Russian scientists threaten to down tools in face of Kremlin arrests

Scientists charged with treason for failed missiles

Kremlin under pressure. Credit: Baturina Yuliya/

The cracks are beginning to show in Vladimir Putin’s feet of clay as Russian scientists, crucial to the Kremlin’s war effort, have warned the dictator he is in danger of scuppering any further development of his missile programme.

In a report today, May 18, it is revealed that Scientists charged with developing Russia’s missile capabilities have hit back against recent arrests and charges of treason, according to The Daily Express.

In less than one year, a total of four leading scientists have been charged with treason and jailed, which has led to a backlash from fellow colleagues.

In a brave public protest against the Kremlin, there have been calls for the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service, to cease the arrests as there is a high risk of jeopardising their work, citing an ‘impending collapse’ of their research.

The hypersonic missiles used against Ukraine were touted as ‘unstoppable’ and impervious to air defences, but they have not lived up to the hype surrounding them. The majority have been shot down by Ukrainian forces armed with some of the latest advanced technology supplied by Western counterparts.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence said yesterday that Ukraine’s success had exposed an ‘apparent vulnerability’ that ‘is likely a surprise and an embarrassment for Russia.’

The Kremlin has responded the only way it knows how, by changing the laws regarding treason, which in turn has led to the detainment of scientists leading the research programme.

Understandably academics at the Novosibirsk-based Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics have cautioned in a public outcry that the arrests have backfired and are discouraging potential new employees. They have also warned they cannot continue to work if the current threat from the FSB remains.

The four scientists at the centre of the controversy are: Anatoly Maslov, 76,  Alexander Shiplyuk, 5, who were last summer and have been in jail since. A third scientist, Valery Zvegintsev, was detained last month.

Another physicist, Dmitry Kolker, who was suffering from advanced pancreatic cancer, was arrested and charged with treason last summer but died just two days after he was jailed.

In part the letter read: ‘We’re not only scared for our colleagues: we simply do not understand how to do our job any more. The best students are already refusing to work with us while our best young employees are leaving scientific research.’

President Putin recently approved amendments to the law that increased the potential penalty for treason from 20 years to life in prison.

The recent controversy is being seen as an attempt to transfer blame away from the Kremlin after Russia’s disastrous invasion of Ukraine.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.