Russia charges engineer with spying for foreign agency

Russian authorities have charged an engineer working at a top-secret military facility in the Urals with espionage, accusing him of passing classified information about Russian ballistic missiles to agents of a foreign government. According to the InterFax news agency, which has strong links with the Russian government, the engineer had disclosed “secret data [and] state secrets concerning the area of strategic defense systems “. The Moscow-based news agency quoted an unnamed “Russian law enforcement official” who said that the accused spy worked at a critical research and development position inside a “restricted government facility that develops missile technology”. The source told InterFax that the alleged spy was working on the Russian R-30 Bulava ballistic missile, which is said to be in its final development stage. The R-30 Bulava (the Russian word for “mace”) is the name for Moscow’s latest-generation submarine-based ballistic missile technology. It is widely considered to be one of the future cornerstones of Russia’s nuclear weapons capability, and is thought to be the most expensive weapons project currently being developed in the country. The missile was approved for production last year, and is expected to come to service this coming October, when it will begin to replace Russia’s Soviet-era stock of submarine-launched nuclear missiles. The program is strongly linked to the country’s Borei-class ballistic-missile-capable nuclear submarines, which are expected to be able to launch the R-30 Bulava while underwater and in motion. Read more of this post

Did Russian secret services avert military coup in Sverdlovsk?

Vladimir Kvachkov

V.V. Kvachkov

The Russian intelligence services arrested members of an illegal paramilitary unit that planned an armed insurrection in one of central Russia’s biggest cities. According to reports from Yekaterinburg, the administrative capital Russia’s Sverdlovsk province, leaders of the alleged paramilitary unit hoped that their action would lead to a nationwide rebellion, eventually resulting in a military coup in Moscow. Several people were arrested by security forces of the FSB, Russia’s Federal Security Service a few days before August 2, the day when the alleged insurrection was to have taken place. Sources from the FSB say that the plotters were working on a four-step plan of action. First, they planned to attack the FSB’s Sverdlovsk district command center, the Russian Ministry of the Interior’s regional headquarters, as well as the offices of Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations, and capture or kill all senior staff. They would then blow up key power stations around Yekaterinburg, effectively shutting down the city’s electricity network. Taking advantage of the widespread confusion among the regional security apparatus and the population, they would move to seize local weapons depots. The alleged insurrection plan called for distributing the seized weapons among members of Yekaterinburg’s urban poor, in an attempt to widen the base of the rebellion. The plan’s final step viewed a widening insurrection in Yekaterinburg as a spark that would trigger similar Libya-style uprisings across Russia, resulting in a coup that would depose the current government in Moscow and replace it with a transitional military regime. According to news reports, the FSB arrested several leaders of the alleged insurrection, including former members of the Russian military, who are said to be linked with the People’s Militia, an insurrectionist group composed by former military and intelligence officials, led by Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov. Kvachkov, a retired Colonel in the Russian Military Intelligence Directorate (GRU), was arrested in December of 2010 on charges of planning “an armed rebellion for the forceful seizure of power in Russia”. Read more of this post

Sex video prompts British diplomat’s resignation

Hudson video

Hudson video

The British Foreign Office has confirmed that one of its officials stationed in Russia has resigned following the emergence of video footage which shows him cavorting with two prostitutes. British diplomatic sources have identified that James Hudson, a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, is indeed the man shown having sex with prostitutes in a black-and-white surveillance film, which was probably shot in a brothel in the Russian city of Ekaterinberg. Mr. Hudson was Britain’s Deputy Consul General in the city, also known as Yekaterinburg, which is a major industrial center and is described as “a key outpost for British trade”. The explicit video, which was anonymously posted on a Russian news website under the title “Adventures of Mr Hudson in Russia”, is thought to have been shot by agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in what is known in espionage circles as a “honey trap”. Read more of this post

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