Physics Repression

They climbed into the nozzle itself. The FSB took on the co-authors of Novosibirsk scientists accused of treason

Another Siberian scientist accused of treason became the prey of the FSB. This time from Tomsk. He was a co-author of works on hypersonic topics with employees of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics named after. Khristianovich SB RAS from Novosibirsk, detained in the last year. The human rights organization First Department is confident that the repressive campaign is growing and the next victim of the FSB could be absolutely any scientist who has worked on this topic as part of international collaborations. Neither the coordination of work within the research institute, nor the hypersonic silence around criminal cases created by relatives and lawyers of the accused while the leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences and other academic institutions completely ignores this tragedy will help.

New detainees by to Siberian scientists from the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITPM) named after. Christianovich of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, accused of treason, was the scientist Vladislav Galkin from Tomsk. T-invariant was informed about this by Elena Nefedova, acting. Chairman of the Sovetsky District Court of Novosibirsk.

Vladislav Galkin

Vladislav Galkin – Candidate of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Assistant Professor Tomsk Polytechnic University, permanent co-author Valery Zvegintsev, chief researcher at ITAM SB RAS, also accused of treason. Both scientists have published a large number of scientific papers on hypersonic technologies (usually with several other co-authors).

It should be noted that this time the court initially announcedon the detention of another person accused of treason, without naming his name, as if casually . On December 6, information appeared that Zvegintsev’s house arrest had been extended for another two months, until 02/07/2024, and “the period of detention of the second accused” will last until the same date. Cases against those accused of treason are already becoming more and more closed and not public with each new case (T-invariant more than once wrote about this), lawyers and relatives refuse dissemination of any information, but the absence of a name in the court message is a serious step towards even greater secrecy. “This is really something new in relation to scientists accused of treason. Well, if they [the FSB] had their way, they wouldn’t report anything at all, wouldn’t name anything,” notes the founder of the First Department, Ivan Pavlov.

Vladislav Galkin, judging by his scientific publications, is a rather versatile mechanical scientist, notes Doctor of Physics and Mathematics. Sciences Andrey Tsaturyan, who studied his work at the request of T-invariant.

“He has work on rheology, filtration (as applied to oil production) and supersonic gas dynamics. At an early stage of his scientific career, he was involved in fashion several decades ago. MHD generators. Judging by the publications, Vladislav Galkin is both an experimenter and a theorist; he has work on numerical methods of gas dynamics. Joint work with colleagues from the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics named after. S.A. Khristianovich of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, including with Valery Zvegintsev, since about 2016, have been devoted to the mechanics of supersonic flows – a topic in which, at least since 2015, the FSB has shown increased interest (see text “Hypersonic silence”). They are dedicated to air intake designs niks for supersonic aircraft and include ideas for modifying their design, numerical calculations and even tests in a wind tunnel up to Mach numbers (sound speeds) 4-5, which does not formally relate to hypersound, but is close to it. All publications were published in the open press, most likely with the corresponding certificates of examination. I’m sure at the Institute. Khristianovich is strict with this,” explains T-invariant’s interlocutor.

In one of the latest joint work Galkin and Zvegintsev, published in the Iranian “Journal of Applied and Computational Mechanics”, “a method for designing high-speed axisymmetric air intakes due to flow reversal in the corresponding isentropic nozzle.”

The air intakes in the nozzles of the Kinzhals, Zircons, Avangards and Sarmatovs obviously interested the security officers. The “case of Siberian scientists” is growing, and this is definitely a real FSB campaign against all scientists involved in “hypersonic technologies,” believes Ivan Pavlov.

Ivan Pavlov. Photo: “Current time”

“For the FSB, scientists are easy prey, they are mostly older people, they quickly break down on the very first day, the investigator will shout at them and they do whatever he tells them, follow the lead. Of course, all cases are related specifically to hypersonic topics, no matter where scientists live and work, in any case, all their cases are supervised by the Central Office of the FSB, this is not a regional level. Several years ago, Putin instructed to protect promising Russian technologies in hypersound, so the security officers are practicing,” explains Ivan Pavlov.

Most of Zvegintsev’s works have several other co-authors besides Galkin. Does the branching of the case amongscientistsfrom other Siberian cities mean that co-authors should “get ready “? Ivan Pavlov formulates the logic of the FSB as follows:   

“How does a hypersonics scientist become a defendant in a treason case? If you have ever participated in an international scientific project, or been responsible for the transfer of reporting documentation to foreign partners… consider everything. Then the security officer determines whether the information sent contained state secrets, and it doesn’t matter whether there was approval or not, they don’t care – you sent a “state secret,” which means you are a state traitor.”

It has not yet been possible to confirm whether Galkin’s “hypersonic” works were examined and approved: Tomsk Polytechnic University did not respond to T-invariant’s request.

Background of the case of Siberian scientists

Recall that in May T-invariant reported that three physicists were arrested in the “Novosibirsk case”, as well as their predecessors – four scientists, also accused of treason in different years – participated in projects of the seventh framework program of the European Union “TransHyBerian” (coordinated by the Von Karman Institute of Hydrodynamics, Belgium). While the contacts of scientists with China and Iran are only a pretext, not a reason for arrests (this was discussed by T-invariant’s interlocutors and sources).

In less than a year at the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITPM) named after. Khristianovich of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, three employees were accused of high treason. On April 7, 2023, chief researcher Valery Zvegintsev was arrested. In 2001, he founded and headed a laboratory at the institute “Aerogasdynamics of high speeds”.

In 2006, Alexander Shiplyuk, the future director of ITPM, became the head of this laboratory. Shiplyuk was arrested in August 2022.

Shortly before this, in June 2022, the chief researcher of ITPM, Alexander Maslov, who for more than twenty years was the deputy director of the institute for scientific work in charge of the aerodynamic direction, was arrested.

All three for many years at different times were co-authors of works that can be found in open booksbasics of these scientific articles. In the spring, ITPM employees expressed concern that other scientists who were their co-authors were under threat of arrest. Institute staff expressed these concerns in an open letter from the entire institution (which in these days is already civic courage).

The scientists’ fears were confirmed most directly six months later.

Text: Evgeniy Nasyrov


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