Russia | A physicist accused of “treason” denounces the arrest of academics

(Moscow) A Russian physicist, arrested on charges of “treason”, on Tuesday denounced the prosecutions targeting “prominent scientists” on controversial charges of spying for foreign powers, which have multiplied in Russia in recent years.


These issues undermine international cooperation and “decapitate institutions, causing a real brain drain of young people and qualified professionals, who do not want to end up in prison,” Valery Golubkin, 69, wrote in an open letter that AFP said she could refer to. a copy of it. .

Arrested in April

Valery Golubkin, who was arrested in April, is a teacher of high-speed aerodynamics at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MFTI), one of the best scientific institutions in Russia, and an employee of the TsAGI Institute specializing in these technologies.

Photo by Evinia Novozinina, Reuters archive

Ivan Safronov, a former journalist turned deputy director of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, is being held for treason, in the defendants’ cage before a hearing in Moscow, Russia, July 7, 2020. According to Mr. Safronov, the system is so repressive that “anyone who has been in contact can be charged” a foreigner” for “treason” in Russia.

According to his lawyer, he participated only in projects of “classic international cooperation” and did not commit any treason.

More and more scientists refuse to establish international partnerships […] Which causes real harm to the security of the country, among other things, ”the physicist continues in this letter, an excerpt from which was published by his lawyer Ivan Pavlov.

Another TsAGI employee, Anatoly Gubanov, was arrested in December on charges of passing classified information to the intelligence services of a European country.

Both took part in an international project to create a high-speed passenger aircraft.

closed trials

Trials of “espionage” or “high treason”, which are still conducted behind closed doors and the details of which are kept secret, have multiplied in recent years in Russia, with authorities regularly claiming to thwart Western plots or operations.

In August, a scientist at the head of a research institute specializing in hypersonic technologies was arrested, accused of passing “confidential information” to a “foreign citizen” related to his research.

Another controversial spy case concerned the former journalist Ivan Safronov, who specializes in defense issues, claiming his innocence.

In an article published last July, he denounced the arbitrariness of the security services and the judicial system that supports these cases. According to Mr. Safronov, the repressive regime is such that “anyone who has had contact with a foreigner” can be accused of “treason” in Russia.

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