Freed Spy, Russian Physicist Arrives Home

NOVOSIBIRSK, November 26 (RIA Novosti) – Russian physicist and convicted spy Valentin Danilov, who was released on parole on Saturday after serving eight years in prison, has arrived in Novosibirsk, west Siberia.

“I had a wonderful trip, but the wind blew from the windows, as usual,” Danilov said on arriving in Novosibirsk, where he spent his youth studying at a university.

The scientist told RIA Novosti he had no plans as yet to look for work and just wanted have a rest and recover after serving his sentence. “I want to say that the place I was sent to was no way a health resort,” he said.

Danilov’s lawyer, Elena Evmenova, welcomed the court’s decision earlier this month to parole the physicist as “just and long hoped-for” but said it could have been announced earlier, the Izvestia newspaper said.

“Our complaint was sent to the European Court of Human Rights five years ago, but so far no decision has been given. We will be waiting for the results,” Evmenova was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Danilov plans to live in Novosibirsk where his wife is now living, and he also plans to visit Krasnoyarsk where his daughter and granddaughter live, Evmenova said.

Speaking in Krasnoyarsk shortly after his release, Danilov said Novosibirsk had “good conditions for innovation in thermal physics,” which he pledged to continue studying. However, he said he did not intend to work for Russian government bodies, including the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which is located in Novosibirsk Akademgorodok (science campus).

The physicist, who headed the Thermo-Physics Center at Krasnoyarsk State Technical University, was convicted of treason, related to transfer of classified information to China. The data allegedly came from his research conducted for Russia’s Defense Ministry.

Danilov was also charged with embezzling 466,000 rubles (about $16,200) paid by China to his employers. Danilov denied all the allegations.

Though acquitted in late 2003, the Supreme Court declared the ruling illegal in June 2004, and Danilov was convicted shortly after. He was then sentenced to 14 years in prison. Later, the sentence was reduced by one year.

The scientist consistently maintained that the information he was accused of selling had been available in scientific journals and had been declassified for over 10 years.

While in prison, Danilov devised proposals to improve the Russian penal system, particularly regarding inmates’ nutrition and social welfare.

“The best way to socialize is to give an inmate the right to work hard and make products which are needed. When an inmate works, he socializes and when he will walk to freedom, he will continue searching for a means to live,” Danilov said.


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