The Dudarevs Affair
Just months after the Holostovs Affair — when Russian authorities booted former Latvian Saiema MP Aleksejs Holostovs out of Russia on charges of espionage — another senior Latvian political figure has been embroiled in accusations of spying.
This time it’s Latvia’s senior civil aviation expert, Andrejs Dudarevs who’s entangled in spy games allegations. In a broadcast on the Russian television channel NTV, it was claimed that Dudarevs had been working for Western special services for 22 years, and has now tried to offer up classified intelligence to Russia.
According to NTV, Dudarevs had been gathering secret material that he believed could cause major damage to NATO’s positions in the Baltic countries, and he has subsequently handed this information over to Russia.
Dudarevs, the channel contends, had been secretly visiting Russia for the past four years, looking for ways to come into contact with Russia’s special services, and he was able to get in touch with Russian intelligence last November.
Dudarevs told NTV that he had secret information about NATO activities in the Baltic countries, including material related to NATO projects, the construction of military facilities in Latvia, and the placement of NATO and U.S. missile defence systems, as well as compromising information about some of Latvia’s top military officials.
Dudarevs offered this information to Russian intelligence services in exchange for the opportunity to work in Russia, according to NTV.
(The NTV report did not disclose whether Dudarev would be paid in rubles, or a dollar-denominated salary.)
However, the Russian Federal Security Service concluded that he was poorly trained and that part of information he had was either obsolete or imprecise.
Kaspars Galkins, head of the Defense Ministry’s Military Public Relations Department, told LETA news agency that the ministry would not comment on a “television channel’s spy series”. He added though that Dudarevs had resigned his job in the National Armed Forces in 2009.
Latvia is currently the presiding country at the Council of the European Union, therefore all kinds of stories may show up in the media, said Galkins. “Make of it what you will,” he added.