The imprisonment of Professor Anatoly Gubanov highlights the increasing paranoia of the Putin regime towards scientific cooperation with foreign countries.
In a shocking move, one of the world’s leading hypersonic scientists, Professor Anatoly Gubanov, has been sentenced to 12 years in prison by the Russian government for sharing technology with the West. What makes this case particularly troubling is that Gubanov had permission to share the information he was accused of leaking.
Gubanov, a 66-year-old physicist and expert in hypersonic aviation technology and high-speed missiles, was arrested by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in December 2020. He was charged with “high treason” and after a secret trial, he was sentenced to a strict regime, maximum security prison.
The professor had been given permission three times to share details of Russian research with a project coordinated by the European Space Agency. This project, called Hexafly-INT: High-Speed Experimental Fly Vehicles International, involved specialists from several countries, including Britain, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, and Australia. Despite having the necessary clearance, Gubanov was still accused of sharing state secrets with the West.
This case is not an isolated incident. Several other top scientists have been imprisoned in Russia under similar charges in recent years. Fellow hypersonic scientist Valery Golubkin, for example, was also jailed for “high treason” in June 2021 for allegedly leaking secrets to a NATO country. Golubkin, like Gubanov, insisted that he only shared information cleared by the Russian authorities.
These cases raise concerns about the increasing paranoia of the Putin regime towards scientific cooperation with foreign countries. The Russian government’s crackdown on scientists and accusations of treason may have a chilling effect on young researchers and discourage international collaboration.
It is important to note that the material Gubanov and others were accused of sharing had been cleared by specialized Russian commissions overseen by the FSB. None of these commissions found any state secrets in the reports. This raises questions about the motivations behind these arrests and whether they are politically motivated rather than based on genuine security concerns.
The imprisonment of Professor Anatoly Gubanov is a clear example of the challenges faced by scientists in Russia and the potential consequences of engaging in international scientific collaboration. It is a reminder of the importance of protecting academic freedom and fostering an environment that encourages scientific exchange and cooperation for the benefit of global progress.