A top laser scientist has died two days after he was seized from hospital by Russian secret services on ‘spy ring’ claims.
Dr Kolker was one of two leading academics accused of being in a Chinese spy ring.
The other, Professor Anatoly Maslov, 75, a pioneer of hypersonic technologies, remains in Lefortovo jail in Moscow, where Dr Kolker was held before being rushed to a hospital where he died.
Dr Kolker’s family accused Putin’s security services of “torture” and a human rights abuse in seizing the top scientist on his death bed.
They strongly denied he had passed state secrets on lasers to China.
The FSB claimed it had medical authorisation to unplug him from his hospital drip and lock him up in a major spy investigation.
His death while in custody was announced today by his family.
“Putin is seeing spies everywhere,” said an academic source.
“Top scientists were officially urged to collaborate with top foreign partners, they did so, and now they are being accused of espionage.”
Dr Kolker, 54. was head of Novosibirsk State University’s quantum optical technologies laboratory, and regarded as a world expert on lasers.
He had previously collaborated with the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxford, and major institutes in many countries.
It was not clear if the alleged “treason” accusation was related to advanced military secrets concerning new-age weapons.
Dr Kolker had stage 4 pancreatic cancer and was too ill for chemotherapy when he was cruelly detained.
His daughter Alina Mironova, 29, said when he was detained on 30 June: “Our family is going through total hell.
“Our father cannot pass away surrounded by his family members.”
The scientist’s son Maxim, 22, admitted his father had travelled to China on a lecturing trip.
But the scientist - also a talented musician - was accompanied all the time by an FSB agent who approved every word of his lectures, he said.
Dr Maslov, chief researcher at the Institute of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is suspected of transmitting hypersonic state secrets to a foreign power, believed to be China.
The exact nature of the alleged crime is not known but his work included hypersonic innovations for aircraft.
Maslow is known to have previously worked with Boeing in America, and with German and Chinese partners.
A colleague, Academician Vasily Fomin, scientific director of the institute, said of Maslov: “He dealt with the problems of laminar-turbulent transition, which affects the reduction of the resistance of aircraft.
“At one time on the instructions of the government, everyone was forced to cooperate with foreign colleagues.
“So, Maslov worked with the American Boeing, and with the Chinese, and the Germans.
“And now scientists, it turns out, have become guilty."