Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society
How a Russian Scam Artist "Saved" America

Do you know, dear reader, than in 2003 the US was on the verge of disaster? Judge for yourself.

America has been in danger many times, in the fight against European fascism and Japanese militarism, Communism, and now terrorism. But not long ago, it almost perished. And it would have perished if not for a man from Russia who calls himself a Ph. D., professor, and academician. His name is Viktor Petrik. He declares that he saved America in his own paid interviews, films, and articles about himself. America doesn't know this yet and its residents live unaware of the person to whom they owe their salvation. Let's read what the psuedoacademician's paid press writes and says about this.

"MTBE or MTBE-ether (methyl tert-butyl ether) was put into operation as an octane enhancer of gasoline which was to ensure that it burned more cleanly…MTBE is a potent toxic substance. A dose of more than 20 micrograms per liter is considered lethal… One glass of MTBE is enough to make 20,000,000 liters of drinking water completely unfit for any use.
In November 2003 representatives from American National University came to the laboratory of Viktor Petrik. They told of the problem of MTBE in America. The delegation brought with them an American film which had been broadcast on CBS in 2000. It appeared from this film that the problem of MTBE had been recorded in more than 40 states. Several thousand drinking water inlet stations had been closed. The film said that "ghost cities" had appeared in the US, cities abandoned by their population because of the problem of MTBE in the water.
They also told V. I. Petrik that no solution to the problem had been found in spite of the large amount of money spent on research.
Exactly three months later the telephone rang in an American office. V. I. Petrik was calling. He reported that the problem of MTBE had been solved. Tom Lahey, the director of an analytic center accredited to the US government, immediately flew to Russia. An experimental apparatus awaited him in Russia. Americans brought with them water samples from the city of Santa Monica which contained an MTBE concentration of 140 and 110 micrograms per liter. The water became absolutely clean after passing through academician Petrik's apparatus.
The results of subsequent analyses conducted at the Sierra Analytical Laboratory in California confirmed this.
American scientist T. Lahey collected the purified water at the output of the apparatus in a glass, solemnly kneeled, and drank it. In his interview for Russian television he said, "Professor Petrik's achievements indeed belong to the 21st century".
All the samples of purified water, like the apparatus, were taken to America for study. The conclusion of the Sierra national American laboratory was the result of a careful analysis of the water: "No trace of the presence of MTBE in the water was detected".
Today the invention of academician Petrik is protected by US patent and the water purification apparatus has been certified for use throughout the United States.
The Bush family personally invited V. I. Petrik and his family to the birthday party of George H. W. Bush as a token of gratitude for the solution of a very difficult scientific and socioeconomic problem. Tom Lahey gave the Bush family invitation to V. I. Petrik".

In the Russian film, "The Universe of Viktor Petrik" (http://lennauchfilm.fillmfond_LNF.php?fondid=38), which has been shown many times in Russia and on 4 January 2009 in the United States (on the Russian-language channel RTN) it says more dramatically:

"Unfortunately this ether (MTBE) turned out to be a powerful toxin not amenable to cleansing in ordinary purification plants. America sounded the alarm. The ether spread unavoidably quickly. Cities emptied. People fled from the contamination, from the poisoned water... The US Congress budgeted several billion dollars for research. But the ether continued to contaminate America….The Americans realized that there was a scientist in Russia who could help them…".

And so forth, as described above.

In fact, the problem of MTBE was solved long ago. It was banned from use at the very beginning of 2004 and they have totally forgotten about this in the US. But the main thing is that Petrik had no connection with all this.

Let's take an example by analogy. As everyone knows, there is a crime problem in big cities. Last year crime dropped in New York City. Now imagine that this same Petrik appeared and said that he had reduced crime since he had invented a device which caused criminals to stop committing crimes.

These are the same tricks and frauds that Petrik does everywhere. Including with MTBE. Who in fact is our miraculous savior?

Earlier, in the '80s he spent five years in prison for fraud and economic crimes. Later, in 1993 and 2001, he was tried and accused of smuggling osmium. He has no higher education but calls himself an academician and a professor. A very careful search of Internet databases does not show Petrik as having even the slightest connection with the solution of the problem of MTBE.

In articles about himself Petrik refers to the Sierra Analytical Laboratory (in the process he gets the name and the address of the firm wrong), which allegedly tested his magical filter (i.e. the "apparatus"). This is a small firm, and when contacted its owner, Richard Forsyth, said that this is the first he had heard of Petrik, "Sierra has never employed a Russian scientist within the laboratory. Our logo has never been authorized for use or display by these gentlemen".

There is an annoying discrepancy between the date of the invitation to Petrik from "scientist" Lahey (who is not any kind of scientist, moreover not "the director of an analysis center accredited to the US government", but a low-level salesman) to George H. W. Bush's birthday party and the date of the supposed test of the filter in Sierra Analytical's laboratory. Lahey arrived with an invitation in his pocket from the Bush family in March 2004 and immediately presented it to Petrik but the test of the filter was done in April, that is, a month later. On what basis did the "Bush family" invite Petrik, without yet knowing anything about his scientific achievement? And why did the former President invite him at all and not the President at the time, George W. Bush, who should have thanked Petrik for saving the country he led? Moreover, Petrik would hardly been satisfied with a gift of just a photograph of the former President if he had actually "saved America". But he mentions nothing else about this, although he is clearly mercenary and vain (at every suitable opportunity he repeats over and over again that he nearly became a Nobel laureate).

Petrik says that at first some unnamed "representatives from American National University" came to him although it offers no courses in the physical sciences. Then unnamed American scientists came. Then, again, unnamed scientists nominated him for two Nobel Prizes. Only one Lahey is named, but he is just not a scientist.

There is one more discrepancy in dates. Petrik refers to the participation of a Vapor Extraction Technology laboratory in the testing of the filter and the date of the work as 04/06/2004. But we read at the website of this laboratory, "Last modified June 10, 2002". That is, it is a dead website, and it had not been updated for almost two years before the laboratory supposedly participated in the work. Judging from how this website was organized it was never an active site and was created for some dubious purposes ( and

The inventor V. I. Petrik sends his applications to the US Patent Office as an officer of the firm SupraCarbonic LLC (California). A Google search gives a link only to its own site:

A certain Aleksandr Bobarykin appears in the role of co-inventor in several [patent] applications. At the same time he also acts as the manager of the firm SupraCarbonic, which in turn acts as a subcontractor of the firm Sierra Analytical Labs (California), to whose expert analytic results Petrik refers. However, Forsyth says that he has never done business with any Russian and does not know any Bobarykin.

The Hirsch citation index (H-index) of Petrik's works is two, which again confirms that he is no scientist. Nevertheless, in Russia his fictions have been accepted as the national "Pure Water" program thanks to high-level support. And this is only because he says that his system of purification plants is based on a "unique and brilliant" (his words) invention, "nanocarbon" filters.

The overall conclusion is that Petrik is lying. What gives the matter its flavor is that the highest government officials in Russia support him: Speaker of the State Duma Boris Gryzlov and Minister of the Atomic Ministry (and former Prime Minister) Sergey Kirienko. Petrik has often spoken before them with his absurd fictions, after which they publicly praised him. Petrik gets a lot of money from the state budget in very much the same way. This means that we are dealing with a big-time scam artist. Russian scientists are afraid to touch him since Petrik has very high-ranking protectors who might not be doing this at all unselfishly. But it is painful for scientists to realize this is being done at a time when there is serious underfinancing of real science by the state (except research in the field of nanotechnology, which has become fashionable, also thanks to high-level support).

Petrik's pattern of operation is this. He displays fictitious analyses, excerpts from Russian newspapers in which praises to himself for which he paid are published, says that films about him are shown in America, attaches these concoctions to his letters to ministers and writes, here you see how they know me everywhere and greatly admire me?

It is Petrik's fantasies about how he saved America, how highly American laboratories rate his filters, and how he was thanked by former President George H. W. Bush that give special weight to his figure in the eyes of Russian leaders.

Valery Lebedev, Igor Krishtafovitch

Translated by Gary Goldberg