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Another Russian scientist sentenced on high treason charge for sharing secret hypersonic data

Gavel (Observer-Dispatch/TNS)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Another Russian scientist has been sentenced to a lengthy prison term on a high treason charge in an ongoing spate of similar secretive cases targeting Russian academics.

The Moscow Regional Court on June 22 sentenced Roman Kovalyov, a former senior official at the Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash), to 7 years in prison.

TsNIIMash is Russia’s leading rocket and spacecraft scientific center located in the city of Korolyov near Moscow.

Kovalyov was arrested in June last year and charged with treason after his apartment and summer house near the Russian capital were searched by police.

Details of the case have not been made public as its materials were classified.

Kovalyov was working with Viktor Kudryavtsev, a 75-year-old researcher at the TsNIIMash.

Kudryavtsev was arrested in July 2018 on suspicion of passing classified data on hypersonic technology to a research group in Belgium.

Kudryavtsev’s lawyers have said that he had rejected a deal with investigators who wanted him to testify against Kovalyov in exchange for being transferred from pretrial detention to house arrest.

Kudryavtsev suffered a heart attack while in custody and was released from pretrial detention in late-September and ordered not to leave Moscow while investigations were under way.

The case against Kovalyov and Kudryavtsev is one of several in recent years in which Russian scholars and scientists have been accused of treason or disseminating classified or sensitive information.