The supercomputer is captured by the FSB

The Russian Federation’s lead­ing spe­cial­ist in super­com­put­er sys­tems was first checked by the FSB “for trea­son,” then kept under house arrest for six months on sus­pi­cion of “financ­ing an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion.” After fruit­less attempts to plant accord­ing to the proven Soviet tra­di­tion, the “fool” is used. Sergei Abramov, cor­re­spond­ing mem­ber of the Russian Academy of Sciences, founder of a num­ber of inno­v­a­tive com­pa­nies, is planned to be sent to a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal for three weeks on November 30 for “con­duct­ing a sta­tion­ary exam­i­na­tion.” Because the out­pa­tient moti­va­tion of the sci­en­tist who orga­nizes the super­com­put­er forum in Pereslavl-Zalessky, even while under inves­ti­ga­tion, the FSB was unable to under­stand for eight months.

The prac­tice of puni­tive psy­chi­a­try in rela­tion to dis­in­ter­est­ed pub­lic fig­ures, whom the secu­ri­ty forces can­not accuse of prag­mat­ic actions in the inter­ests of per­son­al gain, has final­ly returned from the late Soviet “dis­si­dent” past. In October of this year, the pros­e­cu­tor asked to order a psy­chi­atric exam­i­na­tion of Memorial co-chair­man Oleg Orlov due to his “height­ened sense of jus­tice and com­plete lack of self-preser­va­tion instinct” . 

Sergei Abramov, a cor­re­spond­ing mem­ber of the Russian Academy of Sciences and one of the lead­ing experts on super­com­put­er sys­tems, spent less than two months “free” after he was released from house arrest on October 10, 2023. On November 30the Leninsky District Court of Yaroslavl will con­sid­er a peti­tion to place Abramov in a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal for at least three weeks for an exam­i­na­tion. Olga Kozlova, press sec­re­tary of the Yaroslavl Regional Court, told T-invariant. 

Sergei Abramov. Photo: Facebook

The con­sid­er­a­tion of this peti­tion, accord­ing to Kozlova, will be held behind closed doors. Let us remind you that the sci­en­tist is accused of “financ­ing an extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion” (com­mit­ting a crime under Part 1 of Article 282.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation) and is cur­rent­ly under recog­ni­zance “on his own recog­ni­zance and prop­er behavior.” 

As pre­vi­ous­ly report­ed by T-invari­ant, events devel­oped as fol­lows: on April 10, Abramov had a night search, after which he spent more than a day in a pre-tri­al deten­tion cen­ter and was then placed under house arrest on April 12, 2023. This is a unique crim­i­nal case, unusu­al even by cur­rent Russian stan­dards and tak­ing into account the cas­es three Siberian physi­cists from the same insti­tute, arrest­ed on sus­pi­cion of “trea­son.”

During these eight months, the inves­ti­ga­tion was unable to prove the crime, name­ly the fact that Abramov trans­ferred a dona­tion to an unnamed “extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion” (with ref­er­ence to his sources Ъ wrote that this is the “Anti-Corruption Foundation”). 

The FSB led Sergei Abramov to the arrest for a long time, check­ing him on sus­pi­cion of trea­son in 2010-2011 (at that time the nom­i­nal leader of the Russian Federation was Dmitry Medvedev).

“I was lucky that this hap­pened in those veg­e­tar­i­an times, if it had hap­pened lat­er, we would not be talk­ing to you now. In gen­er­al, this is the fourth attempt to accuse me of some­thing, and only this time they went so far,” Sergei Abramov told T-invariant. 

And although for­mal­ly Abramov is still “at large” (albeit under inves­ti­ga­tion), a new attack on a major aca­d­e­m­ic leader this time achieved its goal. As Abramov him­self told T-invari­ant, Rosfinmonitoring includ­ed him in the so-called “list of ter­ror­ists and extrem­ists” back in April: all his per­son­al accounts were blocked, and all accounts of 4 legal enti­ties to which Abramov is relat­ed (he was or is a co-founder or co-own­er). Two of the four com­pa­nies: Immers LLC and Skirus LLC are engaged in super­com­put­er tech­nolo­gies (in the Russian Federation this there were lit­er­al­ly sev­er­al play­ers in the mar­ket). And also two com­pa­nies: Immers LLC and Chutkiy Dom LLC (res­i­dents of Skolkovo). 

“I had to active­ly par­tic­i­pate in three large super­com­put­er projects, the total fund­ing of which is about 65 bil­lion rubles. One project is pure­ly Russian, one is joint between Russia and Belarus, and anoth­er is at the lev­el of the EurAsEC coun­tries. As a result, more than six months were lost, all projects are at a stand­still, but in our top­ic, tech­nolo­gies dou­ble in size in six months,” Sergey Abramov told T-invariant. 

“Crimea is ours” and the last supercomputer

The indus­try is tru­ly in a deep cri­sis. A month after the ini­ti­a­tion of a crim­i­nal case against Abramov, the founder and head of the sec­ond major play­er in the indus­try — General Director of the T-Platform com­pa­ny Vsevolod Opanasenko — found guilty of fraud. He had already served his sen­tence (he spent it part­ly under house arrest, part­ly in a pre-tri­al deten­tion cen­ter) and there­fore was released, although also rather for­mal­ly. Opanasenko is also “on the hook” today. There are sev­er­al defen­dants in his crim­i­nal case, and one of them filed an appeal, which has not yet been con­sid­ered, so Opanasenko’s May sen­tence has not yet final­ly entered into force. And the T-Platform com­pa­ny itself does not actu­al­ly func­tion on the same scale. 

The last super­com­put­er of the world top 500 lev­el, accord­ing to Abramov, was made in the Russian Federation in 2014. For 9 years — not a sin­gle one. 

“6 sys­tems from the TOP-500 list over the years were sim­ply pur­chased out­side the Russian Federation: three by Yandex, two by Sber, one by MTS. Draw your own con­clu­sions and think for your­self who ben­e­fits from my crim­i­nal case,” the defen­dant com­ments evasively. 

Sergei Abramov. Photo: Facebook

The 66-year-old sci­en­tist still does not admit guilt. The author­i­ties do not offi­cial­ly dis­close the cir­cum­stances of this case, and Sergei Abramov says that he is “not too famil­iar with the details of his case.” He does not know who, how, when, or to which “extrem­ist orga­ni­za­tion” made the pay­ment from his bank account. At the same time,he is sure that his crim­i­nal case is a blow to the super­com­put­er indus­try of the Russian Federation, as well as evi­dence of a “huge sys­temic error” in gov­ern­ing the country. 

“I know one thing clear­ly: this trans­fer was made from my account, I did not make this trans­fer, and the worst thing is that such a trans­fer was easy and even ele­men­tary to do for me. There are sta­tis­tics from the Central Bank, I’ll show you the link now: every year in the Russian Federation about a mil­lion “oper­a­tions with­out the client’s con­sent” are per­formed. I have no idea who did this and why: out of hos­til­i­ty towards me per­son­al­ly or out of moti­va­tion to eat up a piece of the mar­ket. It doesn’t matter. 

My task is to say one thing: any­one can be in my place. Any cit­i­zen of Russia is under this threat. And as a cyber­neti­cian, I see that this is a sys­tem error. 

A sys­tem that lives by such rules is unsta­ble, such a sys­tem begins to eat itself,” explains Abramov. 

November 28 - supercomputer forum, November 29 - press conference, November 30 - psychiatric hospital for 3 weeks

On November 28, the sci­en­tist will open the next annu­al National super­com­put­er forumin Pereslavl-Zalessky, and on November 29, at 11:00 Moscow time, will be held Skype press con­fer­ence on the state of the super­com­put­er indus­try in the world and in Russia.” Then the sci­en­tist will prob­a­bly face at least three weeks of impris­on­ment in a psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal, since oth­er­wise the FSB, in 8 months, could not under­stand the moti­va­tion for the actions of a per­son who has been try­ing for sev­er­al decades to devel­op super­com­put­er com­put­ing in Russia, to build inno­v­a­tive tele­com com­pa­nies as a pio­neer of the Runet, engage in edu­ca­tion, sci­ence and high tech­nol­o­gy in the Yaroslavl region. According to cur­rent leg­is­la­tion, the FSB has the oppor­tu­ni­ty to extend the peri­od of such a sta­tion­ary examination. 

“My teacher is Valentin Turchin, cyber­neti­cist and dis­si­dent, chair­man of the Moscow branch of Amnesty International. When he was fol­lowed Already under dai­ly sur­veil­lance, he con­duct­ed his sci­en­tif­ic sem­i­narsin an ordi­nary Moscow apart­ment. And I remem­ber, these two tram­plers remained on the street, and we went upstairs, first prac­ticed the Refal lan­guage, then served tea and more guys came: they told us who had left, who sat down, and who was already in a daze. For us, his “Refal Boys”, it was all part of our science.

Turchin cre­at­ed the inter­na­tion­al­ly rec­og­nized the­o­ry of meta­sys­tem tran­si­tions. In short, it is about how the evo­lu­tion of a vari­ety of sys­tems works. Theory has played and con­tin­ues to play a very impor­tant role in com­put­er sci­ence. But it also applies to the evo­lu­tion of social sys­tems. And he also had a job “Inertia of fear and total­i­tar­i­an­ism”.

And in his opin­ion, the main crime that the total­i­tar­i­an author­i­ties of that time com­mit­ted was that they killed evo­lu­tion in these coun­tries with sur­gi­cal pre­ci­sion. Led them to stagnation. 

I haven’t been crazy yet, but I hope that I can con­tin­ue to ana­lyze every­thing that’s hap­pen­ing to me and to the coun­try from the point of view of my teacher’s the­o­ries,” con­cludes Abramov. 

Valentin Turchin with his son. Photo: Wikipedia

“A heightened sense of justice and a complete absence of the instinct of self-preservation”

Russian secu­ri­ty forces are increas­ing­ly recall­ing the Soviet prac­tice of break­ing their ide­o­log­i­cal ene­mies with the help of psy­chi­a­try. Let us recall thatin October 2023, the state pros­e­cu­tor asked to appoint a psy­chi­atric exam­i­na­tion for the co-chair­man of the Memorial Center for Human Rights, Oleg Orlov, who was accused of repeat­ed­ly dis­cred­it­ing the army for his anti-war post.

Prosecutor Svetlana Kildisheva stat­ed that Orlov should be shown to a psy­chi­a­trist because of his “height­ened sense of jus­tice and com­plete lack of instinct of self-preser­va­tion” (here­inafter all quotes via Memorial’s telegram channel). 

According to pros­e­cu­tor Kildisheva, Orlov con­sid­ers him­self “either Georgiy Dimitrov, expos­ing fas­cism, or some­one else going to Calvary.”

“Then, your hon­or, there’s age, changes in the blood ves­sels of the brain, the nat­ur­al aging process. Orlov came out for the first time in 1980 with a poster against the war in Afghanistan. The sec­ond time was in 1984, sup­port­ing Polish Solidarity (Orlov did not come out with posters at that time, he put up leaflets — Memorial’s note),” the pros­e­cu­tor said then. 

Oleg Orlov. Photo: Memorial

Who is Sergei Abramov?

Sergey Abramov was born in Moscow, grad­u­at­ed from Moscow State University, but worked for many years in the ancient provin­cial Pereslavl. From 2003 to 2022, he was act­ing direc­tor and direc­tor, and at the time of his arrest remained the chief researcher at the A. K. Ailamazyan Institute of Software Systems of the Russian Academy of Sciences. For a long time, Abramov com­bined the lead­er­ship of the insti­tute with the post of rec­tor of the University of Pereslavl, cre­at­ed at the same insti­tute. Now the uni­ver­si­ty has ceased to exist.

Abramov is one of the lead­ing experts on super­com­put­ers in Russia, includ­ing the head of the rel­e­vant pro­grams of the Union State of Russia and Belarus. In 2006, Sergei Abramov received the Russian Government Prize in the field of sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy for the devel­op­ment of high-per­for­mance com­put­ing sys­tems (super­com­put­ers) of the Skif fam­i­ly. It can be argued that Abramov is the most titled sci­en­tist cur­rent­ly sub­ject­ed to crim­i­nal External pros­e­cu­tion for polit­i­cal offenses.

Text: Evgeniy Nasyrov


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