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People who regularly cross the Russian border are more vulnerable to the risk of recruitment. As opposed to officials who work with state secrets and have been warned about the methods of foreign intelligence services, the average person is less informed. A friendly question by Russian border guards, such as whether a bribe should be given to anyone on the Latvian side and to whom, may seem innocent but allows the other side to mark potential recruits.

– SAB director Jānis Maizītis


Herman Simm

2008. Herman Simm. Head of the Security Department of the Ministry of Defense. The Baltic superspy sold Estonian and NATO secrets to Russia. Sentenced to 12 years and 5 months in prison.

Alexey Dressen

2012. Alexey Dressen and his wife Victoria. This official of the Estonian security service KAPO gave classified information to Russia through his wife. 16 years in prison for Aleksei, six years on probation for Victoria. In 2015, Dressen was exchanged for the KAPO official Eston Kohver, who had been abducted by Russia.

Vladimir Veitman

2013. Vladimir Veitman, KAPO official. Betrayed state secrets to Russia. 15 years in prison and a fine of € 65,520.

Pavel Romanov

2015. Pavel Romanov, non-citizen. Smuggled cigarettes and people across the border area. In order to avoid imprisonment in Russia, gathered publicly available information about the border region. Sentenced for activities directed against the state. 5 years in prison.

Alexander Rudnev

2015. Alexander Rudnev, Estonian citizen. Active in people-smuggling in the Pskov region. Gathered publicly available information about the border region. 2 years in prison.

Maxim Gruzdev

2015. Maxim Gruzdev, Estonian and Russian double citizenship, lived in the Pskov region in Russia, smuggler. Gathered publicly available information about KAPO and lured the KAPO official Eston Kohver to the border area, where he was abducted by the Russian security service. 4 years in prison.

Alik Hutshbarov

2016. Alik Hutshbarov, Estonian and Russian double citizenship holder, lived in the Pskov region, smuggler. Gathered publicly available information about the border region. 3 years in prison.

Artyom Maloshev

2016. Artyom Maloshev. Estonian and Russian double citizenship holder, lived in the Pskov region, smuggler. Gathered publicly available information on the Estonian army and police. 2 years and 6 months in prison.

Artyom Zinchenko

2017. Artyom Zinchenko, officer of the Russian military intelligence service (GRU) with a business in Estonia. A Russian citizen who had a residence permit in Estonia. 5 years in prison. In 2018, he was exchanged for the Estonian businessman Raivo Susi, who had been sentenced for spying in Russia.

Aleksei Vasilyev

2017. Aleksei Vasilyev. A Russian citizen in Estonia studying information technology. He was charged with writing code that would facilitate hacking a wireless intranet of an Estonian government office. 4 years in prison.

Mikhail Petrov

2017. Mikhail Petrov. A Russian citizen who applied for refugee status in Estonia. Gathered information on KAPO. 5 years in prison. He has been released and granted a residence permit in Estonia; the reason for this is not known.

Albert Provornikov

2017. Albert Provornikov. A double citizen of Estonia and Russia. Gathered information about the border police. 3 years in prison.

Ilya Tikhanovsky

2017. Ilya Tikhanovsky. Estonian citizen. Gathered information on military and defense installations. 4 years in prison.

2018. Yevgeny Slavin, Estonian citizen. Took pictures of a plot of land potentially developed for a NATO airfield. 20 months in prison.

Denis Metsavas

2018. Denis Metsavas, major, Estonian armed forces, and his father, Pyotr Volin. Estonian citizens. With the help of his father, Metsavas sent state secrets to the GRU. The case is still under investigation.


Romualds Lipskis

2014. Romualds Lipskis. Lithuanian citizen of Belarusian origin; spied for Belarus. Lipskis worked for the state airline and provided Belarus with information about NATO air patrols. 5 years in prison.

Sergei Pushin

2014. Sergei Pushin, Lithuanian citizen. Worked at an air base not far from Siauliai where NATO air patrols are based. He was arrested together with the Russian intelligence officer Sergei Moiseyenko, to whom he passed information on Lithuanian military operations and facilities for €500-€1,000.For Pushin: 5 years in prison, for Moiseyenko 10.5 years.

Nikolai Filipchenko

2015. Nikolai Filipchenko. A Russian FSB operative who, using a fake identity, attempted to recruit the bodyguard of the Lithuanian president for the purpose of placing spying devices in the president’s office. 10 years in prison.

Andrei Oshkurov

2016. Andrei Oshkurov. A Lithuanian citizen who spied for Belarus. Medic in Lithuanian army, gathered information about army morale. 3 years in prison.

2017. Lithuanian law enforcement institutions announced that three Lithuanians had been detained on suspicion of spying. Two criminal cases have been launched. In one, two suspects were related to the army and sold information to Russian services. The suspect in the other case is suspected of gathering public information in the Klaipeda region. The Lithuanian prosecutor’s office is withholding the names of the suspects.


Alexander Krasnopiorov

November 2016. Alexander Krasnopiorov. Latvian non-citizen. Worked at Latvian Railways, sent information on NATO military cargoes to “a friend” in Kaliningrad. Sentenced to 18 months in prison, sentence appealed.

Yuri Stilve

December 2017. Yuri Stilve. Latvian citizen, collected information about army equipment and training. Three years conditional sentence.

October 2018. Oleg Burak. Retired former employee of the Ministry of Interior. Case under pre-trial investigation.


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This story is the part of the series supported by the first EU-financed fund for investigative journalism IJ4EU and jointly developed by Re:Baltica, Postimees, Direkt36, and Financing was given as a result of the open call, managed by International Press Institute.

Sources: KAPO, Postimees,,,,,,,,,, LTV

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