Comments made by Adrei Mikonin, lawyer of the law firm S&K Vertikal to an article titled “Victor Petrik faces a “Scientific” claim” by Kommersant newspaper

14 April 2011

Yesterday the Moscow Presnensky district court took jurisdiction over the civil lawsuit filed by Eduard Kruglyakov and Yevgeny Aleksandrov, members of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAN) against infamous inventor Viktor Petrik. Academics claim that Mr. Petrik constantly offends them in his speeches in mass-media, and estimated their moral harm as 2.5 million roubles. The conflict was provoked by the so-called Petrik’s filter (declared by him as an up-to-date nanodevice for potable water treatment). Scientists qualified the invention as fraudulent and detrimental to health. In return, the author has, as they say, engaged in personalities.

Last week the claim filed by scientists arrived at Presnensky district court, and yesterday, having considered the statement of claim the court had initiated proceedings. The pre-trial hearing is scheduled for May, 5.

As it follows from statement of claim made by scientists, Mr. Petrik has launched a swarm information attack against them. According to claimants, recently the inventor has been regularly appearing in diverse electronic and paper mass-media for the sole purpose to discredit and offend members of the academy Kruglyakov and Aleksandrov. Statements of the inventor cited are really impressive: he names world-famous physical scientists "diversionary group", created by "preliminary collusion" to commit "criminal acts" aimed to "destruct our science". Mr. Petrik believes that American sponsors have assigned the "criminal group" of academics a mission "to discredit the state leaders by forgeries and treachery". He especially criticizes Eduard Kruglyakov, a nuclear physicist, the chairman of the commission on combating pseudo science and falsification of scientific researches attached to RAN. In addition to participation in "diversionary group", the inventor accused him of "progressing dementia (mental disability -"Ъ "), developed concomitant "inebriety".

Since the above statements of Mr. Petrik were regularly published in mass-media academics deemed that moral harm was done to them, which they solidary evaluated as 2 million rubles. Academic Kruglyakov demanded of the inventor to pay him an extra sum of 500 thousand rubles for an affront put on him.

Genrych Padva, a known Russian lawyer representing academics has explained to “Ъ” that in this case the monetary compensation sum is not crucial— the main thing is to stop a deluge of defamation and public dishonor of outstanding scientists who deserved well of their country. In my opinion, the defendant just lost all sense of moderation —first he impudently appropriates other people’s achievements, then, instead of defending his inventions in a normal scientific dispute, he behaves as a huckster. It is time to put a stop to this. According to "Ъ", should the academics win, they shall donate all the funds obtained as compensation to charity or to any organization supporting the Russian science.

The conflict between scientists and Viktor Petrik began in 2006, when the inventor patented an original filter for potable water treatment using a kind of "Highly reactive carbon mixture". Boris Gryzlov, the Speaker of the RF State Duma has acted as the coauthor of the invention. Soon after that the first industrial models of "miraculous filter" were issued under the "Golden formula" trade mark. Product labels had, for some reason, contained the logo of "Edinaya Rossiya", the abbreviation EMERCOM of Russia and the surname Shoygu. The advertizing campaign launched in mass-media and big names on package guaranteed great future to Petrik’s filters— they planned to supply “nanodevices” to all the Russian schools, kindergartens and many other state institutions in the context of the state program "Clean water".

However, at one point ideologues of "Clean water" and, according to project participants, first of all the Speaker of the RF State Duma Gryzlov decided to submit the filter to the Russian Academy of Sciences for expert examination, prior to putting it into mass production. The committee attached to the academy which included academics Kruglyakov and Aleksandrov arrived at a deplorable conclusion.

As academic Kruglyakov explained to "Ъ", “Having conducted characteristic analysis of the filter, we arrived at a conclusion that it can be used for treatment of oil spills in a water area, however, it can on no condition be used for treatment of potable water. The fact is that particles of activated carbon used in all water filters will necessarily get into a human organism, that’s why the size of these particles is crucial. Coal grains are absolutely harmless to human stomach, while the impact nanoparticles (suggested by Mr. Petrik) have on human organism has not been studied yet".

According to the scientist, Mr. Petrik refused to submit his filter to The Institute of Human Ecology for additional testing stating that his filter doesn’t contain nanoparticles, and academic believes that this fact gives grounds to accuse the inventor of quackery. "If there are no nanoparticles, there is no invention as well,” believes academic Kruglyakov. “The common activated carbon has been used for filtration for many years."

Conclusions made by scientists that the invention "bears no relation to science" have seriously undermined commercial plans of Mr. Petrik. After publication of the commission's findings, the government of Russia gave up on using devices (filters) in the federal program. Being informed of the fact, the author of "miraculous filters" decided to defend his rights and money in the St.-Petersburg Kirovsky court. Pursuant his statement of claim, due to underhand practices by “gang of academics” the inventor received billions less than he was due. Now he tries to collect the lost profit from his "offenders". For instance, Eduard Kruglyakov has received the claim amounting to 1 billion 656 million rubles. The same damage was allegedly done to Mr. Petrik by the three of his colleagues involved in examination of filters. However, proceedings have not started up to date— the point is that one of defendant academics is domiciled in the USA making it impossible to hand him the claim.

"Such claims are filed where the defendant is located,” said Andrey Mikonin, a lawyer of the law firm S&K Vertikal which represents Viktor Petrik. “However, according to data bases, no suits against Viktor Ivanovich (Petrik. -" Ъ ") were filed to St.-Petersburg, or to Vsevolozhsk. It may be caused by the fact the proceedings were not initiated yet. So, it is not time to speak to the point yet". The lawyer reminded that the St.-Petersburg Kirovsky district court entertains an action of Viktor Petrik against "some academics aiming to protect his business reputation". He believes that "Therefore any suit that may be brought by defendants against him should be considered in this process."

Sergey Mashkin; Andrey Yershov, St.-Petersburg

Kommersant no. 65 (4606) of April 14, 2011 

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