Analysis: Russian-Czech spy scandals show new direction in Russian espionage

ÚZSI seal

ÚZSI seal

Last July saw the resignations of three Czech Generals, including the head of the president’s military office and the country’s representative to NATO, following revelations that one of their senior staffers had a relationship with a Russian spy.  Intelligence observers have become accustomed to frequent reports of Russian-Czech spy scandals in recent years. But, according to reports from Prague, recent Russian intelligence activity in the Czech Republic may indicate a change of direction by Moscow. Some say that Russia’s new espionage doctrine focuses less on military intelligence in the post-US-missile-shield strategic environment, and more on political and economic espionage. To be sure, Russia’s intelligence presence in the Czech capital remains substantial: Czech counterintelligence sources estimate that at least 60 –that is, one in three– Russian diplomats in Prague are engaged in intelligence-related activities. But the intensity of Russian espionage in Prague is not unique. In the words of Russian military analyst Aleksandr Golts, Russian intelligence planners are using Moscow’s decades-old strong ties with countries of the former Eastern Bloc as a gateway into NATO and the European Union, which many of these former Soviet allies have now joined. “Getting into the Czech Republic or Bulgaria is a lot easier than Britain or Belgium”, says Golts. Karel Randak, former Director of the Czech Republic’s Foreign Intelligence Service (ÚZSI), agrees: the current intensification of Russian espionage activity in the Czech Republic is indicative of Moscow’s wider Eastern Europe initiative to strengthen Russia’s Europe-wide political and economic influence, he says. Randak told US government-owned Radio Liberty that Russian intelligence activities focus increasingly on the energy sector, particularly in the fields of oil and gas.

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About intelNews
Expert news and commentary on intelligence, espionage, spies and spying, by Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis and Ian Allen.

One Response to Analysis: Russian-Czech spy scandals show new direction in Russian espionage

  1. Russians have for sure infiltrated much of Eastern Europe states but their capabilities are diminishing as more assets and effort is put to built strong intel network elsewhere.

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