The Federal Security Service (FSB) has initiated an investigation in Russia’s Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIImash; a subsidiary of Roscosmos). The reason of the probe is the supposed leak of information to Western intelligence agencies concerning Russian research into hypersonic technologies.
Russia’s State Space Corporation Roscosmos has set up a commission which will start work in the week of Monday, July 23rd. It will probe the activity of the Central Research Institute of Machine-Building (TsNIImash), announced by Roscosmos Spokesman Vladimir Ustimenko and reported by TASS.
The Roscosmos press office reports that the company CEO Dmitry Rogozin has been informed and has been given instructions to offer full assistance to the investigators.
The Russian business daily Kommersant reported that TsNIImash staff offices were searched by an investigation team from the Federal Security Service. Furthermore, the team has searched the office of Director of the Roscosmos Research and Analytical Center Dmitry Paison. TASS reported that according to the newspaper an investigation was carried out as part of the criminal proceedings instituted on charges of high treason under the Russian Criminal Code. Approximately 10 employees working in the space industry are under investigation for collaboration with Western intelligence services.
Ustimenko also confirmed to TASS that Paison has submitted his resignation and is on leave until August, after which he will officially leave his post. He also specified that the Director was a witness in the high treason case.
The newspaper further claims that the Federal Security Services have concluded that Western agencies have received information on the results of Russian space industry’s “top secret” work on hypersonic technologies.
Ustimenko, the spokesperson said “”An instruction has been issued to form a commission to scrutinize the TsNIImash’s activity. An inspection will be carried out. After that, the corresponding conclusions will be made. The commission will start its work shortly this week.” However, a timeframe for the commission’s work was not specified.
TASS reports that Member of the Moscow Public Monitoring Commission Yevgeny Yenikeyev earlier said that a Moscow court had authorized the arrest of TsNIImash’s 74-year-old employee Viktor Kudryavtsev accused of high treason. The court which authorized the arrest was not specified. Utsimenko, himself, confirmed the arrest of the scientist, however he provided no additional information. TsNIImash refuses any comments as reported by TASS.
The commission, led by Roscosmos Deputy CEO Sergei Dyomin, was formed after some members of Roscosmos’s central research institute were accused of leaking state secrets to Western intelligence services.
An undisclosed source in the Russian space industry told TASS that the searches were being conducted in the TsNIImash Endurance Center.
Furthermore, investigators do not suspect the current CEO of TsNIImash, due to the high treason case’s relation to the 2013 events, while he came into position in 2015, TASS reported.
Early July 23rd, Roscosmos, according to TASS, announced that the high treason case and searches in TsNIImash and the state space corporation were related to 2013 events. The announcement also said that there are no questions regarding other periods of activity.
An undisclosed source told Interfax “first signals on possible unlawful activities at TsNIImash appeared in the first half of 2013, and this is when law enforcement agencies turned their attention to the institute.” He also continued “At the same time, the documents seized date to the last quarter of 2013.” This is coherent with the Roscosmos statement of July 23rd saying that the investigators are probing events that date up to 2013.