Stalin's half-man, half-ape super-warriors
Moscow archives show that in the mid-1920s Russia's top animal breeding scientist, Ilya Ivanov, was ordered to turn his skills from horse and animal work to the quest for a super-warrior.
According to Moscow newspapers, Stalin told the scientist: "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 the request to the Academy of Science with the order to build a "living war machine". The order came at a time when the Soviet Union was embarked on a crusade to turn the world upside down, with social engineering seen as a partner to industrialisation: new cities, architecture, and a new egalitarian society were being created.
The Soviet authorities were struggling to rebuild the Red Army after bruising wars.
And there was intense pressure to find a new labour force, particularly one that would not complain, with Russia about to embark on its first Five-Year Plan for fast-track industrialisation.
Mr Ivanov was highly regarded. He had established his reputation under the Tsar when in 1901 he established the world's first centre for the artificial insemination of racehorses.
Mr Ivanov's ideas were music to the ears of Soviet planners and in 1926 he was dispatched to West Africa with $200,000 to conduct his first experiment in impregnating chimpanzees.
Meanwhile, a centre for the experiments was set up in Georgia - Stalin's birthplace - for the apes to be raised.
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