Putin Detains Scientists In Disturbing Act

Vladimir Putin detained another leading scientist in the country over suspicion of high treason, according to a report from The Daily Mail. The 78-year-old Dr. Valery Zvegintsev is an aerodynamics specialist and the latest of three scientists from the Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics in Novosibirsk to have been detained. 

The news was just revealed although Zvegintsev was accused of treason back in April. Along with Anatoly Maslov, 76, and Alexander Shiplyuk, 56, they were prominent scientists developing the hypersonic weapons program. Hypersonic missiles have made headlines in recent weeks as Russia launched many into Ukraine. 

Because Ukraine has both Soviet-era and Western weapons, it was able to intercept the missiles. The Ukrainians have also been using the American Patriot defense system, which they, along with Russia, acknowledge is outdated. 

The institute has come to the defense of the scientists, claiming that they are being prosecuted over normal behaviors, such as attending international conferences and publishing articles in major journals. The institute, which was founded by Zvegintsev, penned an open letter to the Kremlin stating that their competency and brilliance gave them the opportunity to work anywhere in the world, but they chose to stay behind in Russia to serve “Russian science.” They also accused the FSB security service of taking part in a “witch hunt.” 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov acknowledged the open letter but said that it was a security matter. The Daily Mail reports that another open letter was sent arguing that these prosecutions will discourage a younger generation of scientists. They claimed that it is hard to work under such conditions. 

The news of the arrests comes as the war in Ukraine continues without an end in sight. Putin says that he is ready for peace talks but alleges that Ukraine has refused to sit down at the table.