Memorial Human Rights Centre considers the charges groundless and demands the release of the 75-year-old academic.
Viktor Kudryavstev, a senior researcher at the Central Machine-building Scientific Research Institute (TsNIIMash), a part of Roskosmos, has been charged by the FSB with treason (Article 275 of the Russian Criminal Code). According to the investigators, the reports that Kudryavtsev sent to the Belgian institute taking part in the Transhyberian international research project, which was supported by the Russian government, contained secret data about hypersonic rocket technologies.
In order to send these reports abroad, permission from two commissions was required: from the relevant departmental commission and from the Commission on Export Control of the Russian Federation. Both commissions gave permission, having noted that the reports contained no secret information. The FSB investigator does not deny this but asserts that the personal authority of Kudryavtsev meant the members of the relevant commissions were unable to gainsay him and were obliged to sign off on the permissions. We consider this argument farfetched and unrealistic since most members of the commissions held positions senior to that of Viktor Kudryavtsev.
For more than 20 years Kudryavtsev has had no access to secret data. Moreover, in line with the conditions of funding of the international Transhyberian project, military-related research was not permitted and the results of the project were published in open access in the journal Kosmonavtika i raketostroenie (Space Technology and Rocket Construction).
The prosecution of Viktor Kudravtsev is one of a number of cases of alleged espionage that are a result of conscious government policy and propaganda intended to create a war-time atmosphere in society, along with the search for a ‘fifth column’ and ‘enemies of state’. To maintain this atmosphere the authorities regularly require fresh criminal prosecutions of ‘spies’ and ‘traitors of the Motherland,’ as a result of which law enforcement agencies engage in the fabrication of criminal cases and the artificial criminalisation of wholly lawful actions by citizens. In our opinion the FSB is creating the false appearance of engagement in matters of the very greatest state importance, while individual officers use this situation to ensure the success of their own careers.
Recognition of an individual as a political prisoner, or of a prosecution as politically motivated, does not imply that Memorial Human Rights Centre shares or approves the individual’s views, statements or actions.
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