The Chief Sanitary Inspector of Russia, Gennadiy Onishchenko, has said that Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research operating in Tbilisi poses a threat to Russia and may be used for subversive activities.
Speaking to the Russian Interfax news agency, Gennadiy Onishchenko noted that the Richard G. Lugar Center represents "an important unit of the US military-assault potential." He believes that Washington violates international convention on biological weapons and the real mission of the laboratory in Tbilisi is to draw up plans for spreading viruses in the territory of Russia.
The Chief Sanitary Inspector of Russia declared that the return of Georgian products to the Russian market will directly depend on whether or not the US-funded laboratory continues operating in Georgia.
Various Russian entities have repeatedly expressed their dissatisfaction about the activity of the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research in Georgia.
A decision to establish a "central referral laboratory" in Georgia was taken in 2004, during a visit of US Senator Richard Lugar to Georgia. The Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research was opened in March 2011, with the mission to promote public and animal health through infectious disease detection and epidemiological surveillance. The United States invested 150 million USD for the establishment of the Center.
Under the decree # 422, dated 7 May, the Georgian government liquidated the Richard G. Lugar Center for Public Health Research and transferred its assets to the National Center of Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia.
Nevertheless, Onishchenko has repeatedly demanded the closedown of the lab since then even though Tbilisi offered Moscow to inspect the lab.