Anatoly Maslov, 76, and two colleagues from the Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM) were accused of treason.
The first of three Russian hypersonic missile scientists to be arrested on suspicion of treason will go on trial next week in a case that sources say involves accusations of betraying secrets to China.
The criminal case against Anatoly Maslov, 76, will be opened in the Saint Petersburg city court on June 1, the court said on its website on Wednesday.
Maslov and two colleagues at the Khristianovich Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (ITAM) in Siberia were all arrested on suspicion of treason last year.
The three are specialists in hypersonics – a field of great importance in the development of the next generation of Russian missiles, which can fly at 10 times the speed of sound.
The case, marked “top secret”, is closed to the media and the public, the court said. The Kremlin has previously said the suspects face “very serious charges” although the details of their alleged crimes are classified.
The news portal of the science city in Siberia where they are based said that Maslov is suspected of handing over secrets to China.
Two sources told the Reuters news agency that fellow suspect Alexander Shiplyuk, the director of ITAM, is suspected of passing secrets to China at a conference there in 2017. They said he denied the charge. , stating that the information in question is publicly available online.
ITAM has many international links and says on its website that it is registered as part of Russia’s military-industrial complex.
Maslov – whose custody was extended until November 10 in a closed hearing on Wednesday – was arrested in June in Novosibirsk, Siberia’s largest city. Shortly thereafter he was sent to Lefortovo prison in Moscow, a former KGB interrogation site.
In St Petersburg, he was placed in the FSB security service prison on Shalernaya Street where many Soviet opponents were once held by the KGB, Maslov’s lawyer Olga Dinze told Reuters.
He declined to comment further on the case, saying “the situation is very difficult”.
Maslov’s colleagues and co-suspects Shiplyuk and the third arrested man, Valery Zvegintsev, last week published an open letter in their defense, warning that the prosecutions threatened to harm science. in Russia.
Last month the Russian parliament voted to increase the maximum penalty for treason to life in prison, from 20 years.