Exactly 20 years ago, a group of Siberian archaeologists discovered the remains of an army of Scythian warriors buried in the Republic of Tuva. The fossils, preserved, date back 3,000 years. The discovery in itself is surprising. However, the most incredible was the statement by Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu regarding the find. Shoigu announced that they have plans to clone the warriors.
According to a recent report published by the news portal All That is Interesting, Shoigu, who is from Tuva, revealed his intention during an online session of the Russian Geographical Society held last week. The minister, in addition to managing the Russian Geographical Society, is one of President Vladimir Putin’s strongest allies – who also attended the meeting and showed support for the minister’s idea.
As reported by the All That is Interesting portal, during the online session, the Russian Minister of Defense spoke about the potential for new research that could involve the Scythian warriors found by archaeologists, referring specifically to the use of DNA , which was preserved in Siberian permafrost.
According to a report published by the Daily Mail news portal, the Russian Defense Minister has hinted that he intends to clone DNA to rebuild the army. “Of course, we would very much like to know how we can make the plan viable and I believe you understand what would come after that,” the minister said in an interview with the Daily Mail. “It would be possible to do something, as they did with Dolly the Sheep. In general terms, I think it will be very interesting”.
For some analysts, although the meeting was formal and Shoigu’s words were quite clear, the announcement marks the presence of a strong political purpose, after all, Russia has recently sent around 100,000 troops to the Ukrainian border. In the meantime, political experts believe that the development of a study on the cloning of warriors will serve as food for the Kremlin propaganda machine.
The remains of the Scythian warriors are highly conserved, and for this reason they could not be more remarkable. The excavations began in 1998 and were conducted by a team of Siberian archaeologists. German archaeologists joined the group later. In three years, professionals have unearthed 3,000 Scythian warriors – nomads of Iranian descent who occupied the European steppe from the northern borders of China to the Black Sea between the 7th and 3rd centuries BC. At the time the excavations were carried out, Shoigu ordered a shaman to be present – so as not to irritate the spirits.
In 2018, Shoigu invested in new excavations, which were led by Russian and Swiss experts. To date, the work of the professionals also included the presence of a new shaman.
“The discovery encompasses not only the Scythian warriors, but also the remains of horses, probably used in sacrifices, and other elements,” said archaeologist Timur Sadykov. “This confirms the existence of cultural practice”.
The plan to clone the warriors
The meeting of members of the Russian Geographical Society yielded enough material for the press, as, as we said at the beginning of the article, the minister clearly expressed his objective in cloning the DNA of the Scythian warriors. “We have already carried out several researches on the subject”, revealed a Sputnik News report. “A lot of information has been confirmed, but there is still a lot to be done”.
Russia’s objective is based on the case of Sheep, the first cloned mammal. The sheep case made headlines in numerous media outlets in July 1996, when the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland, revealed success in the cloning experiment.
So far, what the press has at hand are only the minister’s statements. It is unclear how much the Russians should strive to clone the old army and bring it back to life. We can only wait.