Russian scientists will now need permission from the FSB security service to publish research (like in the USSR)

A biology institute at Russia’s largest and most prestigious university has instructed its scientists to get all research manuscripts approved by the security service before submitting them to conferences or journals.

The instructions, which come in response to an amended law on state secrets, appear in minutes from a meeting held on 5 October at the A. N. Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology at Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU).

The Russian government says that the amendment is not designed to restrict the publication of basic, non-military research. But scientists say that they believe institutes across the country are issuing similar orders.

“This is a return to Soviet times when in order to send a paper to an international journal, we had to get a permission specifying that the result is not new and important and hence may be published abroad,” says Mikhail Gelfand, a bioinformatician at MSU.