One in three Russian ‘diplomats’ in Scandinavia actually works for intelligence

26 April, 01:41 PM
Embassy of Russia in Finland (Photo:www.facebook.com/RussianEmbassyinFinland)

Embassy of Russia in Finland (Photo:www.facebook.com/RussianEmbassyinFinland)

One in three Russian “diplomats” in Scandinavia are, in fact, working in intelligence, says an investigation by Finland’s Yle released on April 26.

While working for the embassy ‘on paper’, the employees actually work for Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) or the Federal Security Service (FSB).

The Russian Embassy in Helsinki declined to comment on the findings.

Swedish public broadcaster SVT identified 21 Russian spies, with at least 13 working at Russia’s embassy in Stockholm until at least until April 2022.

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Sweden expelled five Russian diplomats on April 25, saying their actions had contradicted their diplomatic status.

“Dmitry Otorochkin is one of the Russian intelligence officers identified by Yle, who worked at the mission in Helsinki from 2014 to 2018,” the Yle article says.

“After Finland, he joined the Russian Embassy in Copenhagen. Denmark deported Otorochkin in the spring of 2022.”

According to journalists, the spies are not associated with a clearly defined diplomatic mission, which “gives freedom to conduct intelligence activities.”

“The embassy’s top diplomats are rarely intelligence officers,” reads the report.

Yle found three profiles for Otorochkin on the Russian social network VKontakte, each with different names. Some of his photos were removed from his profiles in April. The journalists could not reach Otorochkin by phone.

One third of the Russian embassy diplomats are actually secret service employees, said law enforcement.

The state agencies do not disclose how many employees of the Russian embassy obtained exit papers last year. However, Finland’s Ministry of Transport and Communications was able to verify that (at least) two intelligence officers who worked for the GRU left Finland last spring.

“One of them is 60-year-old Vladimir Komarov who worked as a mission adviser in Helsinki until April 2022,” the investigation says.

“In Russian databases, his address is marked as the GRU’s headquarters in Moscow.

”Another expelled GRU intelligence officer is 37-year-old Dmitry Dvinyaninov who worked as a mission assistant. He had previously worked at the Russian Space Research Institute.

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