Another spy scandal broke out in Austria. The Prosecutor’s office of Salzburg issued an arrest warrant and announced the international wanted Russian citizen Igor Zaitsev, who is suspected of working for the Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) of the General staff of the Russian armed forces “to the detriment of the Austrian Republic.” According to the Austrian Interior Ministry, 65-year-old Russian is a “senior officer of the GRU.”
“The officer-curator of the GRU is suspected of having persuaded the 70-year-old retired Colonel of the Austrian armed forces to promote the secret intelligence service to the detriment of Austria, the disclosure of state secrets and the deliberate issuance of military secrets,” — quotes the statement of RIA “Novosti”.
The current story is connected with the sensational in November 2018 spy scandal, during which the mentioned Colonel was detained. He was suspected that he allegedly for 20 years passed Russian military intelligence information about military aircraft, weapons systems, personnel, migration crisis, and others. For the information provided, the agent allegedly received about 300 thousand euros.
The ex-Colonel denied his guilt, as well as the fact of acquaintance with Zaitsev, but was arrested on November 30 and is currently in custody.
The message of the Austrian Ministry of the Interior noted that the development of the Russians was engaged in foreign intelligence agencies, and in the fall, the media reported that information to the government of Austria gave the German secret services, moreover, not without the British. According to the newspaper Kleine Zeitung, the British probably purposefully passed information to the Austrians to distance from the Russian Vienna, which chose a course of rapprochement with Moscow, as the many Western States do not like it.
The scandal erupted in the fall led to the cancellation of the visit of the Foreign Minister of Austria Karin Kneissl in Russia, and her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov were unpleasantly surprised by what happened.
“From time immemorial, it has been accepted that if a country has concerns and suspicions about the actions of another country (in the involvement of someone in some processes), which are considered as threats to the state concerned, then, in accordance with the norms of international communication, clarification should be sought directly. And lately, unfortunately, our Western partners made it a rule not to resort to traditional diplomacy, but to “MIC”, “megaphone” diplomacy, accusing us publicly, demanding to publicly explain himself on the issue, about which we know nothing,” — said the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Head of the Department of social and political studies of the Institute of Europe, RAS, doctor of historical Sciences Vladimir Schweitzer believes that such materials “throw” and the Americans.
— They don’t like the fact that Sebastian Kurtz will still be Chancellor. This is quite clear after the elections to the European Parliament: it will have an absolute majority in the National Council of Austria, and it will form the government. And the line will be the same — mediation. Trump is mediation is not satisfied, so they are playing their game against Kurtz.
Elections in Austria in late September. Now, this is an attempt to throw in materials that will compromise Austria, as a country that, firstly, takes a neutral position, and secondly, really helps contacts between Russia and Europe. That’s why it’s all American business.
“SP”: – the Austrians announced wanted a citizen of Russia, allegedly working for Russian intelligence, and it happened after as much as 9 months.
There are times. There is nothing surprising, all intelligence work according to the same standard: both ours at them, and they at us. The political component is important here.
NATO intelligence is working on the anti-Russian line, find all sorts of real or fictional facts. Maybe it never happened. This work is not so much against Russia as against Austria. This is an attempt to compromise the country in which the “Russian spies”feel at ease. Like, look what kind of country that wants to be a mediator.
The scandals, the publication in “Spiegel” and was aimed at the withdrawal of Austria from a number of countries-mediators, and a number this small. But Austria understands its historically very important role, after all, we liberated them (in world war II — ed.), contributed to the fact that in 1955 they gained independence, on our initiative were withdrawn, occupation troops. Austria owes us that, although we never talk about it.
The Americans, who are fighting on all fronts — in the far East, the Middle East — have chosen Austria as a target because they want to isolate it from the negotiation process. Trump obsession — he’s one-on-one with someone with Putin, Johnson, Makron… He does not need intermediaries. And the Austrians are acting correctly — this is an opportunity to increase their share in international relations.
Member of the Council for foreign and defense policy, major General of the FSB (in post.) Alexander Mikhailov jokingly noticed that it is summer, information events is small, so sometimes “chew” you want something.
— When we talk about spy scandals, we must understand one obvious thing — no country in the world can do without intelligence information, of course, acquires sources in those countries that are of interest. So all these scandals it should be easy to respond to. Spies were, are and will be. And this must be considered.
In General, when the scandal begins, it indicates unhealthy relations between the countries. In a favorable environment between friendly countries, such conflicts are trying to be brought into the “shadow zone”, because such conflicts do not bring anything good for international relations.
I will say more, some of our leaders of the FSB-KGB said that conflicts between special services, in any case, can not be transferred to the state level. Conflicts between intelligence agencies is the conflict between special services. And when we attach fatal importance to them, there is a great tension between the countries, diplomatic missions, and in the economy there are problems.
When spies are exposed, it is evidence of either the unskilled work of the country whose spies were exposed or the high qualification of those countries that exposed their opponents.
“SP”: – But we have with Austria, it seems, good relations, and suddenly such a scandal which in November of last year began. At the same time, the media reported that information about the alleged spy of Austria was transferred by foreign intelligence services, in particular, German and British were mentioned. What is their interest?
— In the West, there are no independent special services. They are so integrated into each other under the control of the Central Intelligence Agency that it is probably not even necessary to talk about the independence of the Austrian special services. As, however, even about such qualified as in Germany and the UK — they are also to some extent integrated into the international intelligence community. Therefore, the transfer of information from one country to another always carries a certain logic.If, for example, today the Americans, the British, or the Germans, relatively speaking, have information about the presence of some sources in Austria and if these sources do not cause damage to the US, Germany or the UK, they react calmly. And if there is a need to use Austria to create an international scandal, they pass the information. In Vienna, begin to get excited, there is tension between Austria and Russia.
I am more than sure that we are not interested in any serious information from Austria. I believe that it is not as interesting for us as some other countries, which form another belt of NATO’s progress to the East or the development of new weapons, or something else.
This is all due to the creation of a certain sharpness (in relations — ed.) between the countries because this information could not pass, because it does not apply to Britain or Germany (if this agent was at all). But, when they feel that it is necessary to add “pepper” to our international relations, “merge” this information, as a result, we already begin to sort out the relations with Austria. Although, as you know, no intelligence Agency admits that its agent failed.