In Novosibirsk, in less than a year, the third scientist dealing with aerodynamics was arrested on suspicion of treason. As the acting director of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Evgeny Kraus told Russian media, lawsuits against scientists have already leads to an exodus of students and graduate students who want to study aerodynamics, and a reduction in publications in international journals.
The arrest of the chief researcher of the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM) of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a specialist in aerodynamics Valery Zvegintsev, became known on May 16 in an open letter institute staff. He became the third ITAM scientist arrested on suspicion of treason in the past year. In the summer of 2022, Anatoly Maslov, the chief researcher of the institute, a specialist in the field of viscous gas dynamics and hypersound, was arrested under this article, later – the director of the Alexander Shiplyuk Institute, a member of the Presidium of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, specializing in the study of high-speed flight problems.
According to the institute’s acting director, Yevgeny Kraus, Zvegintsev has not reported to work for three weeks and the authorities behind his arrest have not sent any notification to the institute. Kraus said Zvegintsev has worked at the institute since 1968 and deals with a wide range of aerodynamics issues.
At the same time, against the backdrop of lawsuits against scientists under the article on treason, the institute is already seeing an exodus of young professionals who want to deal with this topic, the acting director added. “The exodus of graduate students who failed, students who did not come is 10 to 20%. Our opinion is expressed in a call in which scientists do not understand how to live, ”said Kraus.
The acting director of the institute pointed out that among scientists, publication activity in foreign journals also decreased by about 30% – one of the performance indicators required of Russian scientists. “The number of publications has decreased considerably. All our publications go through the 1st department and expert control,” Kraus explained, adding that at present the institute is almost not engaged in international cooperation.
“Since we are one of the leading institutes of aerodynamics, as they say now, ‘hostile’ countries and friendly countries have actively worked with us. Since 2014, international contracts with the European side have ended… The international activity is practically nil, ”explained Kraus, adding that in the field of aerodynamics, cooperation with China has also been reduced to zero.
How reported TASS, the reason for the suspicion of treason was the publication of Zvegintsev in an Iranian magazine on the topic of gas dynamics. This information has been neither confirmed nor denied by the management of the institute.
How noted on the institute’s website, in 2001, Zvegintsev was the founder of the High-Speed Aerogasdynamics Laboratory, headed in 2006 by Shiplyuk. The journal “Applied Mechanics and Technical Physics” of the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences published articles by a scientist devoted to the analysis of the behavior of cumulative jets, the acceleration of massive bodies by methods of dynamics of gases, flights of aircraft with a ramjet, engines of small rockets launched from the surface of the earth, and others operate.
“In this situation, we are not only afraid for the fate of our colleagues. We just don’t understand how to keep doing our job. On the one hand, the main indicator of the quality of our work within the framework of the state task and projects of Russian state funds and departments is the degree of presentation of our results to the scientific community, including scientific publications and speeches at conferences, Zvegintsev’s colleagues say in an open letter. On the other hand, we see that any article or report can lead to charges of high treason. What we are rewarded for today and held up as an example to others tomorrow becomes grounds for criminal prosecution. In this situation, it is simply impossible for our institute, the only academic organization in the country with a large experimental and numerical research base in aerodynamics, to operate.
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