The Soviet rival program to the Pantheon project produced an incredible number of powerful, effective Manipulators in a relatively short amount of time. The date of inception for this program is unknown, however it is believed that the American equivalent predates it by at least a decade.
The Issledovatel program is known to have deployed a number of manipulators to various countries around the globe, aligned with the Soviet bloc, in possible attempts to jump start nascent Manipulator programs. It is clear that the proliferation of XS6 and the means of its production can be directly attributed to agents of this program. It is assessed that the majority of the subjects of this program were not immediately sympathetic to the communist party, and were most likely political dissidents, criminals, and clergy; essentially the usual victims of the Soviet penal system. Their Manipulator training regimen took place at a Siberian gulag, and was supplied by an ample population of enemies of the state.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, most of the Manipulators produced by this program fled to other countries, defected to the United States, or became petty warlords in the ensuing conflicts that erupted across eastern Europe. A constant source of trouble in the post-Cold War world, Ex-Soviet Manipulators are often found to be contested over by American Pantheon agents and the operators of the emerging Chinese Manipulator program, much like Nazi scientists were contested for after the second world war.