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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Spy Scandals: Headhunters Bloodthirsty

Special services caught first "spies" in the early 1990s
A suit against scientist Vladimir Shchurov from the Russian city of Vladivostok blamed for the state secret disclosure has been recommenced in the regional court of Primorye on Monday. Russia's news agency RIA Novosti learnt from Judge Anatoly Yushchenko that on August 18 the court completed the inquest and started listening to the statements of both sides. However as both sides need time to get ready for pleadings it was decided to postpone the sitting of the court until August 20.

Head of the Laboratory for Oceanic Acoustics at Vladivostok's Pacific Ocean Studies Institute Vladimir Shchurov was detained at the Russian-Chinese border in August 1999. The scientist had telemetric equipment and technical documents meant for the University of Kharbin; customs officials withdrew the things from Shchurov. The scientist and his colleague Yury Khvorostov were accused of illegal export of technologies, smuggling and state secret disclosure. The FSB decided that the equipment might be used for military purposes; the scientist in his turn provided unreliable information about transportation of the equipment and about the documents.

According to the results of the first expertise, the equipment created at the laboratory of Vladivostok's Ocean Studies Institute had no analogues in the world and thus it was ranked among the state secret issues. Later, the Prosecutor's Office of Primorye acquitted Yury Khvorostov of all the charges and refused to support the accusation of export of technologies and smuggling against Vladimir Shchurov; the only indictment the Prosecutor's Office supported was the state secret disclosure. One more expertise was held in January; however its results are not yet published.

The Russian Academy of Sciences speaks in support of scientist Vladimir Shchurov. A commission was set up by the Academy Presidium especially to conduct an expertise; the commission made a conclusion that no state secret had been disclosed by the scientist. However, materials of the highly reliable scientific commission won't be added to materials of the case without explaining the reason why. The scientific commission says that the FSB are finding faults with the scientists because FSB officers want promotion for themselves thanks to participation in the state secret scandal. Scientists add that some scientific achievements and innovations that would have been useful for the population are in fact unfavorable for some higher authorities that hamper or destroy the work of scientists.

Special services caught first "spies" in the early 1990s. Those were two chemists dealing with development and liquidation of chemical weapons, Vil Mirzoyanov and Lev Fyodorov. Later, the case against the scientists fell to pieces, but Vil Mirzoyanov was still kept at a detention center for several months. Ecologist investigating radioactive contamination on the Kola Peninsula Alexander Nikitin had to spend much time to prove his innocence, from 1996 till 2000. All the same, the case was a failure for the FSB.

Since 1999, when FSB top officials have come to power, the spy mania gained a nation-wide scale in Russia. A criminal case was instituted against Vladivostok's Pacific Ocean Studies Institute Professor Vladimir Soifer. The professor studied the consequences of an explosion at a nuclear submarine at the Bay of Chazhma. The other day the investigation has been ceased. In a year, one more "spy" was disclosed at the same institute: Vladimir Shchurov was accused of delivery of military technologies. 

The case of Igor Sutyagin was started in 1999. The case is said to be connected with American post-graduate student Joshua Handler. The case of the American post-graduate student was allegedly closed for the absence of corpus delicti. However, FSB Director Nikolay Patrushev can still make loud statements. 

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