As Muscovites suffer record high temperatures this summer, a Russian political scientist has claimed the United States may be using climate-change weapons to alter the temperatures and crop yields of Russia and other Central Asian countries.
In a recent article, Andrei Areshev, deputy director of the Strategic Culture Foundation, wrote, "At the moment, climate weapons may be reaching their target capacity and may be used to provoke droughts, erase crops, and induce various anomalous phenomena in certain countries."
The article has been carried by publications throughout Russia, including "International Affairs," a journal published by the Foreign Ministry and by the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti.
In an telephone interview with RFE/RL, Areshev appeared to back off from claims he made in the article, saying that he was merely positing a theory.
"First of all, I would like to say that what I wrote in that article, even the citations, does not in any way claim to a be final truth. It is, if you will, speculation, in other words, the definition of an hypothesis," Areshev said.
Moscow is currently sweltering under record temperatures. On July 29 Moscow suffered its hottest day ever, with temperatures hitting 39 degrees.
But Russia isn't the only country suffering form a heat wave this summer. Indeed, the United States is also experiencing record temperatures. On July 24, temperatures in Washington, D.C., hit 37.7 degrees, and local weather services issued heat warnings for the first time this summer.
Areshev agrees that it is also hot in the United States, but notes that the United States is significantly farther south than Russia, meaning that such high temperatures are not so surprising there.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, however, announced in July that land and ocean temperatures throughout the world were the highest ever, since they began tracking global temperatures in 1880.
In the article, Areshev voiced suspicions about the High-Frequency Active Aural Research Program (HAARP), funded by the U.S. Defense Department and the University of Alaska.
HAARP, which has long been the target of conspiracy theorists, analyzes the ionosphere and seeks to develop technologies to improve radio communications, surveillance, and missile detection.
Areshev writes, however, that its true aim is to create new weapons of mass destruction "in order to destabilize environmental and agricultural systems in local countries."
Areshev's article also references an unmanned spacecraft X-37B, an orbital test vehicle the Pentagon launched in April 2010. The Pentagon calls X-37B a prototype for a new "space plane" that could take people and equipment to and from space stations. Areshev, however, alleges that the X-378 carries "laser weaponry" and could be a key component in the Pentagon's climate-change arsenal.
The Pentagon was not immediately reachable for comment.
Areshev also cites the U.S. government's effort to use rain and cloud coverage to block the Vietnam Army's supply routes during the Vietnam War. He insisted, however, that he was not a conspiracy theorist.
"My comments were not made in order to accuse the U.S., or any other country, of consciously influencing Russia," Areshev said. "That would be quite ridiculous."
Asked whether or not Russia was also experimenting with climate-control methods, Areshev said since he was not a member of the government, he did not have information about such projects.