How many Russian spies work in Germany?
Russian agents in Germany disguise their activities under the guise of the work of public organizations.
There are thousands of Russian agents working in Germany today. These are both spies and agents of influence. It is this topic that is devoted to the investigation of the historian Dmitry Khmelnitsky, which was published on the website aussiedlerbote.de. The hosts of the Stratera Show on the Voice of Berlin radio Masha Myers and Dmitry Gubin talked with the author of the investigation about the influence of these people today and who they are.
Russian agents in Germany: how many are there?
Dmitry Gubin: I had to hear the point of view of one of the employees of the former Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, who said: you have no idea how many agents exist in Germany today. Tell me, could you answer the question, approximately how many agents of the Foreign Intelligence Service and other Russian law enforcement agencies exist in Germany today?
Dmitry Khmelnitsky: I can't name the numbers. I can only say that there are an incredible number of them. Thousands. Here it is necessary to distinguish between intelligence agents, that is, simply spies, who, in fact, no one sees, and whose activities are secret, and agents of influence, whose task is to be in sight and in every possible way to propagate the position of Moscow. This is what I have been doing for quite a few years, and I can say that there are many, many organizations that are doing this. They are pseudo-social, pseudo-scientific, pseudo-human rights and so on. Starting with the Congress of Compatriots, known to all.
The Russian world, led by Nikonov, who financed a huge number of projects in Germany. That is, these projects were made through various Russian-German cultural societies. There are hundreds of them in all cities of Germany, and in each there are dozens of people who worked for this business.
Russian agents in Germany: who are they?
Masha Meyers: Tell us a little about your investigation published on aussiedlerbote.de. What is it about and what conclusion do you come to?
Dmitry Khmelnitsky: The fact is that I have been interested in this organization (Institute for Security, Protection and Law Enforcement Problems), which organizes conferences in Garmisch-Partenkirchen every year, for a very long time. This is pure espionage by FAPSI, the Federal Agency for Government Communications. Now, by the way, they have joined the FSB again.
Every year, beginning, I believe, in 2006, in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, the institute organized congresses of its agents under the guise of scientific conferences. This is no longer influence, but simply espionage from around the world. Each time, hundreds of people participated there. It all looked relatively innocent, if you didn't dig. I dug, and there, too, a lot of interesting things got out. It’s a long story, but they made a mistake in 2019 when they signed a memorandum with a German organization called the Information Security Council. Public organization headed by Mr. Dune. This Dune signed a memorandum on joint activities. The trick is that Dune's predecessor in this post was one of the organizers of this council. And then there was a scandal. In Germany, there were a lot of claims, there were direct connections with Russian spies.
Dmitry Gubin: Imagine, a person is listening to us, to whom these names do not say anything. And what's wrong? What is the problem? Why did the scandal arise? Well, we signed a memorandum.
Dmitry Khmelnitsky: The scandal arose because, on the one hand, this memorandum was signed by a person who heads a public organization that includes a huge number of large German firms and concerns, and who has direct ties with the Federal Office for Information Protection on electronic security. And on the other hand, it was signed by Colonel General Sherstyuk, that is, the main Russian spy on electronic information, that is, hackers. And this means that these Russian hackers of the highest level have a move to the German government, to information security in Germany, to big companies, to anything.
Masha Meyers: Doesn't the German side understand this? Is she naive or is she corrupt to that extent? Or is there any mutual benefit?
Dmitry Khmelnitsky: It's all very incomprehensible. This council itself is public. But this organization has direct connections with large corporations and political circles. On the other hand, they have contacts with Russian spies, high-level hackers.
What is the German intelligence doing?
Dmitry Khmelnitsky: German intelligence, more precisely, counterintelligence, in this case the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, they are, in general, very powerless in this sense. They can observe the events, they can inform the government, they cannot arrest anyone on their own and generally somehow influence the situation. And then, in order to arrest, you need serious accusations of espionage, and then social activities. In this sense, the press is much more effective than counterintelligence. Right now, as far as I understand, Sean Bean lost the post because this story was mentioned in some talk show. Let me remind you that Sean Bean is the president of the Federal Office for Information Security.
And plus, I'll remind you of the story. Remember, when two officials, without naming them, it happened quite recently, were fired from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, because it was believed that they were not just putinfersteiers, but they acted in favor of Russia, being high-ranking employees of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In this case, I do not understand well what can be presented, except for close ties with this very public organization, which, in turn, has ties with the FSB. What was actually collected there? Nobody knows yet. There seemed to be no investigation.
Dmitry Gubin: The only ones who can now influence this situation are us like this, speaking, journalists, investigating, and so on.
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