Spy mania continues

Publish date: March 1, 2001

Written by: Jon Gauslaa

Environmentalists have for years been in the searchlight of the Russian security police, but also other "potential spies" are subject to its scrutiny.

On February 27, the FSB made public that it had arrested an alleged “agent-in-training for American intelligence” in Voronezh in central Russia.

“Potential spies”

John Edward Tobin, a 24-year-old American exchange student from Ridgefield, Connecticut, was detained on January 26 while being in the possession of 4.5 grams marijuana, and has been in custody ever since. Although Tobin according to the FSB had yet to carry out any spying activity, it stated that his arrest showed that “potential spies could be found even under the cover of exchange students”.

Pavel Bolshunov, a FSB spokesman in Voronezh, told Reuters that it was Tobin’s fluent Russian that had aroused the suspicion. He said that the FSB believed Tobin was an interrogation specialist who had been sent to Russia for additional training. However, the alleged U.S. agent was caught red-handed smoking marijuana and had thus, very seriously “discredited the institutions that might stand behind him”, Bolshunov said.

A warning

Pavel Felgenhauer, a well-known security and defence analyst in

Moscow, said the suggestion of espionage links was a warning for all foreign organisations working in Russia. “They can be accused of being accomplices in spying activity,” he said.

Although Tobin apparently will not be charged for espionage, he may still face a sentence of 10 years in prison if convicted for having distributed marijuana. “The bags of narcotics were small, but this is not Holland,” FSB-spokesman Bolshunov said.

More News

All news

The role of CCS in Germany’s climate toolbox: Bellona Deutschland’s statement in the Association Hearing

After years of inaction, Germany is working on its Carbon Management Strategy to resolve how CCS can play a role in climate action in industry. At the end of February, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action published first key points and a proposal to amend the law Kohlenstoffdioxid Speicherungsgesetz (KSpG). Bellona Deutschland, who was actively involved in the previous stakeholder dialogue submitted a statement in the association hearing.

Project LNG 2.

Bellona’s new working paper analyzes Russia’s big LNG ambitions the Arctic

In the midst of a global discussion on whether natural gas should be used as a transitional fuel and whether emissions from its extraction, production, transport and use are significantly less than those from other fossil fuels, Russia has developed ambitious plans to increase its own production of liquified natural gas (LNG) in the Arctic – a region with 75% of proven gas reserves in Russia – to raise its share in the international gas trade.