“The Soviet Union is well aware of the benefits and applications of parapsychology research. In 1963, a Kremilin edict apparently gave top priority to biological research, which in Russia includes parapsychology. The major impetus behind the Soviet drive to harness the possible capabilities of telepathic communication, telekinetics, and bionics is said to come from the Soviet military and the KGB. Today it is reported that the USSR has twenty or more centres for the study of parapsychological phenomena, with an annual budget estimated in 1967 at over 13 million dollars and reported to be as high as 21 million dollars.
Soviet parapsychology research was actually stimulated by the 1960 French story concerning the US atomic submarine Nautilus. The French journalists splashed the now rather infamous Nautilus story in headlines “US Navy Uses ESP on Atomic Sub!” Ship to shore telepathy, according to the French, blipped along nicely even when the Nautilus was far under water. “Is telepathy a new secret weapon? Will ESP be a deciding factor in future warfare?” The speculating French sensationalized, “Has the American military learned the secret of mind power?” In Leningrad the Nautilus reports went off like a depth charge in the mind of L.L Vasilev.”
The above information comes from this declassified CIA document.
It goes on to mention that in April of 1960, Dr. Leonid Leonidovich Vasiliev addressed a group of high-ranking soviet scientists stating:
We carried out extensive and until now completely unreported investigations under the Stalin regime. Today the American Navy is testing telepathy on their atomic submarines. Soviet scientists conducted a great many successful telepathy tests over a quarter of a century ago. It’s urgent that we throw off our prejudices. We must again plunge into the exploration of this vital field.’