In Russia, What's Not a 'Secret'? ; Sociologist Is Charged with Treason for Sharing Public Information with Foreign Professors

By Fred Weir, Peterson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, January 19, 2001 | Go to article overview

In Russia, What's Not a 'Secret'? ; Sociologist Is Charged with Treason for Sharing Public Information with Foreign Professors


Fred Weir, Peterson, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


A chill is creeping over Russia's academic and journalistic communities as the implications of a key treason trial launched by the security service sink in: Almost any piece of information communicated to a foreigner could land you in jail.

The case holding everyone's attention concerns Igor Sutyagin, a sociological researcher with Moscow's prestigious Institute of Canada-USA Studies, who is charged with espionage for carrying out seemingly routine academic cooperation with Canadian and British colleagues. Mr. Sutyagin, who never had access to classified information, has been held for 15 months in a special prison by the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the Soviet-era KGB. His trial has been postponed twice.

"There is a new concept being deployed by our authorities here, which is that an analyst can 'create secrets' even by working with non-secret materials," says Andrei Piontkovsky, a leading Russian political analyst who says he has been interviewed by the FSB because he once attended a conference with Sutyagin. "We are all holding our breath to see if this holds up in court. If it does, we may all find ourselves guilty of 'creating' secrets at any time, at the whim of the FSB."

A wave of treason trials, orchestrated by the FSB, has deeply alarmed journalists, academics, and environmentalists, whose interests overlap military and national security fields. In December, an American businessman, Edmund Pope, was sentenced to 20 years at hard labor by a Russian court for trying to purchase documents that were declared secret only after his arrest. Mr. Pope was pardoned by President Vladimir Putin. A prominent environmentalist, Grigory Pasko, successfully defended himself against charges of leaking information about the Russian Navy's dumping of nuclear waste in the Pacific Ocean, only to find himself facing a fresh trial on the same charges late last year.

President Putin apparently approves. A former KGB agent, he told prosecutors at a Kremlin ceremony in their honor last month, to "preserve the valuable aspects that have always been present in the work of the security organs of our country."

One reason Sutyagin's case resonates is because of its apparent routine feel. He was arrested after he took part in a Canadian government-funded survey of military-civil relations in Russia and 11 other post-Communist countries, in collaboration with professors from Canada's Carleton and York universities. No problems have arisen in any of the other countries involved in the study. He is also accused of producing a digest of military-related articles from the Russian press for a British company.

Sutyagin's lawyer, Vladimir Vasiltsov, says the FSB's complaint against his client is that he analyzed the data he gathered from open sources. "You can read all you want, but don't you dare compare and analyze this information, because that can create a state secret," he says.

Pavel Podvig, an analyst with the independent Center of Arms Control Studies in Moscow and presently a visiting scholar at Princeton University, is also under investigation for a book he edited in 1998 on Russia's strategic nuclear arsenal. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

In Russia, What's Not a 'Secret'? ; Sociologist Is Charged with Treason for Sharing Public Information with Foreign Professors
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.