Director arrested, Treason trials, Follows a String of Treason and spying
The head of the Siberian Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM), one of the premiere science institutions in Russia has been arrested on suspicion of treason. Sources from Reuters claim that the director of the institute, Alexander Shiplyuk exchanged classified information with Chinese officials at a Chinese scientific conference in 2017.
The director, along with two other officials who are experts on hypersonic missile technology have been accused of treason and have been arrested. The group has been accused of giving China state secrets and spying for China.
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Alexander Shiplyuk Spying?
Alexander Shiplyuk, considered an expert in his field is credited with aplenty. He has made serious contributions to the development of hypersonic technology and is well-credited with discoveries. He is also one of Russia’s premiere scientists, winning multiple awards over the 56 years of his life.
According to anonymous sources associated with Reuters, the 56-year-old asserts that he is innocent and says that the details in question weren’t secret and were readily accessible online.
“He is convinced of the fact that the information was not secret, and of his innocence,”
Shiplyuk was arrested last August, with the allegation’s nature recently coming out. This makes Shiplyuk the latest known in a line of scientists from Russia accused of treason for selling state secrets to China.
Russian spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, when asked about the treason trials facing the director and his other associates, as well as his predecessors linked to treason cases, replied that Security services are keeping an eye out for any instances of “betrayal of the motherland”. Adding that such cases were very important work that is constantly happening and that it was near impossible to point out any sort of trends regarding these cases.
When questioned about claims that China had targeted Russian scientists to get sensitive material, Beijing stated that China-Russian relations were built on “non-alignment, non-confrontation, and non-targeting of third parties”.
Putin has stated time and time again that Russia is a world leader in hypersonic missiles, modern weapons that can deliver payloads at up to 10 times the speed of sound to breach air defense systems.
This case and earlier treason arrests imply Moscow is wary of losing any technological edge, even to Beijing, a partner on which it has been more dependent for political and commercial assistance since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022.
Trail of Treason
Dmitry Kolker, a laser specialist, was detained in Siberia last year on suspicion of treason but passed away from cancer two days later. The scientist’s family has refuted the accusation made by his attorney, Alexander Fedulov, to Reuters last week that Kolker was accused of giving China access to classified information.
A scientist from Tomsk, Siberia named Alexander Lukanin was detained in 2020 on suspicion of providing technological secrets to Beijing, according to a report from the Russian state news agency TASS at the time. He received a seven-and-a-half-year prison term last year.
In 2020, according to TASS, Valery Mitko, a scientist who directs the Arctic Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg, was also charged with leaking information to China, where he frequently flew to give talks. He passed away while under house arrest two years later, at the age of 81.
The trials in the cases against Shiplyuk and his two ITAM colleagues, Anatoly Maslov, and Valery Zvegintsev, will take place in secret. On Wednesday, a hearing was scheduled in St. Petersburg regarding the arrest of Maslov, the first of the three, in June of last year.