Russia’s FSB is finding “spies” everywhere


The Novosibirsk Regional Department of the FSB [Security Service] has launched a criminal investigation against two brothers working in the department of automated systems and information security of the Novosibirsk State Technical University. The case is under Article 283.1 of the Criminal Code (Divulging a state secret).

Somewhat unusually the brothers are accused of having divulged these secrets in a book they wrote under the (doubtless deceptively) innocuous title “The Institute of Applied Physics: scientific schools and technologies”. The publication was in fact sanctioned by the first department of the University, which checked it for disclosure of State secrets. However after the criminal investigation was launched, the entire print-run was removed.

According to some reports, the FSB objected to the mention in the book of the latest developments of the Institute with regard to optical and radio-electronic screens capable in the case of combat of making military technology invisible to the enemy.  The FSB has not given any official comment.

At the same time, the Head of the Glasnost Defence Foundation Alexei Simonov, the Executive Secretary of the Public Committee for the Defence of Scientists Ernst Cherny, the Head of the Moscow Helsinki Group Ludmila Alexeeva and the member of the Russian Academy of Scientists Yury Rykov have addressed an appeal to the Russian Prosecutor General. They call on him to “take measures to terminate this criminal investigation which is absolutely absurd for civilized society in view of the lack of any crime.”

The authors of the appeal point out that all the information given by the book’s authors about the institute is openly available. Furthermore, after leaving the Institute, the brothers did not have access to restricted information.

The letter also notes that the previous attempt by the Novosibirsk Department of the FSB to accuse a scientist of divulging State secrets had been a flop. They suggest that the FSB is taking some kind of revenge for that failure. In May of this year the case brought against the head of the Laboratory of the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Oleg Korobeinychev was closed. He had been accused of passing on information about new types of hard rocket fuel to a Pentagon research centre. The case was terminated for lack of a crime, and the Prosecutor forced to apologize to the scientist.

The tone is somewhat more caustic however the information is from  

Readers may recall that the Novosibirsk FSB proved inexplicably “vigilant” also over the accusations against Taras Zelenyak for comments he may or may not have made on a Ukrainian forum site. It is to be hoped that this present absurdity is a geographically confined aberration, although in the Zelenyak case this seemed unlikely.  (Halya Coynash)  . 

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