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St. Petersburg Union of Scientists wants Putin to help free a rocket scientist accused of treason


The St. Petersburg Union of Scientists has addressed an open letter to President Putin, citing “humanitarian reasons” for the release of Viktor Kudryatsev, the 74-year-old senior researcher at the Central Research Institute of Machine Building (TsNIIMash) recently arrested on treason charges.

The group says Kudryatsev suffers from several chronic illnesses (including type 2 diabetes), arguing that pretrial detention puts his life at risk. Kudryatsev’s lawyer has said his client has also been denied necessary medical assistance in jail.

Formed in 1989, the St. Petersburg Union of Scientists is an independent non-governmental organization comprising more than 900 scientists. The group regularly expresses the scientific community’s views on Russia’s contemporary social issues.

The head research organization of Roscosmos, TsNIIMash is a Russian rocket and spacecraft scientific center. The institute includes a mission control center that supports Russia’s work on the International Space Station. TsNIIMash also works closely with the Tactical Missiles Corporation, which develops Russia’s hypersonic rockets.