There are clear similarities between accused spy Mikhail Valerievich Mikushin, 44, and other Russian agents caught abroad, said Tom Rocheth at the Norwegian Defense Academy.
Poisoning, hacking and espionage.
These three key words are often repeated in the Western media when the GRU, the secretive, but notorious, Russian intelligence service is mentioned.
On Friday, the Police Protection Service (PST) issued charges against a guest lecturer at the University of Tromsø (UiT).
The man, who came to Norway with a Brazilian passport, lives under the name Jose Assis Giamaria (37).
PST believes the man’s real identity is Mikhail Valerievich Mikushin, 44, and that he was spying on behalf of Russian authorities.
The man remains in custody but has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Both VG and journalist network Bellingcat have seen documents linking Mikuzgin to the GRU.
– I think we can be sure of that, Tom Rocheth, chief editor of intelligence at the Norwegian Defense Academy, tells VG.
He compares Mikuzgin to a suspected GRU agent Sergey Vladimirovich CherkasovHe was recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for forgery.
Aspects of unity
That is, there are many similarities between Serkazov and Mikushin.
Both claim to be from Brazil, but they speak Spanish because they grew up in a Spanish-speaking country.
Both applied to Europe after studying in North America: Mikushin as a guest lecturer at UiT, and Serkazov as an intern at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
– This suggests that Russian intelligence is taking more risks, which is not really unnatural in the security political climate. I think they are using all the means now, says Rocheth.
GRU and KGB
Russia has had a formal military intelligence service for over 200 years Napoleonic WarsThe state of war between European powers from about 1802 until the final defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815..
During World War II, the intelligence service was reorganized as the GRU in 1942.
Most people in the West still use the old term “GRU”, which is the Russian abbreviation for “General Directorate of the Intelligence Service”.
However, in 2017, the service changed its name to “GU” in Russian, abbreviated to “Main Directorate of General Personnel”.
The Intelligence Service does not have its own website and is only briefly mentioned website To the Russian Ministry of Defense.
During the Cold War, the GRU came into the shadow of a competing organization KGBThe KGB (1954–1991) was a former police and intelligence agency..
When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the KGB split into several factions.
- SVR – Responsible for Foreign Intelligence
- FSB – It is responsible for the National Security Service
Four areas of interest
Rocheth says he is prepared for the fact that Russia is probably going to lose an agent in this field:
– It’s something that comes with the territory. The value now is to get as much information as possible, so it’s better not to go wrong now.
The editor-in-chief highlights four areas of particular interest to Russian espionage operations in Norway:
- Norwegian policy towards Russia and the Arctic.
- NATO cooperation.
- Vulnerabilities in total security.
- Support for Ukraine.
– Norway is a portal in NATO to connect with other alliances. That way, we’re extra interesting, says Rocheth.
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