Computer science Repression

Sergei Abramov: “I’m afraid that Russia is shooting itself not in the foot, but in the head”

In 2023, the FSB began subjecting dissenters to punitive psychiatry. Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of  Sciences Sergei Abramov left the psychiatric hospital after an examination and became familiar with the updated version of the charges.

On January 30, 2024, Abramov, a major specialist in supercomputer technologies, was introduced by an investigator from the FSB Directorate for the Yaroslavl Region to the conclusion of an inpatient psychiatric examination , in which the scientist is recognized as fully sane. On the same day, Abramov received an updated text of his accusation. According to investigators, the scientist, adhering to extremist views and positions, feeling dissatisfied with the current government in Russia and the policies pursued, supported the activities of an extremist organization and financed extremist activities (Part 1. 282.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).

T-invariant spoke with the scientist about his life with the “extremist” label, his political views and the reasons for the security forces’ attack on the Russian supercomputer industry. Also Sergei Abramov transferred for publication detailed diary entries about his stay in a psychiatric hospital (some conditions in which are harsher than in a pre-trial detention center). 

Help. What’s new in the Abramov case?

We wrote in detail about the Abramov case (June, November ). The scientist continues to deny his guilt, claims that he never financed extremist organizations and that in the part of the case materials with which he was familiarized as of January 30, 2024, there is no evidence of his guilt.

As we found out: there is a fact of transfer from Abramov’s bank account of donations to an unnamed “extremist organization” (according to media reports, we are talking about the Anti-Corruption Foundation of Alexei Navalny), but, according to the scientist, he did not make these donations. Abramov claims that a certain third party could have processed such a transfer on his behalf, and the case materials known to the scientist himself today do not allow us to establish who, when, where and how these donations were processed on his behalf. The scientist explained that this happens and it is not uncommon: The Central Bank of Russia in 2021 counted for the year more than a million such cases – “banking transactions carried out without the consent of clients.”

Does not express delusional ideas

T-i: Sergei Mikhailovich, what did the psychiatrists decide? How dangerous are you to society and science?

SA: In November 2023, there was an outpatient forensic psychiatric examination, which could not answer the investigator’s questions about my sanity. An inpatient forensic psychiatric examination was ordered. To conduct it in December 2023, I spent 12 days in the Yaroslavl psychiatric hospital. This time, the experts were able to make their conclusions and answer all the investigator’s questions. The examination established that I was sane in August 2021, when I was credited with starting the crime (which I do not admit) and remain sane to this day.

Moreover, the examination was thorough and, it seems to me, objective. In conclusion, there is a very detailed psychological portrait of me, which, it seems to me, does not fit in any way with the words “has extremist views and position.”

Judge for yourself: the legal definition of extremism (clause 1 of Article 1 of the 114-FZ) is about violence or the threat of violence, about the justification of terrorism, about discord or about superiority (racial, national, religious…), about all sorts of things. Now try to combine this with my traits, as defined by experts: polite; friendly; empathic; judgments and assessments are balanced, somewhat self-centered; emotional manifestations are adequate to the situation; a well-developed sense of humor and demonstrates it appropriately; the mood is even; does not express delusional ideas; conformity of internal attitudes (tendency to conformism); a contradictory combination of multidirectional tendencies – the desire to defend one’s position and attitudes to avoid conflicts. To my taste, ifcombine everything, then you get “soft-boiled boots” – an extremist conformist trying to avoid conflicts.

In general, the examination passed. New life experience. I am very glad that the experts finished in 12 days and on December 29 they released me home before the New Year, although according to the law they could have kept me there for longer.

T-i: How did you spend those twelve days in the psychiatric hospital?

SA:I have no complaints about the doctors and support staff. Moreover, I have a very warm attitude towards them: they are kind and merciful people. The difficult moments are associated with the peculiarity of the regime: no walks and telephone (to whom it was allowed) “on a forced basis.” And the hardest thing is that it suddenly turned out that the phone is unreachable on the weekend, the wife is waiting for a call and can’t find a place for herself, and you can’t do anything… In short, my wife went through difficult days, thinking about the reasons why I disappeared somewhere. I left my memories, in case someone is interested ( T-invariant publishes them without editorial changes).

T-i: What did you learn at the last meeting with the investigator?

SA: Firstly, almost 20 kilograms of “iron” were returned to me. Not everything taken during the search, but some. My laptop and five smartphones (mine, my wife’s, my son’s) have not yet been returned. But they gave away the video surveillance server in our house, my wife’s tablet, my laptop, and one of my wife’s two phones. And also, what is especially important, a 6 terabyte digital storage – a gift from the family for my anniversary, where photo and video archives of our families have been digitized for many years since the beginning of the century, war photographs of mom and dad… The storage has not yet been turned on, but I hope that nothing from the family archive was lost.

Also at this meeting, I handed over to the investigator my testimony and petitions for various investigative actions: examinations and an investigative experiment with me and my equipment. The goal is simple: to ensure the completeness and objectivity of the investigation, my rights to defense and the opportunity to prove my innocence. I can explain a lot about my business and am ready to do so. I’m waiting for the investigation’s decision on my petitions.

So far, there are a lot of strange things in the case materials that I am privy to. I’m waiting for all the materials to be provided to me – about 1000 pages.

T-i: Let’s go back to the arrest in April 2023. Often before a search there are some signs that you may not notice at the moment, but in hindsight you already perceive as hints. Has this ever happened to you?

SA: Nothing like that. No hints.

T-i: How was the search itself carried out in April 2023?

SA: The search itself lasted from about seven o’clock until midnight, there were ten people from the investigation, including two witnesses. They took out a huge amount of equipment. They were looking for a weapon, but I don’t have one. My eyes lit up when I found the dagger, but it was an award from the Permanent Committee of the Union State of Russia and Belarus with a certificate that it was a souvenir product.

They were looking for a large amount of cash and asked where my safe was. We couldn’t believe that there was no safe in our rural house.

We lingered for a long time on folders with materials from foreign trips. And the worst thing we learned about later was that for some reason they came to search my son’s Pereslavl apartment. The justification for the search in my son’s apartment was that I was allegedly registered there, although the investigation knew very well that I was registered in Moscow. No weapons, large sums of money or anything else were found on the son. They took the phone – a gift from his wife. This search had a very serious impact on my son’s health.

T-i: How do you explain to yourself who came for you now and why?

SA: I don’t have data, but I have had many conflict situations.

For example, here is a standard situation: I am participating in another supercomputer project, in which I insist that everything must be done wisely – “a bridge must be built across the river.” And they tell me: “Abramov, we will build a bridge along the river. The decision has been made and must be implemented.”

In such cases, my position was simple: “I won’t work like that. You can remove me from the project, but you will not force me to do what I consider wrong.” And such conflicts made it possible to acquire quite an influence for many years.corporeal ill-wishers.

When I was the head of the Institute of Software Systems named after A.K. Ailamazyan of the Russian Academy of Sciences, then, using approximately the same scheme, it turned out to very seriously spoil relations with some leaders of the local and regional level. Not with everyone, but with many I had excellent relationships, mutual understanding and direct contact “on the mobile”. But several times according to the scheme “It will be as I said!” – “No, it will be as I said, because it is correct: according to the mind, according to honor and according to the law.” And when things turned out my way, I made enemies with great opportunities for a long time.

Finally, I have been living in a village for the last 15 years and occupy a role that can be called “civil activist”. As an IT specialist, I took part in organizing the IT infrastructure of the community of fellow villagers: WhatsApp groups (more than 800 participants), cloud storage of our correspondence with officials. We are fighting, first of all, for decent roads and gasification. No demonstrations, but boring and strongly reasoned correspondence within the framework of Federal Law-59. We discuss all group letters together, but I send them with my signature. And based on our appeals, the prosecutor’s office sued the local authorities three times and won these courts. I think that after this my person may cause dissatisfaction among some local or regional officials.

In short, turning Vizbor over: undoubtedly I have many, many influential friends, which means, of course, there are also influential enemies.

Where would we be without this? And if there are vindictive people among them, then they may try to find a way to settle accounts with me for the past. Even if many years have passed. And if you think about the current case (and I thought about it a lot), then as an IT specialist I will say: any ill-wisher could easily carry out a simple operation – on my behalf from my bank account to transfer money to any extremists. It is very simple and does not require any special knowledge, hacking skills or special tools. Well, our system will do the rest for me. This way you can easily get even for past “grievances.”

I always understood that there are ill-wishers. In 2010, for example, vigilant influential people expressed concerns that there were “signs of espionage for NATO,” and the FSB conducted an investigation. Thank God, then they looked into the case and decided: there were no signs of espionage. I even had a copy of the response from the Russian FSB, which I call “a certificate from the FSB stating that Abramov is not a spy.” Something tells me that if this happened today, I wouldn’t be talking to you.

At the presentation of the award to them. Lebedev RAS, 2015. Facebook S. Abramov. (Left to right: Sergey Abramov, Vladimir Fortov, President of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2013-2017), Vsevolod Opanasenko, owner of the T-Platforms company)

T-i: Where did the FSB suspect of espionage come from then?

SA: We, our team, our institute are directly involved in the creation of 6 domestic supercomputers that are included in the world ranking TOP-500, and if you count indirect participation, then by 12. And the total number of domestic cars in the TOP 500 in history is 14. Sometimes we got an ugly picture when, for 80 million rubles, we created a supercomputer that was truly at the cutting edge of global technology—not the largest, because we didn’t have a lot of money; but every detail in it was really at the cutting edge of the industry. It was possible to add reasonable money and, thanks to these solutions, simply take first place in the world… And at that time, another project had billions, but the technological solutions were much inferior. Beautiful picture? No, not beautiful. It is clear that the administrative resource in a large project was larger. Well, it began. Letters were sent from State Duma deputies, members of completely different parties to different authorities: to the Ministry of Education and Science, to the Russian Academy of Sciences, etc. The content of the letters is that Abramov makes incorrect technical decisions, conducts tenders incorrectly, and incorrectly spends budget money.

T-i: In the end, which car of yours led to accusations of possible espionage?

SA: The most critical period was when we were making the SKIF-Aurora SUSU machine. This is exactly the kind of project in which all the details were really at the forefront of technology development in the industry. Only 80 million rubles were allocated for the project and, if its scale(I insisted on this, but to no avail), it would be possible to build the TOP-10, and even the TOP-1. The project was carried out in close cooperation of the Institute with the Italian company Eurotech and with the young Russian company RSK-SKI (now a group of companies RSK), with technical support from Intel.

And it was no secret to everyone that Eurotech was not just a large international technology company with main divisions in Italy, but also one of the most important developers and suppliers of embedded electronics for NATO.

At the same time, a large supercomputer project worth billions of rubles was started. At the sketching stage, I participated in its inception. At the stage of developing approaches to “how we will build a bridge,” I said that it is possible to build it very beautifully – using the SKIF-Aurora technology.

At some point, one high-ranking official, with whom we did many projects together, told me: “We will not build the way you propose. The technical solution is different. Decision is made. You and the Institute are invited to implement the decision as co-executors.” I refused. And this is not acceptable on some level.

After this, the letters from the concerned deputies from the Duma that I spoke about came out. After a while there was a major inspection by the FAS of Russia. Moreover, it is not the Office of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia for the Yaroslavl region, but the “central office”. And the “penny” case worth 80 million rubles was led by the first deputy head of the FAS Russia. Can you imagine this? The decision of the FAS Russia is to terminate the deal and “nullify” the project. If this decision had been implemented, it would have been easy for me to present something from the class of “misuse of the budget on an especially large scale.” However, we were able to overturn the decision of the FAS Russia in court, while the FAS Russia fought to the last – until the Supreme Arbitration. Well, doesn’t this sound fantastic today? Victory in court over the decision of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia?

Then there was a scheduled audit by the Accounts Chamber. We completed the Union project SKIF-GRID, and Union projects always regularly end with a large audit of auditors. But they weren’t talking about accounting at all. And the guys are all so strong, for some reason it always seemed to me that their shoulder straps were visible through their shirt. They asked me for a long time about Eurotech, how we interacted with them, what we got from this cooperation, what they got, what they talked about, what they did. These were employees of the Accounts Chamber, but their style showed excellent technical and technological awareness and experience in investigative work.

The department was then headed by Sergei Stepashin. Our audit was conducted by one of the Russian auditors – Viktor Kosourov (later senator). An unheard of thing: he himself came to us in Pereslavl! Usually Russian auditors do not leave the Moscow Ring Road.

T-i: Found any violations?

SA: Why! And now Kosourov reports: The SKIF-GRID program will be successfully completed (there were still a few months left), all goals have already been achieved, the flagship – the SUSU SKIF-Aurora system – has been completed at the highest technological level, previously not demonstrated in Russia, including through international cooperation. But there are three drawbacks.

Firstly, we are creative people, and as an advertisement for our flagship project, we ordered souvenir caps with “SKIF-Aurora” written on them. The supercomputer itself and the technologies in it were revolutionary. Therefore, of course, this is a reference to that same Aurora, from 1917. This souvenir was only worth a couple of tens of thousands of rubles. And in the budget estimate there was no item “advertising products.”

Secondly, we paid travel allowances to institute drivers and institute security (we have our own), who transported “hardware” worth millions of rubles from Pereslavl to Chelyabinsk. And according to the budget estimate, only scientists could be paid.

Thirdly, the FAS with its very decision on incorrect bidding…

Stepashin gave me the floor, asking me to respond to these violations. I explained that we admit the mistakes, but we have already corrected them: from non-budgetary funds we returned the few money (souvenirs and travel allowances) to the budget of the Union program. Well, the decision of the FAS Russia has already been overturned by the court.

Word inis returned to our auditor and he unexpectedly says that during the audit there were many signals and very influential people simply came… In general, vigilant citizens have the impression that in the process of international cooperation there were signs of espionage in favor of NATO countries. Critical technologies and knowledge went to Eurotech or Intel… And since the Accounts Chamber is not authorized to understand such issues, our auditor said, but signals did arrive, that is, an opinion to write a letter to the FSB of Russia – let them check it.

Stepashin asks me: “Well, what do you say about this?”

To which I replied (and suddenly such apathy came over me from everything I heard): “You know what… You can’t put a scarf over someone else’s mouth. Let the experts check for espionage and close this topic. Please write a request to the FSB.”

“We’ll settle it on that,” said Stepashin. And he sent a letter to the FSB.

There was an inspection, I was questioned many times. But everything was fine, it didn’t come to the point of initiating a criminal case. Naturally, there was no espionage there. Russia, without paying a penny, legally acquired the legal rights to several cutting-edge technologies – it was. And we didn’t transmit anything critical in the opposite direction. Some solid engineering, but nothing more.

T-i: Was it the first department at your institute?

SA: Always. And then I had normal working relations with the employees of the local and regional departments of the FSB. And the words about “operational support” were written for a reason. Everyone was doing their own thing. I – science, they – the security of the country. And everyone’s business concerned the interests of Russia. Moreover, even internal threats were monitored. So one day one of the FSB officers supervising us came and said that there was an aggravation, and recommended that I renew my driver’s weapons permit and in the future travel with weapons. So, they warned me.

“I don’t need Navalny to critically assess the situation in the country”

T-i: But you are describing 2010-2012. It’s unlikely that your criminal case is an echo of those stories. What preceded this in recent years?

SA: There was a strange story in 2022: an inspection of the institute by the prosecutor’s office, when I was no longer the director. They took some people to the department, where they argued that the previous director (that is, me) had incorrectly collaborated with companies under scientific and technical cooperation agreements. What’s wrong with that? After all, Russian IT companies cannot produce world-class technologies without academic scientists. And vice versa, scientists can only obtain interesting and practical tasks “from the fields, from the ground.” It seemed like a routine check, but occasionally some questions popped up about my political views. And in the context of one Russian oppositionist, whose name the authorities do not like to mention.

T-i: Our readers are also interested in what Abramov and Navalny are doing

SA: Firstly, I liked some of what Alexey Anatolyevich did and said. But this is not a reason to label me a “supporter” or “supports (justifies) extremism.”

If we talk about Navalny as a person, then, of course, he is outstanding, strong in spirit, faithful to his purpose (as he sees it), follows his principles with the utmost dedication.

Secondly, I don’t really understand his program. First of all, because I didn’t study it.

Thirdly, I am clearly not Navalny’s target audience. It seems to me that he is more focused on a different circle of Russian citizens. Both by age and by position in society.

Finally, I don’t need Navalny to critically assess the situation in the country. I have my own head on my shoulders. In the USSR, I first went to physics and mathematics. school, then at Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov was taught exactly one thing: to perform a critical analysis of a problem, find reliable information for this, and, based on the results of the analysis, synthesize a constructive solution to problems. Therefore, as a citizen with such skills, I independently see the problems of the Motherland and am able in many cases to indicate constructive ways to solve them.

Well, and of course, personal history influences. My grandfather was shot in 1937, I am the grandson of a repressed person. Mom (as a volunteer) and dad, the son of an enemy of the people, (as a mobilized one) fought honestly and bravely in the Great Patriotic War side by side with therepresentatives of different peoples of the USSR. And the foundation of true patriotism (in the correct understanding of the word) comes from my parents. As well as a deep rejection of racial, national and any other hatred – this also comes from them. All my “start-up capital”: upbringing, education, the fight against my medical problems from birth, an excellent start to my professional career – this is all for me, the grandson of an enemy of the people, from the Soviet regime. And there’s nothing you can do about it. On the other hand, I am a student anti-adviser Turchin not only in science. His main book on philosophy, “The Phenomenon of Science” (about how evolution works of any system, including the state one), and a deep analysis of totalitarianism in book “The Inertia of Fear” had a profound impact on me both as a scientist and as a citizen. Based on a purely cybernetic approach to analyzing the structure of the system, I can, without anyone else’s prompting, come to the conclusion that the concentration of power in the hands of one person and one party is very harmful for the country. This already happened in the USSR and ended badly.

Sergey Abramov. Facebook

I don’t need Navalny to assess the situation in which, for example, my older sister lives. She was elected head of the village. And she, among other things, has been fighting for ten years to get gas to the village, and I help her with this (writing letters, studying laws). There is gas in the required quantity 800 meters from the village. And for 10 years, officials wrote letters to my sister saying that they would supply gas, but it would take 13 kilometers. And why? Because you can ask for much more money for a project. And here’s an old woman, my sister’s neighbor, who has been chopping wood all summer all year long so that she has something to heat in the winter. She doesn’t have enough money to chop firewood, so she chops it herself. And she does this on her knees. Due to its dilapidation, because in years. All summer it stings on my knees. To see this picture once and live with it – this is what the greatness of Russia looks like.

“They killed an incredibly bright, productive company and dealt a huge blow to the country”

T-i: Yes, greatness didn’t work out in many places. So it is with supercomputers. Your work has stopped, you are on the Rosfinmonitoring register of “extremists and terrorists”, your three companies’ accounts have been blocked. The work of the T-Platforms company of your colleague and comrade Vsevolod Opanasenko has also been virtually stopped, and he himself is still under investigation. What’s wrong with the industry now?

SA: The last domestic unclassified supercomputer was made in Russia in 2014. Today, the only domestic public supercomputer remaining in the TOP-500 list is Lomonosov-2. In this sense, everything is over altogether. The reason is probably the role of supercomputers. A supercomputer today is the only means of winning competition (in any field: economic, social, technological, military). There is no competitive environment, no competition – supercomputer technologies are not needed. The second thesis (this is not my thought, this is a translation of one slide of a report in the US Congress): “The supercomputer industry is the concern of the state.” If there is no adequate government care, there will be no supercomputer industry. Adequate care is, for example, from 2 to 6 billion US dollars per year from the budget. And no extra-budgetary funds. And free (but competitive) services of the country’s supercomputer infrastructure to any companies or other consumers of this country. If this is not the case at all, there will be regression in the supercomputer industry. And even a smaller scale of meaningful government concern leads to the awakening of the industry. Alas, today there is regression.

Apparently, creating competitively superior products, technologies and services is not the goal. We have gas, we have oil… And if there are problems with them, it’s okay, “people are the second oil” – also a great source of resources.

T-i: Who ultimately ruined the industry? And is it still possible to change the situation?

SA: I would not give up on the industry. Although she is in a huge regression. Of course, the situation with T-Platforms… this was, perhaps, the first strong blow.

But there was a completely different time when the authorities protected this company! In 2013, the T-Platforms company was blacklisted by the USA and it was a significant blow.

T-i: The United States then accused T-Platforms of participating in work on weapons ?

SA: Yes, but always and in all countries supercomputers are used for military tasks. On one of our machines at the university in Chelyabinsk, as far as I know, among other things, something was considered for rocket engines. It’s a common thing. However, I note that when “T-platforms” were included in the “black list”, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was fully involved, and, according to rumors, even the first person of the country … And they achieved the lifting of sanctions. We defended it.

T-i: And today they not only do not harness, but with their own hands they bring into the internal blacklists?

SA: Yes, time passed and claims from the Ministry of Internal Affairs arose against T-Platforms. Judicial “economic entities” and criminal cases. The Institute carried out a technical examination, I understand the real situation and I can say that there were no deviations from the technical specifications in the disputed delivery. And even if there were some other reasons (not a violation of the technical specifications), well, the country (Ministry of Foreign Affairs? The first person?) had to do everything so that the company would not have any consequences.

What do we have? They killed incredibly a vibrant productive companyand dealt a huge blow to the country. And this blow in its severity exceeds all the damage that you can imagine, even if you assume that that deal with the Ministry of Internal Affairs was really with criminals.

This is what I see all the time: there is a struggle between the state and some “evil” (in quotes, since it is not always evil), and the damage from this “evil” obviously orders of magnitude less than the damage from the side effect of fighting it. This is a system error. Try this on: you have a disease, and you are taking a medicine that has guaranteed side effects that are orders of magnitude worse than the consequences of the disease. Is it normal?

Vsevolod and I communicate and support each other. But our situations are different. Vsevolod Opanasenko’s is about economics, mine is about politics.

SKIF-Aurora. Wikipedia

T-i: Who in Russia can work on supercomputers now if you and Opanasenko are withdrawn from the game?

SA: People in Sarov are doing something, “behind the fence,” this is Rosatom. It is impossible to make nuclear weapons without supercomputing. Just like a peaceful atom or thermonuclear fusion. Yes, they have many other tasks there.

And for the rest… Without serious (I’m talking about big money again) state support, it will not be possible to make normal cars at the TOP-500 level. Someone decided that they could buy supercomputers in the West or in China. Sberbank, Yandex, MTS, in fact, did just that: they bought several of these machines. But this is a corporate story, not a government supercomputer infrastructure. And this happened earlier, in a different situation.

Well, our team, like many others like it, switched to creating separate supercomputer technologies. That is, there is no money for large systems at the TOP-500 level – we are creating separate technologies that will allow us to remain at the forefront, and when the state matures and gives money for a large project, we will try to be able to implement it using our technologies.

We develop immersion cooling technologies for supercomputers. Another direction is domestic solutions for interconnection.

T-i: It turns out that the Lomonosovs are getting old, but they work, and there are no new ones anymore will it be?

SA: The first Lomonosov has been taken out of service, Lomonosov 2 is in service. They are both long-lived. But thismore of a problem than an achievement. Such machines are designed in such a way that, from an energy point of view, after 5 years they waste too much energy. And sometimes it is more profitable to build a new system than to allow the old machine to function. The same situation was at SKIF MGU (Chebyshev), where I was the chief designer, I also had a long-lived life.

Will there be new systems? I heard that about a year and a half ago, money was allocated for new large projects of at least TOP-100 class. But what happens to this plan today is unclear. The dollar exchange rate is already different, and there are understandable problems with purchasing hardware for such a project. And in such conditions, you need to muster great courage to take on a new project.

T-i: Are potential performers afraid? Do they look at the examples of Opanasenko and you?

SA: I think it’s scary to take on. Even our examples are not important. How is it even possible to work in our field today? Western solutions in terms of processors and other things are unclear how to obtain them on reasonable terms. With Chinese it is also not easy and unusual (if in everyday language, without technical details). Domestic processors? – So far, only Taiwan has made their chips, and it strictly follows the sanctions, as it seems. And this is only the first layer of problems.

Bringing a serious chip through parallel import is half the battle. Each project at the TOP-500 level (especially TOP-100) is not just a purchase of hardware. When everything was normal, we didn’t just purchase, we communicated directly with companies. As an example: I had to communicate with the vice presidents of Intel – we discussed the project with them so that a certain batch of processors would be available to us on time, so that they would fit it into their plans, so that there would be correct prices and so that we would promote the project together in the media. We were provided with warm engineering support in case of problems. Engineering support is critical: such systems are built on the newest, which means not fully tested chips. And if problems arose, our developers and engineers from Intel (or AMD, or Mellanox, or NVIDIA, or Dolphin…) sometimes communicated closely for hours and days (email, phone – the problem must be solved).

And now how to ensure all this? Will the vice president of Intel meet with the chief designer of a large system from Russia? Other CEOs? I think no, they are not suicides. Well, that’s all.

A very small number of countries can afford to be a completely self-sufficient country producing supercomputers. This is at first glance. But if you really think about it, no one. And China is no exception – I know for sure. Just like the USA. That is why we should not expect a serious conflict in the triangle of the USA, Taiwan, China. Even after the commissioning of the TSMC factory in Arizona. And if such a conflict happens, it means someone made a fatal mistake.

T-i: So you shot yourself in the foot?

SA: I’m afraid that Russia is shooting itself not in the foot, but in the head. We are now expecting that China will soon build a new factory where the chips will be only slightly worse than those from TSMC. And then, they hope, it will be possible to try to transfer domestic processors to that factory. But there are two questions: how easy the transfer will be; whether the Chinese factory will take risks in terms of secondary sanctions (or how much it will value this risk). We must also take into account that our market is not very large for China.

Build your own factory in Russia with decent technology? This requires international cooperation worse than when creating the TOP-1 supercomputer.

T-i: Vas was checked for treason, Now the FSB accuses you of financing extremism. With what eyes do you read materials about scientists who are accused of treason in batches?

SA: This is a story about “analoguenets”. Russia made noise about its hypersonic technologies , about the unique and invulnerable “Daggers”. And then it turns out that not everything is so simple. Who allowed this to happen? Who didn’t provide? I don’t know the details, but there is a suspicion that scientists are appointed as “switchmen.” We need to somehow explain why our hypersound is not alwaysand this hyper? This means that there are enemies of the people who are to blame. So we need to find it. Found. I think they will continue to search. And I’m truly sorry for the scientists. This is also a story about the fact that the damage from the fight against “evil” (in quotes) is greater than the damage from “evil” itself.

Text: Evgeny Nasyrov, Olga Orlova

,   5.02.2024

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