Russia hallucinates about 'superspy?'

  • 2000-07-06
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) announced that
it detained a Lithuanian national who was spying for the Lithuanian
State Security Service (VSD) and the American Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA). The VSD authorities described the story about the
supposed Lithuanian 007 agent as ridiculous propaganda.

On June 26 Russian news agency Itar-Tass wrote that the Lithuanian
national of Russian origin, a spy with code name "Student ' of the
VSD and the CIA, was caught in Moscow and is being questioned by FSB.
The name of the spy was not mentioned.

Itar-Tass stated that the putative agent tried to hack into the FSB
computer systems in order to get information about the organization
of the FSB's activities, staff, the professional skills of its
employees, as well as possibilities of the FSB to counteract Western
special service operations against Russia. The accused agent also had
plans to invite an FSB agent to Poland and convince the latter to
work for Western secret services.

All Russian state-owned TV channels showed a short film, shot, as
they informed, by the FSB, portraying a young man with spy-style
sunglasses surrounded by FSB agents. The faces of the FSB men were
covered with black squares in this film. This film also showed a map
of Vilnius Virsuliskes quarter. This map was taken from "Telefonu
Knyga Vilnius 2000 (The Vilnius Telephone Book 2000)" and is
possessed by most of Vilniusites. Commentary behind the screen,
leading the FSB film, did not say a single word why this map was

On June 28 in Vilnius, Lietuvos Televizija made an interview with a
24 year-old Pavel Iljin, the alleged spy. He said that FSB agents
tried to convince him to work for Russian intelligence during
meetings in Vilnius and Kaliningrad this June. Iljin said that he was
drinking some unusually strong alcohol with FSB agents in
Kaliningrad. Iljin said that the FSB filmed him in Kaliningrad. He
said that he informed the VSD about contacts with the FSB.

Then the FSB in Moscow immediately announced to the Russian media
that the spy was released for saying everything about tasks of the
VSD and the CIA. Iljin's name was mentioned.

However, in an interview with Lithuanian TV, Iljin said that he
hadn't been in Moscow "for nine or more years." Iljiin said he found
out about his famous detention in Moscow June 26 when he searched on
the Internet in his Vilnius flat. It was a surprise, said Iljin.

The daily newspaper Lietuvos Rytas states that Iljin has a story of
treatments in Vilnius psychiatric hospitals and had problems with
drug abuse. Psychiatrists told the daily that their patient tended to
overestimate importance of his own personality.

Iljin worked as a computer specialist in the state taxation
inspection in Trakai till May of this year. Now he says he works as a
computer specialist, but declined to name his employer.

Arvydas Pocius, a deputy director general of the VSD, said that Iljin
had informed the VSD about meetings with FSB agents in Kaliningrad.
Pocius said that Iljin had contacts with the VSD before becoming a
virtual agent in the Russian media.

"He is a computer specialist and in certain cases he did consult the
officers of the VSD who are servicing our computer networks," Pocius

However, this VSD official denied that Iljin fulfilled some tasks of
the VSD. Pocius added that the Russian report about Iljin's detention
was not true, since at the moment in question, the Lithuanian
national was not present in Russia.

Ivan Sergeyev, the Russian vice-minister for foreign affairs, was
visiting Vilnius on June 29. He refused to answer journalists'
questions about Iljin, stating that it is not the business of his

Rimantas Dagys, Lithuanian parliamentary deputy chairman and leader
of the Party Social Democracy 2000, started to laugh when he was
asked to comment on the recent espionage story.

"I consider Russian accusations as flattering to Lithuanian
intelligence. Well, I'm a little bit more skeptical about power of
the VSD," Dagys said laughing.

Later, he became more serious, and said those statements of the FSB
represents changes in Russia's internal situation.

"Russia is trying to sharpen its relations with Lithuania and other
Western countries. It has nothing to do with our internal discussions
about policy towards Russia. This story is created for Russian public
opinion because of their internal fight over future domestic policy.
Russia might choose the Belarusian model or a softer variant of
controlled democracy," Dagys said.

On July 2, Russian state-owned television ORT announced their new
version about Iljin. According to the latest Russian official
version, FSB agents detained him in Kaliningrad on June 10, not in
Moscow on June 26.