Putin ally Torshin wooed young Americans visiting Moscow

Putin ally Torshin wooed young Americans visiting Moscow

News

Josh Meyer, excerpts:

Russian politician Alexander Torshin’s meetings with American students, coupled with recent revelations that he helped manage alleged covert Russian agent Mariia Butina, suggest that the Putin backer may be a more significant Kremlin operative than was previously understood.

When the FBI began contacting trip participants in late September and October of 2013, many were shocked at what the agents were telling them. The agents began by reading from a printed card with details of about what they were investigating, including how they believed Russian Cultural Center Director Yury Zaitsev was overseeing the alleged spy recruitment operation, according to the two participants, both of whom shared details of their trips and FBI interviews with POLITICO.

The discussions were “very frank,” according to one of the FBI’s top counterintelligence officials at the time. The official said the agents’ interviews were exhaustive, in part because Russian intelligence operatives excel at being unobtrusive and patiently laying the groundwork for relationships they hope to develop over years or even decades.

In hindsight, the second trip participant said there were indications that the group’s extremely generous Russian hosts might have had ulterior motives.

During his interview, that participant told the FBI agents that he thought it was “unusual” that the group had been granted such high-level meetings, including with top-ranking officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The agents were particularly interested in any details about those meetings, he said, “and why are these kids meeting with these super high-level people.”

“It seemed like they were trying to foster the exchange in a professional and productive way,” the second participant said. But, he added: “If one person out of a group of 20 becomes an asset for them, then I suppose it’s worth it for them to pay the whole group for the trip.”

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/08/14/russia-americans-putin-torshin-776237


Russian politician Alexander Torshin’s meetings with American students, coupled with recent revelations that he helped manage alleged covert Russian agent Mariia Butina, suggest that the Putin backer may be a more significant Kremlin operative than was previously understood.

(RSS generated with FetchRss)

Read more: Putin ally Torshin wooed young Americans visiting Moscow

  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •  
  •