The Insider has published leaked correspondence of employees of the 1st “European” Directorate of the Russian GRU military intelligence. The media obtained files containing screenshots of dozens of passports belonging to foreigners, including scientists, professors from the world’s largest universities, public figures, and religious figures.
The head of the Russian Peace Foundation, Leonid Slutsky, invited these individuals to Russia, and the emails revealed their passports. The same foundation has previously helped the Kremlin establish contacts with European radicals and far-right politicians, such as the “yellow vests” in France and the far-right Alternative for Germany.
Loyal to Russia scientists
Teresa Kennedy and Elizabeth Berson, both Americans, along with Canadian Michèle Stanton-Jean, traveled to Moscow to participate in the 10th international forum of UNESCO’s non-governmental partners, hosted by the Russian Peace Foundation.
This organization presents itself as a public group that carries out “peacekeeping and humanitarian activities to help socially vulnerable groups, war veterans, orphans, and the disabled” and cooperates with the Russian Orthodox Church (known for links with the FSB) “in the spiritual revival of Russia.” The RFM, according to its website, has membership status in the Council of Europe and has “established consultative relations with UNESCO.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and UNESCO Deputy Director General Xing Qu welcomed 300 Russian and foreign scientists from more than 50 countries at the event, “Science for the Benefit of Mankind.” Leonid Slutsky, who is under US and EU sanctions, also gave interviews on the sidelines of the forum.
Prof. Teresa Kennedy was a speaker at the panel discussion “The Role of Women in Science.” She teaches at major US universities, is a renowned expert in oceanography and meteorology, and has previously worked with NASA and the French space agency.
Her fellow countrywoman, Elizabeth Berson, works as a coordinator in the American sector of non-governmental youth organizations at UNESCO. She has photos taken in Moscow in her accounts. Their neighbor from Canada, Michèle Stanton-Jean, teaches at the University of Montreal and is chair of the international bioethics committee. At the forum, she spoke on “The Social Responsibility of Science.”.
From military and political secrets to new technologies in civilian sector
The 1st GRU Directorate, which turned up screenshots of foreigners’ documents and spies in European Union countries, will not miss a chance to recruit a valuable agent anywhere in the world. The strongest illegal GRU residencies in Europe are in Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, and the Czech Republic.
In these countries, there is an active recruitment of politicians, military, intelligence officers, scientists, engineers of defense enterprises, diplomats, and journalists. The GRU is interested in literally everything, from military and political secrets to the latest technologies in the civilian sector, and the scale of espionage is quite impressive.
In February 2023, German authorities arrested 52-year-old counterintelligence officer Carsten Linke. According to leaks to the media, the officer was a paid agent of the GRU, and in his native intelligence service, he was responsible for cybersecurity and surveillance of electronic communications, as well as having access to the personal files of BND employees.
In March 2023, Italy sentenced for 30 years the naval officer Walter Biot, who passed to the embassy “undercover” from the GRU data on the telecommunications systems of Italy and NATO.
Sweden arrested Sergei Skvortsov, who had obtained local citizenship, a year ago. According to the investigation, he collected sensitive military information and caused significant damage to the security of Sweden and the United States. The Stockholm District Court eventually acquitted him.
As an informed source told The Insider, most of the military secrets stolen in the West go directly to closed scientific institutes of the Defense Ministry, such as the 18th Central Research Institute (military unit 11135) or the former 6th Central Research Institute, renamed the Center for the Study of Military Potential of Foreign Countries (m/u 54726), and “there already decide what to do with these drawings and flash drives further and what enterprises of the military-industrial complex to transfer them for study and application. The only problem is that they are behind in many respects.
UNESCO, Europe, and Israel targeted
In addition to the data of North American scientists, in the hands of the GRU were dozens of copies of passports of citizens of France, Belgium, India, Brazil, Israel, and natives of Africa who came to Russia at the invitation of the RFM. Most of them are well-known scientists, mathematicians, biologists, university professors, and religious figures. They travel a lot around the world and participate in all sorts of scientific conferences, which is of operational interest to GRU recruiters.
Fernanda Arraes Hertelendi, a native of Brazil, received an invitation to Moscow. She speaks at various international symposiums. Earlier, Ertelendi worked at the US State Department and now sits at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Armin Ibrišimović is a member of the secretariat of UNESCO’s nominations committee and is constantly shuttling between Europe and Africa.
The Spaniard Sergi Maicas Prieto teaches at the University of Valencia. His scientific specialization is research in molecular, cellular, and genetic biology. In addition to Russia, in 2016, the biologist traveled to Belarus, where he spoke at a scientific symposium.
Dafna Lifshitz, the lawyer included in the list of the 100 most influential people in Israel, has been constantly on the move. According to the media, the unique social adaptation programs developed by Lifshitz “have greatly influenced Israeli society, including women, ultra-Orthodox Jews, at-risk youth, new immigrants, and members of Arab, Bedouin, and Druze communities.” Among other things, she oversees 90 social centers in Africa.
Italian Prof. Dr. Francesco Maurelli and Slovenian Martin Krajnc sent their data to Russia to apply for visas. Maurelli lives in Germany and is a specialist in intelligent systems, robotics, and remote sensing. Dr. Kreinz deals with the treatment of thrombosis and came to Kazan for a scientific conference.
Two people represent Bulgaria: an advertising specialist, Gaurov Angel Atanasov, and Diana Iskreva-Idigo. After beginning her political career with the Bulgarian National Movement, she joined UNESCO and eventually became the Director of the Regional Inspectorate for Environment and Water Resources in Stara Zagora. In July 2023, they sacked the official for supporting the operation of the Brikel thermal power plant, which local residents and environmentalists oppose.
The secret correspondence of the GRU, primarily from Slutsky’s fund, reveals leaked copies of documents belonging to natives of France. For example, in them you can find screens of the passports of the honorary president of the World Federation of Scientific Workers, André Jaeglé, a consultant in the field of restructuring, strategy, development, and transformation of international business Marc Tollier, founder of several leasing and travel companies Bruno Gallois, lawyer Marie-Hélène Isern, professor of the Higher School of Social Sciences (Paris) Jacques Lienhardt, etc.
French scientists in “leaked” copies of documents from Slutsky’s office
Most of all, from Slutsky’s office, “leaked” copies of documents of French natives. Among other Frenchmen who came at the invitation of the RFM, there is Oleg Kurbatov’s data. He graduated from the Faculty of Mathematics, Economics, and Mechanics of the I.I. Mechnikov Odessa National University and then went to the University of Sophia Antipolis in Nice. Kurbatov is now a member of the leadership of the International Association of Professors and Lecturers and spoke at the UNESCO forum in November 2018 with the aforementioned Canadian Michèle Stanton-Jean.
Slutsky’s first deputy, Elena Sutormina, directly supervises the French direction of the foundation. She is on the board of the Association of Friends of France and has previously participated in sessions of the Council of Europe and UNESCO. A source in the foundation said that in addition to compiling lists of foreign guests, her duties include operational communication with the Russian security services.
Before Russian troops invaded Ukraine, Slutsky arranged flights to Moscow for French far-right pro-Russian politician Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Union party, and paid for tours to Crimea and Syria for politicians from other European countries promoting pro-Kremlin views.
Slutsky is Putin’s close ally. He’s a member of the State Duma and the leader of the right-wing populist Liberal Democratic Party, in the 7th State Duma, Slutsky is the Chairman of the Committee on International Affairs. In 2018, Slutsky became the central figure of the first ever sexual scandal in the history of the Russian State Duma, which led to a boycott of the media regarding the deputy. Several journalists accused Slutsky of sexual harassment.
In 2006, France awarded Slutsky the Legion of Honor “for the development of Russian-French cultural ties.” He has said many times that France always remains a loyal friend of Russia. Now that Paris is supplying arms to Ukraine, Slutsky’s rhetoric has changed dramatically: he accuses France of “bloody massacres” in its former colonies. However, for some reason he did not refuse a foreign order, like, for example, his good friend, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.
As it turned out, Leonid Slutsky’s close friend Maria Khodynskaya-Golenishcheva, who participated in the UN negotiations on a peaceful settlement in Syria, sent her GRU handler operational maps with the location of combat units of opponents of the Assad regime.
Dr. Shafiq Sachedina, who has visited Moscow several times, heads the office of the Syrian Ismaili-Nizarite mission in London, from where Khodynskaya-Golenishcheva received this information. Russian aviation hit the targets indicated on the maps with missile and bomb strikes, resulting in numerous casualties.
The command of the 24th separate brigade of GRU special forces awarded Slutsky with a commemorative sign in September 2023, expressing their appreciation for his active work in military intelligence and his dedication as a true patriot. This unit fought in the Syria war and took part in the invasion of Ukraine, where it suffered high casualties.
The Insider contacted some of the foreign guests on social media, but at the time of publication of the material, none of them responded.