From the LinkedIn page of Ihor Fesenko
How Putin’s #agents infiltrate #Germany
Russia’s agents are among us, but we don’t see them. The chancellor is among comrades, but not among friends.
It’s incredibly entertaining in films or series, but scary in reality: Vladimir Putin’s spy empire, which is waging a shadow war against the West with tens of thousands of employees.
The spies influence parties, manipulate elections, control Telegram research channels and foment protests in the West with false information. They infiltrate the computer networks of Western governments and hack into highly sensitive systems.
And some have lived under false identities inconspicuously in the West for years, hardly recognizable to the societies into which they were smuggled. Like the characters in The Americans.
Such a top agent has now been uncovered by a SPIEGEL team in cooperation with the investigative platforms Bellingcat and The Insider: Adela K. last operated in Italy, and possibly spied on NATO and US Navy employees there.
How many people who read this revelation in our Italian partner medium “La Repubblica” will now be amazed, hurt and insecure because they thought Adela K. was a harmless friend and colleague?
The research on which the new SPIEGEL cover story is based also provides the first overview of how Putin’s spies operate in the West and above all in Germany.
The Russian foreign intelligence service SWR is said to command around 3,000 agents, and the military intelligence service GRU another 1,000, many of them disguised as diplomats.
And up to 70 “illegals”, ie spies operating under elaborate camouflage identities, maintain the Russian services. The number sounds small, but these are extremely complex missions and attackers who are particularly difficult to detect. Then there is “Unit 29 155,” Putin’s kill team, a top-secret elite unit that commits political murders.
Anyone who now thinks what do spies have to do with me is mistaken. The German infrastructure can quickly become a target or collateral damage for these attackers.
For example, on February 24 of this year, the start of Russia’s attack on Ukraine: the Russian services wanted to switch off the Ukrainian military and its mobile networks, and the connection between 5,800 German wind turbines and their headquarters promptly failed because the operating companies had customers from the same US provider.
The cover story shows how ill-equipped our country is against these attacks. We hardly get along with our homegrown Russia fans and extremists, like the “folk teacher” Nikolai Nerling.
The right-wing extremist video blogger, for whom the Ukraine war is “Jewishly staged”, was able to reach an audience of millions almost unhindered for a long time. Today Nerling is on trial in Berlin for assault, trespassing, insult, property damage, oh yes, and for an interview with a Holocaust denier.