Russian intelligence notes influx of foreign spies into Siberia

The press office of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has announced a noticeable increase in espionage activity by agents of foreign governments in Siberia. Russian counterintelligence agents have apparently detected increased presence of operatives from Asian-Pacific countries in and around Siberian scientific centers in Novosibirsk, and especially in its suburb of Akademgorodok, nicknamed “science city” by the Russians. The head of FSB’s local directorate in Novosibirsk, Sergey Savchenkov, said that “dozens of foreign spies” had been discovered in the region in 2008″, and that most of them were targeting Russian scientists using “all possible means” to extract confidential information. Siberian academic facilities are noted for their research in the fields of oil and gas geology, nanotechnology, creation of new materials, and biochemistry, among other subjects. This is not the first time in recent months that the FSB has drawn attention to scientific and technical espionage on Russian soil. In December of 2008, Major-General Valeriy Beklenishchev, who heads the FSB’s Saratov branch, said nanotechnology research projects conducted at regional universities, as well as research on “heat and power engineering and electronics” were prime espionage targets of foreign operatives.

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