Spy Chief: West Wants to Split Russia - 2007

Spy Chief: West Wants to Split Russia


2007

Russia's security chief said that Western spies were working to weaken and break up the country and singled out British agents as the most intrusive, according to an interview published Wednesday. Nikolai Patrushev, who heads the Federal Security Service, the main KGB successor agency, also claimed that foreign spies were working to foment discontent in Russia in the run-up to December's parliamentary elections and the presidential vote next spring. Patrushev is a longtime ally of President Vladimir Putin, and his comments reflect deeply entrenched suspicions of Western intentions in the Kremlin's inner circle amid a cold spell in Russia's relations with the West. Putin himself is a 16-year KGB veteran and former chief of the Federal Security Service, known as the FSB. "Politicians thinking in the categories of the Cold War still retain their influence in a number of Western nations," Patrushev told the weekly Argumenty i Fakty. "They have claimed credit for the collapse of the Soviet Union, and they are hatching plans aimed at dismembering Russia. They are viewing special services and their organizations as an efficient instrument for their implementation."

Patrushev said that foreign spies were focusing their efforts on gathering information related to Russia's elections. "They are trying to influence protest feelings and demonstrations in Russia." He singled out Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, saying its agents "aren't only gathering intelligence in all areas, but they are also trying to influence the development of the domestic political situation in our country." Britain's Foreign Office didn't immediately have any comment on the matter. Russian-British relations have been sliding, and they were strained further by last November's poisoning death in London of former Russian security agent Alexander Litvinenko. Litvinenko, a fierce Kremlin critic given asylum in Britain, accused Putin on his deathbed of being behind his polonium poisoning — charges the Kremlin has angrily denied. Russia has rejected British demands for the extradition of the sole suspect in Litvinenko's murder, former KGB officer Andrei Lugovoi, who met with Litvinenko in a London hotel bar the day he fell ill. Putin dismissed the extradition demands as a relic of British "colonial thinking." Patrushev said that his agency had learned how to counter British intelligence. "We know both its strong and weak points," he said. "Since the times of Elizabeth I, (MI6) agents have been guided by the principle of the ways justifying the means. Money, bribery, blackmail, exemption from punishment for crimes committed are their main recruitment methods."

Patrushev claimed that British intelligence has relied on people who fled abroad to avoid criminal charges in Russia — an apparent hint at Kremlin critics living in Britain, such as tycoon Boris Berezovsky and Chechen rebel leader Akhmed Zakayev. Russia has vainly sought their extradition. Patrushev also alleged that foreign spies were using non-governmental organizations "both for gathering intelligence information and as an instrument for having a hidden influence over political processes." He pointed at the revolutions that ousted unpopular governments in the former Yugoslavia, Ukraine and Georgia as a product of such activities. The statement reflected Kremlin concerns over outside influence within Russia amid Western accusations of backsliding on democracy — the fears that prompted the government to tighten restrictions on NGOs. "There is a danger of foreign NGOs being used to finance activities to undermine Russia," Patrushev said. He claimed that some NGOs were also being used by international terror groups to support militants in Russia's volatile North Caucasus. Patrushev said the CIA and MI6 were actively relying on the special services of Poland, Georgia and the Baltics to spy on Russia. He said his agency had uncovered 270 foreign intelligence officers and 70 agents they had recruited, including 35 Russian citizens, since 2003. While fuming at the West, Patrushev said that his agency would continue to cooperate with its Western counterparts in combating international terrorism.

Source: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5g...JmmxAD8S69TKG0

Head of Russian secret service accuses MI6 of plotting against Putin

Putin is expected to engineer the choice of a crony as new President and retain most of the power in Russia

MI6 is stirring up dissent in Russia to influence upcoming elections and stop President Putin holding on to power, the Kremlin's security chief claimed yesterday. The head of Russia's Federal Security Service - the successor of the KGB - said British spies were intent on weakening Russia and breaking up the country. British secret agents had been doing the same since the reign of Elizabeth I, claimed Nikolai Patrushev, a close ally of Mr Putin. In an interview with the weekly Argumenty I Fakti, Patrushev alleged that MI6 agents were "not only gathering intelligence in all areas but also trying to influence the development of the domestic political situation in our country." "Right at the moment foreign intelligence services are making considerable efforts to get information about the forthcoming elections to the State Duma (lower house of parliament) and presidency," he said. Last week, Mr. Putin announced he would lead the dominant United Russia party, which would give him a strong chance of becoming Prime Minister next year when the constitution requires that he step down as President after two consecutive terms.

Analysts expect him to engineer the choice of a crony as new President and retain most of the power in Russia himself. Foreign Office sources said this week that election observers are not being given normal access to Russia ahead of the parliamentary vote in December and the presidential election in March. Britain's ambassador to Russia, Tony Brenton, suffered months of harassment from the pro-Kremlin youth organisation, Nashi, after attending an opposition conference in 2006. The Foreign Office sources said British-Russia relations remained at a low and were not likely to improve in the near future because of Russia's refusal to extradite Andrei Lugovoi, the businessman wanted in connection with the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London last November. Perhaps speaking for internal consumption, Patrushev painted a paranoid picture of Russia beset on all sides by foreign spies, eager to dig up the country's secrets and destabilise it ahead of the elections. British agents were the worst offenders, he said, although he offered no new evidence. "Since the time of Elizabeth 1 the British principle has been 'the end justifies the means," he said. "Money, corruption, blackmail, offering immunity from prosecution, these are their main methods of recruitment."

In Cold War language, Patrushev attacked not only MI6 but also spies from Poland, the Baltic States, Georgia, Turkey and Pakistan as stooges of the CIA. Spies were poking their noses into everything from the state of Russia's armed forces to conditions in the Caucasus, Siberia and the Far East, he said. "Regarding the collapse of the Soviet Union as their achievement, they are now nurturing plans to carve up Russia," he said. But he reserved special scorn for London, now the base of Russian exiles such as Boris Berezovsky. "Lately, to achieve their political goals, the British have been relying on individuals accused of crimes and hiding abroad from Russian justice," Patrushev said. He reiterated accusations that Berezovksy and Litvinenko had tried to recruit Russian citizens to work for MI6. He also dredged up old allegations, dating back to 2005, that British agents had placed fake rocks in Moscow parks to hide their transmitters. And he claimed that the use of non-governmental organisations was "in the arsenal" of foreign intelligence services trying to provoke a revolution in Russia similar to the 2004 Orange Revolution in the Ukraine.

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/liv...n_page_id=1811

Russia Says 300 Spies Caught In Last 4 Years

The head of Russia's Federal Security Service told a popular weekly that the FSB had identified over 300 foreign spies over the past four years. "More than 270 actively operating agents and 70 foreign intelligence recruits, including 35 Russians, have been exposed since 2003," Argumenty i Fakty quoted Nikolai Patrushev as saying. He said that 14 agents and 33 recruits have been caught this year alone. Patrushev said six Russians were caught in an attempt to transfer state secrets to foreign countries, and have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms. Retired Colonel Valentin Shabaxturov was given a 12-year sentence this year for treason and espionage. The court proved he had actively cooperated with foreign intelligence for seven years, from 1999 to 2006, and revealed state secrets to them. Igor Arsentyev, a lieutenant colonel in the reserves, was sentenced to nine years in prison on the same charges in September. Patrushev said another person is facing court proceedings, and that an investigation is underway into three other cases. He said the United States and Britain actively used the secret services of Poland, Georgia and Baltic states against Russia. "This concerns a wide spectrum - from staff composition and budget allocations to strategic guidance and organization of joint operations," Patrushev said. He also said some Georgian secret agents use their connections with the criminal underworld for their operations, and to stage various acts of provocation. According to Patrushev, British intelligence is particularly active against Russia, in its attempts to influence the country's domestic political developments.

Source: http://mnweekly.ru/national/20071011/55281841.html


In related news:


Plot to Assassinate Putin' in Iran



The Russian president has been warned of a plot to assassinate him during a planned visit to Iran next week, according to Russia's Interfax news agency. But Tehran has described as "totally baseless" the report, which said Russian security services had been told suicide bombers and kidnappers were training to kill or capture Vladimir Putin. "Reports published by some media are totally baseless and are in line with the psychological war launched by enemies who want to harm Iran and Russia's relationship," Mohammad Ali Hosseini, foreign ministry spokesman, said on Sunday. The Russian president is travelling to Tehran to attend a meeting a summit of the five states that surround the Caspian Sea, and Hosseini said this would go ahead as planned. Putin is the first Kremlin leader to travel to Iran since Josef Stalin, the former Soviet leader, attended a wartime summit with Winston Churchill, former British prime minister, and Franklin D. Roosevelt, former US president, in 1943.

'Bombers preparing'

The Interfax report said that: "a reliable source in one of the Russian special services, has received information from several sources outside Russia, that during the president of Russia's visit to Tehran an assassination attempt is being plotted. The news agency quoted Kremlin sources as saying they had no comment on the report, but that the president had been informed. Fred Weir, Moscow correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor newspaper, told Al Jazeera that assassination plots against the Russian leader had previously been discovered in Ukraine and Azerbaijan, both reportedly connected to the separatist movement in Chechnya. "It could be some international scheme, perhaps connected with Russia's enemies like the Chechens," he said. "Or it could be some elaborate rumour, in Russia we have this transitional phase, we are not sure if Putin is leaving his job or changing his job next year. All of this sort of thing excites power struggles and rumours are a major weapon in that." Putin's second term as president ends next year and the constitution prevents him standing for a third consecutive term. He has said he will stand for parliament and could become prime minister.

Nuclear standoff

Putin is expected to meet Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president during his visit, giving him a chance to attempt to find a peaceful solution to the standoff over Tehran's nuclear ambitions. Although Russia has backed two rounds of punitive UN sanctions against Iran, Moscow says engagement is a more effective way of tackling the situation. It has sold weapons to Iran, in defiance of US concerns, and is building a nuclear power station at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf. Putin was visiting Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, on Sunday before travelling to the Iranian capital on Monday.

Source: http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exer...BADEA49A52.htm

Poisoned ex-Russian spy was 'MI6 agent'


Former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned in a London hotel, was a British secret service agent. Litvinenko worked for MI6 and was receiving a monthly retainership fee of 2,000 pounds from the agency at the time he was murdered, the 'Daily Mail' reported on Friday, quoting intelligence sources as saying here. According to the unnamed sources, Sir John Scarlett, now the Head of MI6 and once based in Moscow, was involved in recruiting him to the secret intelligence service. The disclosure is the latest twist in the Litvinenko affair which has plunged relations between Britain and Russia to their lowest point since the Cold War. The former Russian spy, who had defected to Britain in 2000 and was granted political asylum the following year with his wife Marina (44) and son Anatoly (12), was poisoned on November one, last year, by prime suspect Andrei Lugovoy at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square in London. After a Scotland Yard investigation, the Crown Prosecution Service had announced earlier this year that there was sufficient evidence to charge KGB agent-turned businessman Lugovoy with "deliberate poisoning" of his former colleague who was very critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Subsequently, Britain had called for his extradition so he could stand trial at the Old Bailey, but the Kremlin refused the request in July. In an echo of the Cold War era, Britain then expelled four Russian diplomats from London. Days later, Moscow responded with expulsion of four Britons. "President Putin is providing Lugovoy with his personal endorsement and backing in the eyes of the world. This indicates that Russia has something to hide and adds credence to Alexander's deathbed statement naming Putin as the instigator of his murder," Litvinenko's wife had said.

Source: http://www.hindustantimes.com/Homepage/Homepage.aspx

Rice Encourages Russian Activists

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/04/23/article-1172884-049BB388000005DC-176_468x304.jpg

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has pledged support for human rights activists in Moscow, during a Russian visit that has been coolly received. Ms Rice said she wanted to hear from local activists about the state of human rights and democracy in Russia. She emphasised, however, that she had no wish to interfere in Russia's internal affairs. The US has accused President Vladimir Putin of rolling back democracy and xxxxxling rights, charges he denies. One of the activists who met Ms Rice told the BBC she wanted the United States to condemn what she called the Kremlin's stifling of democratic society. The activist said she would tell the secretary of state that Russia is sliding towards an authoritarian regime, where constitutional and human rights are constantly violated.

Ms Rice told the activists she wanted to support them, but was also very careful to point out that the US is not interfering in Russian domestic politics but supporting organisations that are entirely indigenous to Russia, the BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reports from Moscow. US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, who is travelling with Ms Rice, was expected to address military students at the Academy of Russia's General Staff on Saturday. On Friday, talks about US plans to base a missile shield in Eastern Europe ended acrimoniously. The secretary of state was due to have dinner later with her Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, while the defence secretary will meet Viktor Zubkov, the prime minister. Their trip comes as Russia prepares for parliamentary and presidential elections over the next five months. Mr Putin must step down in March after two terms in office. But he has already hinted he may become prime minister and return as president in 2012, as the constitution allows. Analysts say Ms Rice's visit to Russian non-governmental organisations could make the Kremlin wary.

The Russian Itar-Tass news agency said Mr Putin this week sounded a note of caution about NGOs in comments to visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "It gets really bad, when such organisations start to be used by some states against other states as a tool in pursuit of their foreign policy aims," the agency quoted Mr Putin as saying.

Russia is furious at US plans to base an anti-missile system in its geographical backyard, in Poland and the Czech Republic. But the White House team rejected Russian appeals at Friday's meetings in Moscow to halt the scheme. Mr Putin was not convinced by US assurances that the system would be to counteract "rogue" states such as North Korea and Iran. He threatened to abandon a key nuclear missile reduction treaty if Washington forged ahead with the plans.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7042822.stm

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