In the last two months, Russia has arrested three scientists involved in the development of “hypersonic missile systems”: the last was Alexander Shiplyuk, a prominent Russian scientist who was arrested and charged with treason, according to the TASS news agency this Friday. – was detained in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk and taken to the Lefortovo pre-trial detention center in Moscow.
The scientist worked in the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences as director of the Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. In those roles, he would have worked on the development of hypersonic aircraft and missiles, a key weapon in Vladimir Putin’s arsenal. According to the institute’s website, the “general aim” of some of Shiplyuk’s work was “the creation of promising hypersonic missile systems”.
After Shiplyuk’s arrest, the Khristianovich Institute was searched by the authorities, said Vasily Fomin, who worked there as scientific director. “There were operational events at the institute, linked to our director Alexander Nikolaevich Shiplyuk. He was arrested.”
Shiplyuk is the third prominent scientist from Novosibirsk to be arrested in recent months. On June 28, Anatoly Maslov, professor at the Department of Aerohydrodynamics at Novosibirsk State Technical University, was arrested on suspicion of treason. He too was transferred to the Lefortovo detention center after being detained.
Two days later, another scientist from Novosibirsk, 54-year-old Dmitry Kolker, was arrested by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), responsible for counterintelligence. Kolker, who had advanced pancreatic cancer, died in state custody a few days later after being taken to Lefortovo. The scientist’s family did not conform. “The FSB killed my father, taking him out of the hospital while they knew what condition he was in. Thank you country!!!! They didn’t even let our family say goodbye”, denounced the son on social networks, addressing the “entire state machine” of Russia: “I hope they answer for their actions. It took two days to kill a man.”
According to the British newspaper ‘The Times’, Kolker was arrested on suspicion of passing information to China. The allegation is believed to stem from a lecture he gave in China in 2018, which the Defense Ministry says contains state secrets. Human rights lawyer Pavel Chikov rejects the hypothesis, insisting that Kolker’s submission was pre-approved by the FSB. He added that he was accompanied by an FSB agent throughout the time he was in China.