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Jason Lewis

TRIBUNE: Russia reinforces intelligence activity in Europe

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European counterintelligence agencies state that Russia carries on an unprecedented large-scale espionage campaign within the European Union. Under the existing Russia-EU relations deterioration, Russian intelligence services are doing their best to disunite the EU, to promote Moscow’s interests, to influence European public opinion and to recruit new agents of the Kremlin. Vladimir Putin is now sending much more spies to Europe than his notorious predecessors during the Soviet era. Russian president should remember the ”glorious KGB times” when he himself spied in Germany.

Cold War ver.2 or Russia is flexing its muscles again

Nowadays headlines in top-ranked global mass media resemble “Cold war” chronicles depicting confrontation between the USSR and Western democracies. Moscow is again concentrating a huge army on the EU eastern borders and directing its aircraft and warships to test the quality of EU defense mechanisms and, at the same time, to try Europe’s patience. The Kremlin has even risked to expose the flanks in the Far East and moved some military detachments previously stationed in the Far East and Siberia to the European part of Russia.

The European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs has recently adopted a so-called Black Sea report on strategic and military situation in the Black Sea region, which mentions that Russia has conducted exercises on nuclear attack on Poland. It should also be reminded that Moscow rehearsed nuclear attacks on Warsaw during exercises with Belarus in 2009 and 2013. Except for a preventive nuclear strike, the maneuvers also included “the suppression of a rebellion” of the Polish minority, as well as the invasion the territory of the Baltic States.

Such a large-scale military activity involving strategic nuclear forces brings Putin’s Russia back to a fierce Cold war confrontation with the Western world. Russian President has reanimated a Soviet pattern of military might demonstration, when nuclear weapons brandishing is used to blackmail Europe. Playing dangerous military games, the “tsar in the Kremlin” tries to prove to the world that Russia is a global superpower. It’s quite possible that Putin has an “Empire-building” syndrome and imagine himself to be a new Napoleon, Bismarck or even Queen Victoria. Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel took notice of Putin’s morbid state and after speaking with Mr. Putin she was not sure that he was in touch with reality – “in another world,” – she said.

Russia’s covert espionage war

The conflict between Russia and Western democracies is now escalating and the Kremlin continues its never-ending “secret warfare” with the EU in the spirit of the Cold war times. Russian espionage networks cover all European countries: Russian “big brother” has everybody shadowed. At the same time Moscow doesn’t give up outdated Soviet KGB techniques, combining espionage with targeted misinformation. Russia is covertly influencing decision-making processes in many European countries. It has no aversion to extremist groups support to gain its own objects and uses the resulted destabilization of the situation for its own welfare.

Russian spies, besides strictly practical traditional interests in political and defense spheres, have vast interests in such fields as industrial espionage, economic intelligence, intelligence in the area of scientific research and development. They also implement so-called ”actions of influence” (known since the Soviet era) aimed to force the Europeans to carry out Moscow’s wishes and to share the Kremlin’s ideas. For instance, Russian agents are now disseminating the myth about the Kremlin’s legitimate inherited from the Soviet Union right to change the boundaries of post-Soviet countries unilaterally at its own discretion.

Who are spying for Putin in Europe?

There is a lot of people who work and spy for Putin. By the most conservative estimates, 1500 fixed-post spies are employed in Europe. Many Russian (and non-Russian) diplomats are agents of Russian intelligence services, in particular FSB. Main Russian intelligence hubs in Europe are Vienna and Brussels, where a great deal of European and international institutions are located.

Russian secret services pass over none of the European countries. For instance, Russian embassy in the United Kingdom hosts a real espionage network: counselor Vladimir Ananyev is a chief of the intelligence mission, the other embassy officials are his subordinates, viz. Valery RODICHKIN, Sergey Andriashin, Sergey Kustov, Sergey Lukianov, Sergey Anufriev, Victor Manohin, Sergey Krasovskiy, Kiril Matrenichev, Konstantin Shlykov, Denis Temnikov, Ivan Volodin, Vladimir Kudriashov, Andrei Kuznetsov, Roman Zinin, Dmitrii Gorbunov, Oleg Shor, etc.

Finding out Italian secrets is the main task for Russian diplomatic representatives, namely Alexander Zezyulin, Boris Rastorguev,Victor Vlasov, Eugeniy Mazurov, Alexey Panasenkov, Igor Lysenko.

Intelligence information collection is very well organized in Germany by Sergey Rakhmanin and his co-spies: Alexander Stasev, Mikhail Udovichenko, Sergey Linevich, Dmitry Kostyuchenko, Sergey Vatoli, Mikhail Shorin, Vasily Galaktionov, Sergey Babkin, Alexander Makarkin, Vladimir Kukin.

“Friendly-for-Russians” France shelters too many spying diplomats to enumerate. They are working under the aegis of the Russian embassy in Paris, as well as Russian consulates in Marseille, Nice and Strasbourg. Vladimir Novgorodskii is a chief of the intelligence mission and Oleg Antonenko is his deputy.

European security services are aware of Russian spies’ subversion and take proper countermeasures. The series of sensational espionage scandals pertinent to Russian diplomats/spies expulsion from the UK, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and other EU counties is a proof of a successful European counterintelligence activity. However, it is obvious that such an activity should be intensified. EU heads of states and governments are considering the possibility to deport simultaneously all Putin’s spies out of the EU. Let’s hope, they’ll be resolute.

Russian intelligence services play hardball with Europe, using huge funds, renewable human recourses and state-of-the-art espionage techniques. The Europeans should organize adequate counteractions to show Russians who calls the shots.

Par Jason Lewis (dernière modification le 30/06/2015)

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