Another Danger Sign: Moscow Says the Number of Spies in Russia Comparable to Number in the USSR in 1941
March 10 – Vladimir Putin announced last week that Russia’s security services
had uncovered 594 spies during the course of 2018, “a colossal figures
comparable to the number sent into the USSR by the Germans” in the spring of
1991, according to Igor Atamanenko, a veteran of Russia’s counter-espionage
Vedayev, a historian of the Russian and Soviet intelligence services, adds that
the number Putin mentioned is far greater than at any time during the Cold War.
“Counter-intelligence in our country,” he adds, “always was very powerful.” The
large number of spies caught highlights the multitude of threats facing Russia.
about the number of spies one has caught is always a two-edged sword for
governments. On the one hand, it highlights the vigilance of the government;
but on the other, it shows that foreign regimes are ready and even able to
penetrate these defenses at least for a time. Only if one wants to whip up a
kind of war psychosis are such numbers an unqualified good.
reporting about this, Leonid Fedorov, a journalist for the URA.ru news agency,
also addresses the issues of what foreign spies are looking for at present, what
are the regions in which they are most frequently found, how they are
identified, and what is done with them after they are caught.
what the spies are looking for, Viktor Baranets, a military observer for Komsomolskaya pravda, says, that foreignspies
in Russia at the present time are looking above all for compromat on key members of the elite, then economic problems, and
only in the third place, military issues.
to where they are to be found, Atamanenko says that they are found most often
in the north-west portion of the country, in areas bordering Estonia, Latvia
and Lithuania, while Baranets says they are also numerous in the non-Russian
republics where the spies want to know how non-Russians will react to any
how spies are caught, Vedyayev reminds that this is “a state secret,” something
no one is supposed to talk about in public because such talk would help foreign
spies avoid detection.And as to what
happens to spies after they are caught, the answer is simple: they get serious
prison terms or, if they are foreigners, eventually exchanged.