A journal published by Russia’s Ministry of Defence became the subject of mockery this week after publishing claims that “Russian specialists” have communicated with dolphins, crashed computer programs, and even looked into safes using the power of telepathy.
As first highlighted by Russian media outlet RBC, the February issue of Army Collection featured a story titled “The Super-Soldier of Future Wars.” In it, reserve colonel Nikolai Poroskov detailed a variety of bizarre abilities related to “parapsychology,” a science once used by “Babylonian priests.”
According to Poroskov, Russian special forces in Chechnya employed these parapsychological techniques, which he elsewhere compared to “superpowers.” From Army Collection:
The uninitiated know little about this unique technology. But one aspect is clear—telepathic contact. Russian specialists achieved it by working with dolphins. They mentally gave the animals commands that they performed. This was practiced by the famous animal trainer Durov. The technique, it turns out, is also applicable to humans. Moreover, it’s even possible to effect technology. With an effort of thought one can, for example, crash computer programs, burn crystals in generators, eavesdrop on a conversation, or interrupt television and radio transmissions.
Experiments like these were successful: reading a document lying in a safe, even if it was in a foreign language the person did not speak; identifying individuals belonging to a terrorist network; identification of potential candidates for terrorist groups.
As outlandish as Poroskov’s claims may sound, the U.S. and Russia have indeed studied both psychic phenomena and military applications for dolphins. However, neither country has previously claimed the kind of success described in Army Collection, an official publication of Russia’s Ministry of Defence.
Speaking to RBC, Yevgeny Alexandrov, the chairman of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ anti-pseudoscience commission, dismissed parapsychology as a “fairy tale” and said there is no scientific basis for telepathy.
“[Military parapsychology] programs really existed and were developed, but were classified,” Alexandrov told the outlet. “Now they come out into the light. But, as in many countries of the world, such studies are recognised as pseudoscientific, all this is complete nonsense.” According to Alexandrov, these military experiments were last conducted in Russia in the early 2000s.
On social media, many ridiculed the Army Collection article’s claims, but at least one Russian Twitter user saw some truth in the story.
“It works,” they wrote. “I have just had luck completing an experiment with reading a colleague’s thoughts. He wants to go the fuck home.”