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Aerospace technology

Open letter defends Russian scientists arrested for treason

An open letter published in May by researchers at the Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in Siberia criticized the Russian government’s arrest of three scientists suspected of treason. Hypersonic missile technology experts Anatoly Maslov, Valery Zvegintsev, and Alexander Shiplyuk of the Siberian institute were arrested in August, accused of giving China classified data on hypersonic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads and changing direction mid-flight. Shiplyuk, who has run the institute since 2006, dismissed the accusations as nonsensical, stating that the information shared with Chinese colleagues at a scientific conference in Beijing was not classified and had already been published online. The open letter points out that presenting papers at conferences and participating in international collaborations is a normal part of science, and that treating this as treason makes it impossible for the institute to work. According to the news agency Reuters, the arrests suggest that Russia is concerned about maintaining its technological lead in the development of hypersonic missiles and does not want to share data even with China, a geopolitical ally in the war against Ukraine. Since 2020, at least three other Russian scientists have been arrested for allegedly leaking information to Chinese colleagues.