Aircraft designer Andrei Tupolev, whose planes were used throughout the country, “spied in favour of France”. Biologist Nikolai Vavilov, one of the most famous Russian scientists in the world, “worked for the Poles”. Georgy Langemak, designer of the Katyusha missile system, was a “German spy”. Sergey Korolyov, the father of Soviet cosmonautics, was accused and convicted of “sabotage”, like Academician Viktor Glushkov, one of the best specialists in hydrodynamics, whose plans were used in the construction of the Volga-Don canal… This tragic list contains names of thousands of scientists, engineers and outstanding specialists.

Those who had to be imprisoned tomorrow asked for protection of those repressed today. In 1931 Academician Nikolai Vavilov wrote a letter in defense of Prof. Alexander Lebedev, agrophysicist, who was sent to the camp to build the White Sea – Baltic Sea Canal. However, five years later, Academician Dmitry Pryanishnikov wrote in defense of Academician Nikolai Vavilov. And in 1935 young [physicist] Lev Landau asked to release his colleague Moisssei Korets. And another three years later, Pyotr Kapitsa and Niels Bohr wrote to Stalin with a request to release Lev Landau.

Such were the 1930.

80 years passed. And now Valentin Danilov, physicist from Krasnoyarsk, “spies in favour of China”, Igor Sutyagin, Moscow physicist, “works for the British”, Oscar Kaibyshev, physicist from Bashkortostan, “spies on behalf of South Korea”, and Vladimir Lapygin, member of the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building, “turns out to be a Chinese spy”. These days we have learned the name of another “traitor”: Viktor Kudryavtsev, 74-year-old physicist also from the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building, according to the Federal Security Service (FSB) version, turns out to be a “NATO spy. 

By the way, Viktor Kudryavtsev was among those who signed a letter to Putin a year ago with a request to pardon his colleague in the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building – 76-year-old Vladimir Lapygin, who was accused in a state treason because of a bureaucratic mistake and sentenced to seven years in a strict-regime penal colony. I would not be surprised if the other signers of the letter, 23 (!) scientists, along with Kudryavtsev, will also be in [pretrial detention prison] Lefortovo. The FSB has its own, special criteria for “state treason”.

The format of the appeals to the country leader has also changed somewhat – now appeals to Putin are being increasingly addressed though YouTube. And the rest is all the same. The authorities are still the same – the modern Bolsheviks. They want to strengthen the state with fear, shut up everybody’s mouth, force scientists, threatening them with physical destruction, to work for an arms race in penal colonies and sharashkas [special research teams of academics created in penal colonies so that to make them work on Stalin’s projects]. They sing praises to the Stalinist system and live in accordance with its rules.  That is why it is impossible to believe in their stories about scientists-enemies of the people and traitors.

And why, in fact, do we have to believe them? The authorities lie absolutely about everything: about pensions and income growth, about the war in Ukraine and Syria, and about the death of our citizens, about fulfilling their own promises [to the people] and fair elections. Just watch television! So why should we believe that scientists who have worked all their lives to ensure the defense capability of our country have suddenly become spies and traitors? No, it is impossible to believe it.

* * *

The lawyer of the prisoner who was tortured in the Yaroslavl penal colony left Russia. She and her family have been threatened with reprisal for disseminating the video of the tortures.

By the way, today is the Day of the Investigation Officer of the Russian Federation. Congratulations!