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Counterintelligence Cases

"There has never been such a number of spies arrested by us since the time when German agents were sent in during the years of World War II."
        Russian FSB Director N. Kovalev, 1996

In 1995 and 1996 the FSB reports that a total of around 400 foreign intelligence agency staff members were uncovered and put under supervision. The FSB reported stopping the activity of 39 foreign intelligence service agents who were Russian citizens, and stopping more than 100 attempts by Russian citizens to pass secret material to foreigners. A spate of articles in the national and provincial press by spokesmen for the FSB trumpets the service's role in protecting the state from foreign subversion. For example:

  • In a series of press articles in January and February 1996, FSB officers noted that the service has the responsibility to monitor foreign astronauts at "Star City" and to prevent the emigration of Russian scientists.
  • The FSB has also recently bragged about the arrest of Turkish North Korean spies.
  • At the end of June 1997 the Moscow City Court sentenced a certain Makarov, an adviser in the CIS and Baltics Division of the Consular Services Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to seven years imprisonment. The FSB established that Makarov was recruited by the CIA back in the spring of 1976, when he was working at the Soviet Embassy in Bolivia. He continued subsequently to carry out espionage activity, making other official trips abroad. In particular, he was stationed in Spain from 1989 through 1991. For "fees" totalling $21,000, Makarov delivered a large quantity of secret information to the CIA.
  • The arrest of an RVSN [Strategic Missile Forces] officer was reported in March 1997. Major Dudinka was attempting to get $500,000 from a foreign intelligence service. He had put highly sensitive information on a diskette—concerning the command and control system for a missile army and troop location information.
  • FAPSI [Federal Agency for Governmental Communications and Information] Lieutenant Colonel Andrey Dudin initiated contacts with the German intelligence agency BND. The FSB investigation proved his guilt beyond question, and in April 1997 year Dudin was sentenced to 12 years.
  • In late 1996 the FSB arrested former Russian Foreign Ministry staffer and British agent Platon Obukhov, who had been passing political and strategic defense information to the British special services. The FSB characterized the case as the biggest British special service failure since the time of Penkovskiy.
  • In December 1995, FSB personnel detained Major Dudnik, a retired officer of the Russian Center for Space Reconnaissance, at a Moscow metro station as he was handing over top secret satellite photographs to Israeli intelligence operative Reuven Dinel. During the course of further investigation it was ascertained that the officer was not acting alone, but with two accomplices, one of whom continued to serve in the Center for Space Reconnaissance of the GRU [Main Intelligence Directorate] of the General Staff. All three were arrested. While Dinel, working in Moscow under cover as Israeli Embassy secretary, was declared persona non grata and expelled from the country.
  • Finkel was convicted of espionage after passing information on secret defense research to CIA representatives for monetary reward.
  • Nordstrom, a Swedish military intelligence communications officer, was caught carrying out an operation to contact an agent in St. Petersburg, and expelled from Russia.
  • The activities of US citizen Oppfelt [as transliterated], who, having made contact with a Pacific Fleet officer, was collecting information of a covert nature on naval facilities, were cut short and he was expelled from Russia.
  • On 29 May 1997 the trial of V. Sentsov, a worker at a defense institute, opened in Moscow. He was charged with treason in the form of espionage and the transfer of Russian defense and technological secrets to British intelligence.

The Federal Security Service has arrested some people on false pretexts for expressing views critical of the Government, and in particular, for voicing criticism of the security services. The FSB has also targeted national security and environmental researchers. The Russian press indicates that Russian citizens interested in military issues or military-industrial polluters have become a target of the FSB

  • Viktor Orekhov, a former KGB officer who assisted dissidents under the Soviet regime, was arrested in 1995 on charges of illegally possessing a firearm soon after he made unflattering remarks about his former boss, now the FSB chief of intelligence for the Moscow region, in an article. Within a matter of weeks Orekhov had been tried, convicted, and sentenced to 3 years in prison at hard labor. This sentence was subsequently reduced to 1 year. Noting the speed with which he was tried and sentenced in the usually slow court system, Orekhov alleged that he was targeted for retribution by the security services because of his human rights work. The FSB's influence and interest in the case was extensively reported in the domestic and foreign press.
  • Former KGB Major Vladimir Kazantsev was arrested on 21 August 1995 after he gave an interview to the Moscow News newspaper in which he described purchases by the KGB's central directorate for security of illegal eavesdropping devices from foreign firms. At year's end, Kazantsev had been released from custody, but the case continued to be investigated.
  • Vil Mirzayanov was detained by the Ministry of Security in the Fall of 1992 on the charge of disclosing state secrets. Mirzayanov had publicly written that Russia was working on a nerve gas weapon that question had been tested after President Yeltsin said in January 1992 that his country would comply with the US-Soviet agreement on nonproliferation of chemical weapons.
  • Vladimir Uglev, who was one of the chief chemical weapons designers, corroborated Vil Mirzayanov's allegations though no charges were filed against Uglev for revealing state secrets because he had deputy's immunity as an elected official.
  • Authorities arrested Vladimir Petrenko, a former military officer in Saratov Oblast, in mid-1995 following his research into the danger posed by military chemical warfare stockpiles. He was held in pretrial confinement for seven months on what Amnesty International and Russian human rights observers believe is a trumped-up charge of assault.
  • In December 1995 FSB agents confiscated material on human rights abuses in Chechnya from a group of Russian human rights activists on their way to an international meeting.
  • Nikolay Shchur, chairman of the Snezhinskiy Ecological Fund, was held in pretrial confinement for six months following his survey of military pollution near Chelyabinsk.
  • The FSB accused the Norwegian environmental Bellona Foundation of collecting state secrets on Russia's Northern Fleet in October 1995. The group had been gathering material for a second report on the Fleet's nuclear waste. The FSB raided the group's Murmansk office, confiscating all material on the Fleet's nuclear waste sites as well as computers and video cameras, interrogated researchers working on the study, and searched many of their homes. Others cooperating with Bellona in Murmansk, St. Petersburg, and Severodbinsk also were interrogated and subject to apartment searches.
  • On February 6 1996 Aleksandr Nikitin, was arrested in his home in St. Petersburg by FSB agents and charged with high treason through espionage and divulging of state secrets, and put into custody. FSB justified its actions by claiming that the report on nuclear-hazardous objects of the Russian Northern fleet, which Bellona was preparing, contained state secrets. The FSB also charged that Nikitin, using credentials which he had not handed back on his discharge from military service, appealed to a colleague and obtained access to information subject to state secrecy, and that for the same purpose he forged credentials to penetrate a closed zone.

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Page last modified: 28-07-2011 00:54:29 ZULU