." Toxins, 6(6), 1761–1784. doi 10.3390/toxins6061761). Neil S. Walker (talk) 08:59, 13 March 2018 (UTC)


I have noted that 14 people (or 18??) have been exposed to the agent in the attack in the UK, it's obvious that the government might want to hush hush that because that would easily classify as a terrorist attack by means of chemical weapons, is there anyone monitoring the health of the affected people?

Because from what is clear from the chemical structure is that these agents suffer hardly any decay, and that might explain the continuous health decline of the affected scientist. That also means that all and any such agents will be permanent environmental load equal to radioactive sources, but actually worse, since radioactive materials can be precisely measured for their activity, while this has no means of showing how damaging to health it is.

I've read in the news that people were angry to know what the long term health implications are. It would be nice to know the mechanisms and how many years or decades if the damage going to progress after any exposure. The exposed policeman is alive and talking, yet still in hospital, does that mean he has 15-20 years to live in ill health? These are all interesting questions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

Judge for yourself on these articles on lifespan:

Allegedly plaintext version of the above here:

"After he had spent eighteen days in intensive care, the doctors managed to save his life. But he was left totally disabled, diagnosed with, among other illnesses, cirrhosis of the liver, toxic hepatitis, and epilepsy. In July 1992, he died."

“if people have no protection and are out in the open. Even if they only breathe fumes they may not die but there could be terrible consequences. Nerve gas can cause mutations in the next generation and in future generations after that.”

It seems that no person exposed has lasted more than five years. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:43, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

Sky News claim to have found someone else that has survived - another scientist:

Novichok -- only binary?[edit]

According to Mirzayanov, only the binary versions are called Novichok, the unitary versions kept their unique names. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:24, 13 March 2018 (UTC)

Well there are other sources too. So we just go by the common use. Graeme Bartlett (talk) 04:30, 14 March 2018 (UTC)


Are there any public data sources with information regarding synthesis, manufacture, or precursors?2600:387:B:9:0:0:0:AA (talk) 15:34, 14 March 2018 (UTC)

As explained in the article, the Novichok agents are a large group of chemicals of the organophosphate class. Synthesis of individual members would be specific to each agent. The article on VX (nerve agent), for example, does discuss its synthesis, although it is not a Novichok. A competent organic chemist could suggest which precursors and synthetic methods would be appropriate once the target Novichok structure had been disclosed. In the particular case of the agent used in the recent Salisbury poisonings this structure is currently highly secret and unlikely to be revealed to the public for some time. --Mikedt10 (talk) 12:07, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
Per article the OPCW Scientific Advisory Board has pointed out there are no peer reviewed papers on Novichok agents. I'm extremely doubtful we should try to put something in this gap! Rwendland (talk) 13:53, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
"Novichok" is properly not a chemical (especially if there is any doubt as to which it is), but someone's product. We wouldn't need peer reviewed papers to say what is in Coca-Cola, or what is known about its manufacture ... same is true here. So long as we have reliable sources that went through some general-level editorial process, that is sufficient to write what is known. Wnt (talk) 00:13, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

GosNIIOKhT near Moscow not in Nukus[edit]

The Soviet State Scientific Research Institute for Organic Chemistry and Technology (GosNIIOKhT) was near Moscow[14][15] not Nukus as claimed, so I plan to remove this offline-cited info until someone can check the cite. We can stick with the NYT + other cites for Nukus until someone can check the book. Rwendland (talk) 12:31, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

Try this link. Neil S. Walker (talk) 13:12, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

wrong translation of Russian name[edit]

The correct English translation of the Russian word "новичок" is "rookie", not "newcomer". English-language media would do well to employ qualified translators. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:00, 15 March 2018 (UTC)

According to Google translate, there are 21 English words that are possible translations of the word "новичок". One of them is "rookie" but "newcomer" seems more reasonable to me in the context of a code-word for a forth-generation chemical warfare reagent. Google ranks "beginner" as the most common translation. --Mikedt10 (talk) 11:28, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Why is the prevalence of a word used in translation as reported by a machine translator, and the assumptions of someone not expert on the Russian language, being used to determine the correct translation of the Russian term? Please, as the URL editor suggests, involve a language-qulified editor; Google Translate, as of 2017, should never be used to settle translation questions that arise. Take the editor's concern seriously, please. (talk) 18:54, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
Reliable sources used throughout the article state that the name was intended as "newcomer". Neil S. Walker (talk) 18:57, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
Then these sources should appear, one or more, with the appearance of the translation, yes? So that questions such as raised by the URL editor are answered a priori, yes? (That is, so it is clear that the translation that is used is not appearing on the basis of WP editor authority.) (talk) 19:00, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
In the Testimony of Vil S. Mirzayanov, the first reference appended to the first sentence, Mirzayanov—a Russian scientist who worked on the program—says it was "known by the secret codename 'novichok' which in Russian means newcomer." Neil S. Walker (talk) 19:13, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
A "rookie" is a newcomer, especially in a military sense, like when conscripts arrive at the military barracks, in that sense, both translations are OK, rookies, as newcomers, usually have to suffer some kind of initiation ritual, etc. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:56, 20 March 2018 (UTC)
"rookie", in English, has the connotation of 'green', 'inexperienced', 'not-fully-skilled'. Eg. "Rookie Wikipedians frequently post unsigned comments." A "rookie" is a subset of "newcomer"; the latter may or may not have the particular qualities usually entailed by "rookie". Obviously chemicals aren't considered to need a break-in period before they come fully up to speed. "rookie" could not possibly carry the full weight of anthropomorphization that is gratuitous to the needs of a suitable translation-term. "Newcomer" will do just fine. JohndanR (talk) 20:06, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

As native Russian speaker I feel that "rookie" is a more accurate term, particularly because it is more narrow — Preceding unsigned comment added by Malexeye (talkcontribs) 00:53, 14 April 2018 (UTC)

The page currently gives the non-word "Новичо́к" when it should be "Новичо́к" as per Russian Wikipedia and the above. I'll change it. Nick Cooper (talk) 09:27, 22 March 2018 (UTC)

Speaking of translations from the Russian, is the correct transliteration of Professor Rink's first name "Leonid" or "Leonard"? At the moment we have both used in different places, and it would be good to be consistent. Meodipt (talk) 00:13, 23 March 2018 (UTC)
Moreover: who is Igor Rink, mentioned at the other section below here? --Itu (talk) 08:48, 27 March 2018 (UTC)
  • This (as well as Leonard Rink) is a misspelling of Leonid Igorevich Rink (ru:Ринк, Леонид Игоревич), the professor who was working out the technology to produce binary Foliant agents in Kirpichyov's laboratory and later convicted for selling the poison. Name Leonid is used on his social media, in registries, Kivelidi case materials etc. Ain92 (talk) 22:34, 27 March 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 16 March 2018[edit]

Update for USA response to appear at the end of the "2018 UK attack" section. (talk) 03:11, 16 March 2018 (UTC) Nikki Haley, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, said: “Let me make one thing clear from the very beginning: the United States stands in absolute solidarity with Great Britain. The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent"— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 03:11, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Not done Topic Scope creep; see Poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Neil S. Walker (talk) 07:57, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

Structure and Formula of Novichok nerve agents and their precursor chemicals[edit]

The structure of a large number of Novichok nerve agents and their precursor chemicals were published in Ellison (2007) (see page 37).[16] This seems odd as other papers I consulted claimed their structure were were unknown. (Guidotti & Trifirò 2016)[17] includes a CAS number for one of the Novichoks (CAS 17642-30-7) but it does not appear in any public databases. I instead traced this CAS number to Ellison (2007). So it appears that the formula for several Novichoks and precursors chemicals have been published in the open literature. The question is where did these formulae come from, are they accurate? --Diamonddavej (talk) 13:31, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

FYI, full text of Ellison is available on HERE. Neil S. Walker (talk) 14:35, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
That text doesn't describe A230-234 or Novichok 5, so far as I can tell, though it lists "precursor" C01-C124 = [[2-Chloro-1-methylpropylphosphinyl]oxy]carbonimidic chloride fluoride / CAS: 24946-19-8 that looks very similar to A234. (chlorine instead of hydroxy) Wnt (talk) 22:11, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Hoenig / Ellison and Mirzayanov respectively show quite different structures for these compounds, with consequent differences in the chemistry. There is a fairly extensive discussion going on about this on the talk page for the Novichok page [18] Meodipt (talk) 22:46, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
A reminder: science in the 1970's worked slightly diferently than it does today in the supercomputerized era. All the chemical structures we get from literature are what their authors believe the chemical compounds looked like according to the theories they believed. The synthesis process and precursors were designed around that as well. But in reality it matters little, as only the final effects in its low concentration in air is what was relevant to the chemical as a product. Byproducts and their concentration also played little role, as long as the substance was overall lethal. While the chemist may have designed the formula around a certain structure, and then a process how to create it from much safer precursors in the field, in reality there must have been many final products, intermediaries and byproducts after the practical field tests. You can't quite control the reaction pressures and temperatures, sun radiation and air disurbances while shelling an area. That is also why the iranian experiments yielded slightly different results than those which were believed to be the compounds in the early 1990's. And again, any and all small shifts in precursor balance and reaction condition will yield many similar compounds in varying proportions. This in practical terms means that the factories that produced tens of tons of the substances, most likely didn't distill any intermediary to 100.000% purity and isomeric form, as the undesired, but still very much lethal compound would have to be dumped or burned somehow, creating slightly less, but still very toxic combustion products. This is one of the reasons why arguing about a certain structure does not make much sense, as the purpose was to mass produce some precursors, react them, package and sell and to guarantee some storage and field effect qualities among other things. I hope everybody noted how one of the compounds was not even considered for industrial production, I vaguely believe this was also due to some corrosion problems. This shouldn't have been the case in only ONE of the compounds, so most likely the reason was the practical production process (the facility, procedure, etc.), which could, for example, generate hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acid, damaging their containers, or swelling the seals. Had the intended compounds been 100.00% pure, had no other byproducts, precursors, isomers, oligomers, humidity or unintended catalysts affecting decay present, we wouldn't have this discussion and we could be sure of the exact chemical structures. But complex chemistry doesn't work this way and rarely you see anything fit nicely in a structure such as NaCl. And anyway, the only real product the customer order cared about were its effects, knowing its exact chemical structure was only secondary. So, it is practically really possible that a substance under one designation could have been two or three slightly different ones depending on the production facility. Ther weren't many modern, reliable, stable and reproducible computerised production processes back then. And the scale-up process also carried alterations of reactions compared to a small-gram process in the research lab. People tend to forget about these things. Want another example? Rarely anyone knows or understands how alumina from bauxite production really works. The way it is taught is not possible.

(you forgot to sign your post with ~~~~)

Yes. Chemistry lab work is traditionally done with reagent grade, pure enough for most purposes. Industrial production, when purity isn't so important, is often technical grade. Ingredients lists commonly state and other isomers, though, as noted, it could be worse. Gah4 (talk) 23:36, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

1995 poisoning[edit]

A slew of post-Skripal news articles have appeared in the media conjecturing that this was caused by a Novichok agent. But prior to this, the poisonous agent was reported as cadmium. Examples: The New York Times, The Independent, LA Times, Washington Post. These newer claims need to be properly examined, and if found to be just tabloid gossip and sensationalism, removed. Neil S. Walker (talk) 16:58, 16 March 2018 (UTC)

  • These news were published on the day of Kivelidi's funeral. At first it was believed that one of possible reason could be cadmium, but the news at that time said that an expertise would be available only during next week. On 16 August 1995 the expertise concluded "at the telephone tube there were found traces of carbon–nitrogen bond organophosphate substance". Therefore, I think that the dispute template can be removed in the article. — Ace111 (talk) 23:15, 16 March 2018 (UTC)
That still doesn't say it was a Novichok agent; it says, at best, that it was a nerve agent. It could have been Tabun, Sarin, Soman, VR... Neil S. Walker (talk) 19:57, 17 March 2018 (UTC)
Further the 1995 expertise said: "Any data on this substance (physical and chemical properties, toxic properties) in the scientific literature could not be found", which may indicate that the poison poisoned by Kivelidi was recently developed and in conditions of secrecy.
Another report said about a small suspended sentence to the chemist who produced the poison: "However, the name of the chemist, allegedly connected with the murder of Kivelidi, was named in court by the lawyer Sergei Zabarin. 'This poison was manufactured in one of the special laboratories of the Saratov region under the guidance of Professor Igor Rink,' Zabarin said. 'The same professor also sold the poison to the criminals, through whom, as the investigation alleges, he was at our client. However, for his actions, the scientist there was given a suspended sentence for just one year and is still working in the special laboratory.' The sentence was suspended on Rink because of a loophole in the law: the chemist did not get to register the substance synthesized by him in time, and he was tried not for illegal sale of a poisonous substance, but for exceeding his official powers."
It follows from this that the agent was new in 1990's and it was not one of the known substances from your list. — Ace111 (talk) 01:57, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Following that logic—"the chemist did not get to register the substance synthesized by him in time"—it was too new to be one of the Novichoks... Neil S. Walker (talk) 02:22, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
  • Well, I am reading the book "Corporation" by Felshtinsky and Pribylovskiy, pages 454-460. They tell it was initially reported by ITAR-TASS on August 18 1995 that Kivilidi was poisoned with a heavy metal radioactive agent. (apparently, this claim was reprinted by other sources in 1995). However, as described in the book, according to later publications in Kommersant and other Russian sources (dated 1997), the "agent" was actually a "super-modern" classified phosphor-organic substance produced in Shikhany, and so on, and so on. That is either Novichok (as described in very recent sources), or something that fits exactly description of Novichok and therefore should be included on the page. The book is a serious secondary RS. This has nothing to do with "tabloids". In addition, other recent sources supporting the claim also qualify as RS. My very best wishes (talk) 03:39, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
P.S. I suggest that anyone interested in this subject should read the book. It also tells the Vladimir Khutsishvili was most probably framed for the murder and explain why authors think that it was done by Russian secret services, but this is probably slightly undue on this page. My very best wishes (talk) 03:55, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
A poison created in 1995 "under the guidance of Professor Igor Rink", so new it hadn't been "registered". Well, we know the names of the leads on the Novichoks - Pyotr Kirpichov, Igor Vasiliev, Andrei Zheleznyakov, Vladimir Uglev and Georgi Drozd. Uglev stated, in January 1993, "For the entire 15 years of my work in the laboratory [1975-1990], more than a hundred chemicals of this class were synthesized. Out of them, only five which represented significant military interest were brought under full investigation [including field testing]. The dubious honor of discovering three of them belongs to me." Patents were applied for in 1976. You are speculating that the poison used in 1995 was a Novichok agent. As are the tabloids. There are no reliable sources that state it was a Novichok. It was apparently brand new and "not registered" in 1995, almost 20 years after the Novichok chemicals had been synthesized and patented. Not credible. Neil S. Walker (talk) 04:02, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
"It also tells the Vladimir Khutsishvili was most probably framed for the murder and explain why authors think that it was done by Russian secret services" Another reason why no Russian sources—including official spokespersons—can be considered reliable in the Kivelidi case. Neil S. Walker (talk) 04:05, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Did you read the book? And I am not sure what is your point. Yes, it was developed by people X,Y,Z in 1970s. When exactly and under which name it was officially registered is irrelevant. It could be used at any time, with or without testing and registering. This is not US. I certainly agree that primary Russian sources should not be used. However, I am talking about a secondary source (a book) that is not "Russian".My very best wishes (talk) 04:16, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
I realize: there could be contradictions in claims. If so, all well sourced claims should be described per WP:NPOV. Removing something simply because there are contradictions is not the way to improve the page. My very best wishes (talk) 04:23, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
"Yes, it was developed by people X,Y,Z in 1970s. When exactly and under which name it was officially registered is irrelevant." Well, quite clearly it is relevant. ""However, the name of the chemist, allegedly connected with the murder of Kivelidi, was named in court by the lawyer Sergei Zabarin. 'This poison was manufactured in one of the special laboratories of the Saratov region under the guidance of Professor Igor Rink,' Zabarin said. 'The same professor also sold the poison to the criminals, through whom, as the investigation alleges, he was at our client. However, for his actions, the scientist there was given a suspended sentence for just one year and is still working in the special laboratory.' The sentence was suspended on Rink because of a loophole in the law: the chemist did not get to register the substance synthesized by him in time, and he was tried not for illegal sale of a poisonous substance, but for exceeding his official powers." We know when and by whom the Novichoks were synthesized. There are no reliable sources for the details of Kivelidi's death. Neil S. Walker (talk) 04:28, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
What source are you quoting about Zabarin? Can you please give me a link or exact reference? My very best wishes (talk) 14:01, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

Simple question: Is there a reliable source that categorically states Kivelidi was poisoned with a Novichok agent? Neil S. Walker (talk) 04:41, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

In this interview with BBC Russia [19], Mirzayanov states that it was Substance 33 (VR (nerve agent)) that was used to poison Kivelidi. So another nerve agent developed in the same lab under the Foliant program, but not one of the novel A-xxx agents referred to as Novichok.Meodipt (talk) 05:02, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Well spotted. He says "Это как раз то, что случилось при отравлении Кивелиди, помните? Для его убийства было использовано вещество-33" (This is exactly what happened when Kivelidi was poisoned, remember? Substance 33 was used to kill him) Neil S. Walker (talk) 05:17, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
There are many source which claim or suggest it (see here. I just included that one. My very best wishes (talk) 14:04, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Regardless of what others speculate about, Mirzayanov states clearly that it was Substance 33/VR - not a Novichok agent. 18:03, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
First of all, what are your references (with pages)? You did not answer this question. Even if there are RS telling that the compound used to poison Kivelidi was "Substance 33", that content still belongs to this page for three reasons: a) The substance 33 is in fact "Novichok" compound according to this (see citation below), (b) there is a significant number of other RS telling it was Novichok:
According to writings by Jonathan B. Tucker, a chemical weapons expert, the first binary formulation developed under Foliant was used to make Substance 33, also known as VR. This compound is very similar to the more widely known VX, differing only in the alkyl substituents on its nitrogen and oxygen atoms. “This weapon was given the code name Novichok,” Tucker wrote in “War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda.”

My very best wishes (talk) 18:57, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Sources for what? Mirzayanov stating that VR was used to kill Kivelidi—[20] Zabarin—[21]. There are no reliable sources stating that it was Novichok. You are linking sources that state only that it was a nerve agent. VR is a nerve agent. It thus belongs on the VR article not the Novichok article. Don't ask for sources - I have provided a source (Mirzayanov, above) confirming it was Substance 33, while all you are doing is providing sources that speculate or just say "nerve agent". I'm well aware of what you are trying to do here, introducing dubious misinformation and speculation to muddy the waters. You have not refuted Mirzayanov's reliability, his close knowledge of the Foliant program and Substance 33, and you are conflating VR - a different agent with its own article - with the Novichok agents. Tucker above is quite clearly being misquoted or is simply wrong: "the first binary formulation developed under Foliant was used to make Substance 33" is nonsense because Substance 33 is a unitary agent and was developed by 1963. Substance 33 is not a Novichok agent - it is VR! The reason they are called "novichok" is because they are the new generation after the V agents! Neil S. Walker (talk) 19:11, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Thank you. I will check this BBC (in Russian) source (second one is a WP link). No, I just quoted above a publication in Chemical and Engineering News which tells the Substance-33 was the first version of Novichok. My very best wishes (talk) 19:19, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Now, I checked your source [22], and here is what Mirzayanov said about Kievilidi: "Для его убийства было использовано вещество-33, так, по крайней мере, говорилось в то время, дескать использовался "Новичок"" Hence he is saying that substance 33 was indeed version of Novichok. Same as Tucker. There is no contradiction. My very best wishes (talk) 19:48, 18 March 2018 (UTC)
Note that Russian article from yesterday includes what purports to be evidence from the trial showing the compound that killed Kivelidi to be the F --> OEt analogue of GV, not Substance 33. So that would presumably make it a Novichok (or Foliant compound of some sort anyway) Meodipt (talk) 05:56, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

Just as an aside, the page on the poisoning of the Skripals claims that a Novichok agent was also used to assassinate the Chechen militant leader Ibn al-Khattab in 2002 [23] though the source they cite doesn't seem to say this. [24] May be another relevant incident though. Meodipt (talk) 00:15, 19 March 2018 (UTC)

  • I think we are coming to the following conclusion. This is a series of compounds. All compounds in the Table on the top (binary or not) should be mentioned on this page and relevant to this page because: (a) they are closely related to the development and disclosure of Novichok, and (b) they were frequently named in multiple sourced simply as "Novichok". Even Mirzayanov tells here something like "substance 33 aka "Novichok" ("Для его убийства было использовано вещество-33, так, по крайней мере, говорилось в то время, дескать использовался "Новичок". "). But we can also have sub-pages for specific compounds, as we have it right now for the substance-33. My very best wishes (talk) 14:54, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
As about Khattab, - who knows?, but I am thinking about Moscow hostage crisis chemical agent. That was quite obviously not an opioid, but a nerve agent, possibly in a mixture with something and at a low dose. All signs are there: the high mortality rate, the long-term significant health damage for victims, people stopped breathing, and the operation had to be personally approved by Putin as he recently admitted. My very best wishes (talk) 14:54, 19 March 2018 (UTC)
I think we can be fairly sure the Moscow Theatre agent was an opioid, forensic analysis of clothes and urine of survivors found carfentanil, remifentanil and halothane. Besides the symptoms do not match nerve agent, true both opioid and nerve agent toxicity cause miosis, vomiting and cessation of breathing, but nerve agents also characteristically produce violent convulsions and production of mucus, which were not evident in victims from that incident. Khattab seems more likely, it is acknowledged that he was poisoned with an unknown nerve agent, and by some accounts with a delayed onset then sudden emergence of effects, like what was seen with the Skripals. But given the circumstances of Khattab's death it seems unlikely the truth will ever be known. Meodipt (talk) 22:26, 19 March 2018 (UTC)But
Yes, they found what they found [25], but no one can guarantee they found everything. People who survived became handicaps for life. Here is one of publications on this. According to another RS, 40 people died during six months after the application of the agent. Does it look like an effect of opioid drugs? Moreover, witnesses claimed it was gas, not aerosol. My very best wishes (talk) 01:40, 20 March 2018 (UTC)

Chemistry subsection not encyclopedic[edit]

This subsection contains no citations whatsoever, and so is placed expecting readers to trust Wikipedia expertise (contrary to Wikipedia policies). (talk) 18:55, 16 March 2018 (UTC) the interested user is expected to read any and all materials referenced anywhere in the article and find the source. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 21 March 2018 (UTC)

Allenova reakce (Allen's reaction)[edit]

The image I added from the Czech source describes the final binary reaction with this phrase. Does anyone know off-hand if this is a general chemical synthesis route or something unique to this context? Wnt (talk) 00:23, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Binary nerve agent production at the Khimprom plant, Volgograd[edit]

According to Averre (1995), 5 to 10 tons of new binary nerve agent (Substence-33 or a Novichok) was manufactured at a chemical plant operated by Khimprom in Volgograd in 1991 and field tested on the Ust'yurt plateau, Uzbekistan in early 1992. Other very interesting information about Foliant program and Novichok development can be found that paper.

Averre, D.L. 1995. The Mirzayanov affair: Russia’s ‘military‐chemical complex’.[26] European Security, 4, 273–305,

--Diamonddavej (talk) 05:40, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

Good point. Needs to be included. There were possibly numerous production facilities. My very best wishes (talk) 14:27, 18 March 2018 (UTC)

A-234 (according to Mirzayanov) Binary agents[edit]

I have been sharing the binary agents of A-234 with Mirzayanov, with the time I have been researching on the synthesis of all Novichok and potential agents, I came across the following, all Novichok agents are disseminated in binary agents due to the corrosivity of the agents , which made me study a lot about such precursors, I came to know that the precursors were simply Acetonitrile and a variant of Fluorotabun, due to the lack of sources and exclusion of several sources of synthesis, I ended up studying this alone for more than a year. I do not know how to explain the mechanisms of reaction, impurities, and excesses, but Acetonitrile reacts with Diethylamines to form adducts, something similar to acids. Basquyati (talk) 12:20, 19 March 2018 (UTC)


There is a substantial portion of Copypaste from Independent in the section Novichok_agent#Poisoning_of_Ivan_Kivelidi_and_Zara_Ismailova. Someone should immediatly fix that. --Itu (talk) 10:11, 24 March 2018 (UTC)

It is in quote marks, attributed to the source, and replicates only a small portion of the Independent article. I think this is allowed? Meodipt (talk) 19:07, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
That is allowed. I'm not sure how it is "substantial" when it appears to be only 2 properly referenced sentences, unless I'm overlooking something. MartinezMD (talk) 19:33, 24 March 2018 (UTC)
OK, sorry, i have overlooked the beginning quotation mark (though eventuelly better make the quotation italic). --Itu (talk) 07:59, 25 March 2018 (UTC)


Current wording "claimed by some sources" sounds quite speculative but Novaya Gazeta published documents from official investigation from his death back in 90's with interrogation protocols of Leonid Rink, who accussed of producing and selling the batch used to kill Kivelidi to a criminal group. The protocols (in Russian only for now unfortunately) come with a lot of details on both the substance (including chemical formula) and how it was produced and deployed. It also directly mentions the "Novichok group of agents". I believe the wording of this paragraph should be changed to reflect that.

Novaya Gazeta, «Новичок» уже убивал. 22 March 2018

Cloud200 (talk) 10:33, 26 March 2018 (UTC)

Good point and a good source, but it cites the following: "В ходе следствия по выделенному делу установлен факт сбыта Ринком [вещества] лицам чеченской национальности в г. Москве, однако его поставка состоялась 13.09.1995, то есть позже убийства Кивелиди". Hence, the compound was indeed sold by Rink, but it was after the murder of Kivelidi. This source is apparently mistaken because it implies that Rink sold the compound before the murder of Kivelidi, but I would trust Novaya gazeta that cites an original document from the case. Another good question: to whom exactly the compound was allegedly sold? It appears (from this and other sources) there is no any actual information about the buyers. The "criminals" who get the compound could be FSB people or whoever. My very best wishes (talk) 14:05, 31 March 2018 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 2 April 2018[edit]

I suggest changing this, "Acetylcholine concentrations then increase at neuromuscular junctions to cause involuntary contraction of all muscles (cholinergic crisis)." Should be changed to, "Acetylcholine concentrations then increase at neuromuscular junctions to cause involuntary contraction of all skeletal muscles (cholinergic crisis)."

Here is why, They quote acetylcholine (and a cholinergic crisis) being the mechanism by which nerve gases work, which it is. However, The cardiac muscle is both sympathetically and parasympathetically innervated by the nervous system. The sympathetic cardiac system, which actually uses the neurotransmitter nor-adrenaline/norepinephrine, increases contraction strength and heart rate. Cardiac muscle has receptors in the parasympathetic nervous system that use acetylcholine but they are responsible for slowing down the heart rate and weakening the contraction strength. Thus not ALL muscles are forced into "involuntary contraction" by a cholinergic poison, only those which are innervated by nerves who's neurotransmitter is acetylcholine, such as all skeletal muscles. I only mention this because the author immediately makes references to the cardiac system after this statement. Studies show that cardiac damage does occur due to organophosphate poisoning but not through the suggested method of acetylcholine induced involuntary contraction.


source (citation 11, Betts, J. Gordon (2013). Anatomy & physiology. pp. 787–846. ISBN 1938168135. Retrieved 11 August 2014.) (talk) 00:56, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

You are correct. A long explanation wasn't necessary, but your attention is appreciated. I made the change. I overlooked that when I read the article. MartinezMD (talk) 01:11, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Disclosure - discrepancy[edit]

> The Soviet Union and Russia reportedly developed extremely potent fourth-generation chemical weapons from the 1970s until the early 1990s, according to a publication by two chemists, Lev Fyodorov and Vil Mirzayanov in Moskovskiye Novostiweekly in 1992.[21][22][b]

[b] Mirzayanov had made a similar disclosure a year earlier in the 10 October 1991 issue of the Moscow newspaper, Kuranty.[23]<

The disclosure of October 1991 cannot have related to Russia because the USSR was not dissolved until December 1991. 'Similar' here has the potential to mislead. It's very important to have clarity on this issue: did the 1992 publication state that the Russian Federation continued to produce 'Novichok' after the break up of the USSR? Nine-and-fifty swans (talk) 09:59, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Further to previous this part of the article appears to be ten years old. Perhaps it hasn't mattered that much up until now, but it matters now if anyone is using wikipedia as a source. Nine-and-fifty swans (talk) 10:12, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

That was described in detail in book "The state within a state" by Albats, pages 325-329. First publication (in 1991) indeed had happen almost at the moment of the "dissolution". Therefore, KGB did not react. A KGB investigator, Viktor Sharin explained to Albats: "we did not even know if we would continue to exist". Second publication was in the fall of 1992. Both Fyodorov and Mirzoyanov were immediately arrested by the same KGB people. According to the book, the reason for the arrest was not the disclosure of the binary agents (that has been publicly published already), but the public disclosure of the fact that "not only did the new Russia... violate its own agreements, but it was also taking money received from the West that was earmarked for defense conversion and investing it instead in the development of a chemical warfare facility" . My very best wishes (talk) 17:47, 3 April 2018 (UTC)

Treatment of Nerve Agents[edit]

In addition to the treatment with atropine remarkable results may be achieved with the dosage of 10,000 to 20,000 mg of ascorbic acid every 4 hours until the crisis is averted. See Irwin Stone, Vitamin C Against Disease, Chapter 24, chemical stresses, Poisons, Toxins. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:52, 5 April 2018‎ (UTC)

That seems unlikely given that that book was written in 1974, while the first soviet tests were in the late 1980s. Further, Chapter 24 doesn't mention any of the nerve agents, let alone Novichok agent. The dose suggested is in the adverse effect range for Vitamin C megadosing. Klbrain (talk) 05:47, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

Errors in Terminology[edit]

One sentence begins: “Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and many other heads of state ...”. Ms. May is not a Head of a State; she is a Head of Government. Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State of the United Kingdom. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:569:7440:800:5c11:bad6:6f30:7bd1 (talk) 05:56, 7 April 2018‎ (UTC)

Removed "other"
Klbrain (talk) 05:30, 9 April 2018 (UTC)

Speed at which Novichok agents operate (Factual Deficiency - Not in Effects Section)[edit]

Short Story: The Article does not provide an Indication of how quickly (in seconds or minutes) Novichok operates to have effects (ie: kill).

Long Story: It is clear that the different Novichok chemicals OUGHT to have different properties. However, one would imagine that, due to the acetylcholinesterase mechanism, the speed at which Novichok agents operates should be quite fast (I cannot imagine it taking longer than a few minutes, if that, for the nerve agent to induce suffocation effects - and the subject exposed ought to be dead within 5 minutes - nevertheless, the article states that galantamine with atropine can be given "between five hours before and thirty minutes after exposure". This clearly seems at odds with the assumed speed with which Novichok 'ought to operate' as thirty minutes after exposure, one would be dead.

I am **NOT** a scientist or a Doctor, therefore, my observations could be COMPLETELY WRONG *but* once the chemical agent diffuses throughout the central nervous system, then it ought to operate quickly to induce suffocation-like effects.

Quoting the below site :

Which states "With an extremely rapid build up of acetylcholine in the synapse, things like secretions, respiratory problems, and muscular dysfunction can go on unattenuated."

This has certain logical implications for the current situation. _I sincerely hope that this post does not flout any Wikipedia rules since there is a factual deficiency in the article (but you can always remove the post if it does)_. ASavantDude (talk) 16:42, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

There are many things that you can put into Talk pages, that shouldn't go in articles. It is supposed to be toward improving the article, but I usually give pretty much leeway on that one. In this case, a lot of discussion about the agent, effects, and such, might only be indirectly toward improving the article, but close enough for me. Gah4 (talk) 18:35, 13 April 2018 (UTC)
As for the actual question, presumably there is dose dependence. Gah4 (talk) 18:35, 13 April 2018 (UTC)
Biggest problem is that we (non state-operators) know almost nothing about Novichok. Rate of absorption? Elimination kinetics? Any kinetics for that matter? Have any trials been released? No, right? We can only publish what is released to the public, and even that may not be accurate if they wanted to disseminate false information. Secondly, in any illness, there is a spectrum of effects, possibly mitigated by genetic factors. E.g. why do so many die with Ebola yet others survive? While yes, it is true that once you have absorption effects are fairly rapid, the speed of absorption can vary from one agent to another, and as mentioned before me, dose would play a role as well. MartinezMD (talk) 23:21, 13 April 2018 (UTC)

Remark on Lethal Dose of VX as an indicator of such for Novichok[edit]

According to, the AChE50 value for VX is taken as 0.023 mg/kg in an **oral dose** (Sidell, 1974) (meaning that for a 80kg individual, 1.84mg will have 'toxic' effects associated when "more than 50% of the AChE enzyme is inhibited" ). Different routes will have different lethal doses, but it is clear that a very small dose of Novichok will achieve lethal effects Orally. **I think the article should indicate the lethal dose (which it does not seem to from what I've checked)**.

ASavantDude (talk) 20:28, 18 April 2018 (UTC)

It may be true, but unless there's a published reliable source connecting these two ideas is synthesis. The problem is that there is little published in the public literature about it, and I can't see how they can determine an LD50 on humans without reverting to Nazi-style experiments. MartinezMD (talk) 21:09, 18 April 2018 (UTC)
The (secondary) source provides the apparent name of the person who has made the assertion of toxicity levels, together with a published source (which I imagine not everybody would have a copy of) :
"Csaba K. Zoltani, in Handbook of Toxicology of Chemical Warfare Agents (Second Edition), 2015" (which, presumably, would be a "primary" source in the sense that it is likely the first published source containing the assertion of the AChE50 value for VX).
It is possible to offer plausible estimates of the AChE50 value using animals and primates, etc... - but "organ on a chip" technology or other similar methods would provide AChE50 estimates. ASavantDude (talk) 14:02, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
The figure of 23 µg VX/kg BM p.o. being the IC50 has to be an error. Various other sources do quote doses of 2—10 µg VX/kg BM p.o., ocular or parenteral to be the LD50 in humans; the inhalatory LCt50 of 36 mg/m3/min (Edgewood Arsenal data commonly used in NATO NBRC) does yield dosage of ca. 7 µg/kg BM in a 75 kg individual with 15 liters/min respiratory volume. Median lethal doses of toxic organophosphate AChE inhibitors do produce much higher than 50% AChE inhibition in the poisoned organism. Cheers,-- (talk) 20:42, 18 May 2018 (UTC)

Czech Presidential confirmation of production statement of 2018[edit]

In June 2018, the President of Czeck Republic disclosed that Novichok had indeed been simply produced by Czech labratories. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:30, 9 July 2018 (UTC)

So where are the sanctions against CR ? (talk) 00:00, 21 March 2019 (UTC)

effects of cholinesterase inhibitors[edit]

actually, the cardiac muscle is not directly affected as it is not contracting under influence of acetyl choline. the heart rate is influenced to some extent by the vagus nerve. but contractions are independent of nerve endings. Bart (talk) 11:20, 14 July 2018 (UTC)

The Novichok Story Is Indeed Another Iraqi WMD Scam[edit]

“In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published. (Black, 2016)” — Preceding unsigned comment added by Reese1379 (talkcontribs)

You mean until 5 people were poisoned and the structure confirmed by an anti-chemical weapons lab. MartinezMD (talk) 22:32, 15 July 2018 (UTC)

"Alex Vassiliev, journalist and expert on the history of Russian espionage, on his doubts about the #Salisbury poisoning suspects." (talk) 15:04, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

Announcement of closure of Laboratories at Shikhany[edit]

This document[27] released today by the Russian government that announced the abolition of the closed city of Shikhany. Interesting timing. Here's a rough translation...

On the abolition of a closed administrative-territorial entity - Shikhany, Saratov region
On the basis of the Law of the Russian Federation of July 14, 1992, 3c 3297-1 "on closed administrative-territorial formation" and in accordance with the proposal of the Government of the Russian Federation: 1. To abolish from January 1, 2019 g. closed administrative territorial formation - Shihan city of the Saratov region. 2. To the Government of the Russian Federation: a) jointly with the Government of the Saratov Region to conduct, during a b-month period, the necessary organizational arrangements related to the abolition of a closed administrative and territorial formation - the town of TT Ikhany of the Saratov Region; b} in order to ensure the balance of the budget of the urban district of Shihans to provide for the allocation of the Saratov region of interbudgetary transfers in the amount of 33,207 thousand rubles in 2019, 30,585 thousand rubles in 2020. 3. To recognize as invalid the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation of June 30, 1997 M 646 "On the transformation of the city of Shikhany of the Saratov region into a closed administrative territorial entity" (Collection of Legislation of the Russian Federation, 1997, N. 27, Article 3183). 11111 I (I 11 2 100036 16333

Ah, just notice the article on Shikhany mentioned its abolition as a closed city.

--Diamonddavej (talk) 18:54, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

Could anyone explain, what mens "Allen's reaction"?[edit]

Could anyone explain, what means the term "Allen's reaction"? I can only say it is connected with compound named Novichok. How to understand the term "allen's reaction" in the broader plan, not only in the Novichok context? My e-mail is — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gall Anonym (talkcontribs) 18:32, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

I don't see Allen's reaction mentioned in the article. MartinezMD (talk) 20:20, 27 August 2018 (UTC)

Allan–Robinson reaction? (talk) 15:06, 8 September 2018 (UTC)

Looking closer, I now see Allen's reaction in the synthesis figure. Since it wasn't text, it didn't show in my search. It doesn't look like Allen's reaction is the same as Allan-Robinson however. MartinezMD (talk) 17:34, 8 September 2018 (UTC)


As well as I know it, it is known that a perfume spray bottle was the source of the agent in discussion. Is the meaning of discarded in question? If someone doesn't want something, and either places it in a trash container, or otherwise leaves it around, is it discarded? Gah4 (talk) 06:47, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

We don't know where it was discarded. Charlie Rowley has been publicly quiet on this, although no doubt he's been asked. We might hypothesise that it was discarded in a "not unusual" manner, to avoid attracting attention to it (the original planter's intention wasn't to cause mass harm, or to leave clues), but anything in that direction is sheer WP:OR. However "discarded" is a pretty non-judgemental term, it covers anything from "casually dropped" to "carefully concealed" to even "fell from a pocket whilst running away". So I see no problem in using it. Andy Dingley (talk) 09:21, 4 September 2018 (UTC)

Source check[edit]

  • This edit. Please directly quote here how exactly these sources support the statement. I checked them and did not find that they definitively tell it. First one tells essentially "no one knows". Yes, the cited disinformation might influence the Soviet weapons programs in general (as these sources tell), however there are no any data whatsoever about influencing specifically the development of Novichok. Or maybe there are some other sources I do not know about? If so, please use them. Thank you, My very best wishes (talk) 01:00, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm struggling to see what the issue is. I'm going to discard the third source because it makes no mention of Operation Shocker. You may also discard the first one because it makes no mention of Novichok, referring to it instead as a "top-secret gas"; but it's nonetheless a valid source since it is a review of the same book being discussed in the second source. The latter, however, is an decent source and (I admit) was the only one I'd read back in November when I modified the text. What it says is the following:
    "To all appearances at the time, the deception was a great success. The Soviet military did, indeed, expand and intensify its efforts to develop a super nerve gas like GJ. However, as time went on, there was increasing evidence that Soviet scientists had succeeded where their American counterparts had given up, and that the Soviets had successfully developed a usable, much more toxic, and highly effective nerve gas called Novichok. Whether Novichok is directly descended from GJ is not entirely clear, but the unexpected outcome raises an intriguing and important question."
    Flynn, M.; Garthoff, R. L.; Flynn, M. (2000). "Playing with Fire". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. 56 (4): 35–40. doi:10.1080/00963402.2000.11456992.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
Wise seems to believe that they are linked (read the next paragraph on p. 38), and Garthoff suggests something similar in the paragraph beginning with "The possibility that such.." on that same page. But while they both concede that it is still speculation (add to them this tertiary source), a lot of what we currently know about Novichok is, in fact, speculation. Heck, most of the information at our disposal comes from one account: Vil Mirzayanov's. You are allowed to document speculation on Wikipedia as long as it is reliably sourced (it is). And the article's current text, which says that the program "may have been influenced by disinformation" involving GJ, reflects just that. You may not like the way it is written or the lack of attribution to Wise or Garthoff. The solution to such non-issue is rewording, not omitting. But anyhow, I believe this is an improvement. Fitzcarmalan (talk) 13:59, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
I disagree with including this claim on this page as undue speculations made by a single author. Other authors, such as Ken Alibek, do not write anything about it. It is highly questionable even that the "operation" influenced the Soviet WMD programs in general, much less the development of Novichok. Everyone (including this author) admits there are no any proofs or data whatsoever. My very best wishes (talk) 16:28, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
"Undue" is simply your subjective opinion. Tertiary sources, which tend to summarize key points of a topic, are what should be used as an indicator of whether a claim is "undue" or not, not individual editors' assessments. And why would Alibek, an expert on biological warfare, write something about the historical background of a chemical agent? This is a non-argument. Fitzcarmalan (talk) 16:51, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
See the policy ("If a viewpoint is held by an extremely small minority, it does not belong on Wikipedia". This is a claim on a notable subject (there are many hundred publications) made in a single source/by a single author, and even that author tells there is not any evidence whatsoever. This is definitely undue on the page, maybe even WP:FRINGE. My very best wishes (talk) 17:04, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
there are many hundred publications - Really? There are "many hundred publications" covering the origins of Novichok, let alone the inner details? You can't ask me to accept your assessment that this is "undue" without showing me a representative, non-cherrypicked sample of RS covering the early beginnings of this agent without mentioning this intelligence operation. Fitzcarmalan (talk) 17:21, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Well, 700 hits on Google Scholar [28] and 4,000 hits on Google books on the subject - that's a lot. My very best wishes (talk) 17:28, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
So you're making me do the work now? I glanced at some of the sources showing up in your Google Scholar results. This was the only one providing historical context and background (and, fortunately for you, it doesn't mention the US operation). The others make little to no mention of anything before Mirzayanov's 1992 disclosure and very little about Project FOLIANT for instance.
Most of them are science journals (not history or defense/intelligence journals) that cover things like chemical structure, toxicology, treatment, etc. In other words, they have no incentive to cover the Cold War origins of Novichok, which is vital for this article. And the ones showing up in the first several result pages were published in 2018 after the Salisbury attack (Google tends to do that apparently). The only pre-2018 publications were mostly about a Russian tomato variety with the same name.
But let me put this another way: Say you want to bring this article to GA or FA status one day, and say you're about to work on a section named "Background" that covers the origins (not the disclosure) of Project FOLIANT. Which sources will you pick? And tell me how you're going to get those. Fitzcarmalan (talk) 18:40, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this is a good mainstream source, and it needs to be used on the history. Here is another one. And so on, and so on. There are many. They qualify even per WP:MEDRS. Yes, this is exactly the point: they do not even mention that thing as something WP:FRINGE. That's why we should not do it too. Why should we make anything "better" than in good scientific reviews? My very best wishes (talk) 18:50, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes what? Your second source provides no historical context (the 1992 disclosure is not historical context) and I already told you that the first source is the only one I could find in your results. Wikipedia articles like this are of interest to both the scientific and defense/intelligence community. Some parts of the article will deal with toxicology, others will deal with the Cold War context. Which sources are you going to use for the latter case? And why did you even bring up WP:FRINGE? Fitzcarmalan (talk) 19:00, 25 February 2019 (UTC)
Well, according to citation above, "Whether Novichok is directly descended from GJ is not entirely clear". But there was no any nerve gas named "GJ" if I understand correctly. So, how anything could be derived from it? Nevertheless, it was published and therefore I think can stay on the page, especially because you insist. My very best wishes (talk) 19:19, 25 February 2019 (UTC)

Request: replace existing link to paper with source link[edit]

Reference 12 links to Independent article, which only mentions OPCW report, but does not link to it. Here is the summary of the report from OPCW which should be used instead as its reliable source: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:56, 20 March 2019 (UTC)