Computer science Repression

Meta-detection of FSB.
How 900 pages of Sergei Abramov’s criminal case were born from $75 in a year

The FSB completed investigative actions in the case of corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Sergei Abramov a year later: the materials were transferred to the court, which must set a date for the hearing. In the new Putin term, they began to give inadequately large sentences for donations to the Anti-Corruption Foundation (a recent case — 7 years for $150). However, 67-year-old Abramov, with his numerous chronic diseases, is unlikely to withstand that much. Intimidated by the new repressive laws, civil society and scientific circles, including the leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences, are in no hurry to publicly speak out in defense of the corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the creator of the majority of domestic supercomputers that were in the world TOP-500. While the world scientific community, represented by the American Physical Society, is seriously concerned about the fate of the Russian scientist

The Pereslavl District Court of the Yaroslavl Region registered the materials of the criminal case against Sergei Abramov, the largest specialist in supercomputers. The investigation lasted a year. As a source familiar with the results of the investigation told T-invariant, the criminal case contains 900 pages. The first hearings are ahead.

According to T-invariant, seven donations of 1,000 rubles each appear in Abramov’s case. The scientist himself has repeatedly denied his guilt, including denying that he made these translations. He proves that the transfers were made without his knowledge. It also gives statistics Central Bank of the Russian Federation that, for example, in 2021, according to the Central Bank report, 1,035,000+ “banking transactions” were made without the client’s consent.”

The scientist’s defense will insist that in the case there is no time and place of registration of the subscription, the device, IP address and MAC address of the device from which the transfers were made are unknown. The recipient’s acquiring bank has not been identified. But in the case there is a “secret witness” who claims that Abramov, in a conversation with him, said something approving about Navalny, and to prove his extremist thoughts, Abramov’s Facebook posts were used (in 99% of cases, far from specifics, but on the contrary — written in Aesopian language, with a large dose of sarcasm or irony). There is a linguistic examination of the scientist’s posts in the case, however, T-invariant more than once wrote about the negative role this “expertise” plays in the modern Russian legal process.

Abramov’s case is unprecedented, even by the standards of Putin’s last term. Firstly, for the first time, a clearly “political” criminal case was opened against such a major academic leader — a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a long-term head of a large research institute, and a curator of the supercomputer “union” program (between Russia and Belarus). Secondly, in relation to Abramov, the FSB applied the classic Soviet practice of “punitive psychiatry” (sent to a psychiatric clinic for 2 weeks). Abramov is one of many caught up in the “FBK extremist case”: how has been counted by the publication “Cold”, there are already 53 people involved. There are many random people among them: someone left an inscription in the snow, and someone sent a donation of 200 rubles. The latest unprecedented case in Dolgoprudny: programmer Alexey Malyarevsky received 7 years for a donation of $150.

The details of Abramov’s case raise many questions. In particular, about how much the court will assess the severity of the crime of a scientist who, according to investigators, transferred only $75, if for an FBK donation of $150 they now give 7 years? And how does this insignificant amount (presented, but still not proven) look against the background of a whole year of work by investigators, detectives, psychiatrists and an entire regional psychiatric clinic (Abramov himself makes minimal calculations and asks the same question in your diaries from the hospital).

How the case of Sergei Abramov developed

Let us recall that the search took place at Abramov’s place on April 10, 2023, and after that he spent 1.5 days in a pre-trial detention center. On April 12, 2023, a trial was held in Yaroslavl, at which the scientist was charged with financing extremist activities — a crime under Part 1 of Art. 282.3 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation. We are talking about transferring money from Abramov’s PayPal account to the account of Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation. Also, according to investigators, the scientist “supported the activities of an extremist organization” and financed it, “adhering to extremist views and positions, and being dissatisfied with the current government in Russia and the policies pursued.”

Simultaneously with the filing of charges, on April 12, 2023, Abramov was included in the Rosfinmonitoring list of extremists and terrorists. Thus, all personal accounts were blocked, as well as the accounts of all legal entities associated with him (in this case, 4 companies involved, among other things, in supercomputer technologies).

Court sent Abramova under house arrest for a period until June 10, 2023, without the right of correspondence and external communications. This became widely known from media publications only a month later — May 11, 2023. On October 10, 2023, he was released from house arrest and placed on his own recognizance.

November 30, 2023 in the Leninsky District Court of Yaroslavl satisfied FSB petition to place Abramov in a psychiatric hospital for at least three weeks for an inpatient examination. After this, Abramov was placed in a psychiatric hospital and was released on December 30, 2023.

On January 30, 2024, Abramov was summoned for questioning and was told that the in-patient examination recognized he is completely sane. After this, Abramov gave a detailed interview with the T-invariant publication and published his diary entries about two weeks in a psychiatric hospital.

Waiting for a tight deadline

The scientific community, concerned about the fate of Abramov, and the scientist’s relatives are preparing for an inappropriately harsh punishment.

On the part of the members of the Russian Academy of Sciences there was only one rather restrained statement of support addressed to Sergei Abramov on behalf of the July 1 Club, an informal association of some members of the Academy. The leadership of the Russian Academy of Sciences not only never publicly supported the scientist, but did not even respond meaningfully to letters from Abramov’s relatives. There were no public actions on the part of the IT community.

However, information and publications about the Abramov case in international press caused concern among foreign colleagues.

The American Physical Society’s Committee on International Freedom of Scientists (APS-CIFS) is aware of the situation involving Sergey Abramov, and we are closely monitoring developments as they unfold”, said T-invariant Professor of Brown University, Fellow of the American Physical Society, Chair of the American Physical Society’s Committee on International Freedom of Scientists, Kenneth Breuer.

Personal matter

Sergey Abramov born in 1957 in Moscow, graduated from Moscow State University in 1980. M.V. Lomonosov. Since 1986, he has been working at the A. K. Ailamazyan Institute of Software Systems of the Russian Academy of Sciences, including as director from 2003 to 2022. 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. Specialist in the field of system programming and information technology (supercomputer systems, telecommunication technologies, theory of constructive metasystems and metacomputing). Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences (2006). Previously, he was the Russian director of the SKIF and SKIF-GRID programs for the development of supercomputers (a project of the union state of Russia and Belarus). According to Abramov himself, the FSB previously checked him on charges of treason (read about this in a detailed interview scientist T-invariant).


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