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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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The Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - January 2, 1974, Lethbridge, Alberta 8 1 i Even Soviets are not immune from scandals of greed By CHRISTOPHER S. WREN New York Times Service MOSCOW As the seven Soviet scientists first told it, they had toiled away the winter high in the snowbound Anzob Pass of Northern Tadjikistan in Soviet Central Asia all in the cause of energy research. Only later did one of the scientists, Shabkat Dzhurayev confess to authorities that the ex- pedition had never occurred. Indeed, it appeared that the state funds requisitioned for the mission had taken the scientific party no farther than the better restaurants of Dushanbe, the capital of Tadzhikistan. Dzhurayev's confession exposed only the tip of a scandal that has since enveloped the Tadzhik Scientific Research Branch of Energetics, a previously reputable institute reporting to the Soviet ministry of energy some miles away in Moscow. In reporting the scandal this week, the new- spaper Komsomolskaya Pravda asserted grimly: "We shall talk not about a detective story but about the plain embezzlement of state funds at a respectable scientific institute." Nonetheless, Soviet authorities were ap- parently still trying to unravel just who did not go where and with how many rubles. So far, about 30 scientists have been involved in the scandal. But complicity is so widespread among the institute's staff of 90 that the prosecution has not been able to gather enough evidence for an indictment, Komsomolskaya Pravda said. Although his six purported companions in- sisted that Dzhurayev was lying, his account of the fictitious expedition was buttressed by some meteorologists working in the Anzob Pass. They reported that the institute's hut there had been dark and boarded up. The only institute member they recalled having seen was Samin Yulchiyev, who tramped up through the snow from the road one day, gave them a bottle of vodka and in return asked them to stamp seven sets of documents 'certifying that the scientists had been there. A few other institute workers, principally Alexander Volkov and Ludmilla Savchenko, join- ed Dzhurayev in confessing- Authorities learned that some staff members had signed up relatives and friends as employes for expeditions that never left the institute. "Clearly fictitious assignments and even whole expeditions were a common Komsomolskaya Pravda said. Some of the fund for expeditions were spent on fancy dinners and other celebrations. Scientists also took to awarding each other cash bonsues. Once authorities began to investigate, records were juggled or destroyed. Institute staff members also tried to retaliate against the three key informers. Volkov was accused of having put three fic- titious old women on the payroll of one ex? pedition. He admitted that he had .done so, because it was the only way he could get money to repair his scientific instruments. Repairmen confirmed his story, but he was still put into jail along with Yulchiyev. Ludmilla Savchenko, who also had confessed to authorities, was ordered out of town on an assignment during the investigation. She refused to go and was dismissed for insubordination. That left Mr. Dzhurayev to "cling by his the newspaper said. He was threaten- ed with official institute reprimands. Kom- somolskaya Pravda noted that "it will take only a slight push to get rid of him now." 24 PC. Flatware Sets Gemini Carpet Sweeper with Superb Features For Deep Cleaning Action! 5 PC. Cannister Sets Step-on Cans qtofil flatware Set Bright sunrise design. 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