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EU state imprisons Russian academic for ‘spying’

An Estonian court has sentenced erstwhile university professor Vyacheslav Morozov to over six years in prison for allegedly providing intelligence to Moscow

Former Tartu University professor Vyacheslav Morozov has been sentenced by an Estonian court to six years and three months in prison for allegedly working for a foreign intelligence service, the news outlet ERR reported on Tuesday.

Morozov, a Russian citizen, was detained by Estonian police in January on charges of collaborating with Moscow by supposedly collecting and providing information about the Baltic state.

According to the court documents, the academic had worked at St. Petersburg State University until 2010. He later joined the faculty of the University of Tartu in Estonia, where, from 2016 to 2023, he held the position of Professor of European Union and Russian Studies. He then worked there as a professor of International Political Theory until his arrest.

“Morozov was tasked by the Russian special service to collect information from the Republic of Estonia about Estonia’s internal, defense and security policy and related people and infrastructure,” the leading state prosecutor Taavi Pern was quoted as saying in a press release by the Estonian internal security service (Kapo).

According to Pern, the professor was forwarding information about Estonia’s “political situation and elections, allied relations, and integration and social integration.” The prosecutor claimed that while most of this information was publicly available, and some had been obtained by Morozov thanks to his “position as a scientist,” it could be used to “threaten Estonia.” Pern noted that Morozov did not have any access to state secrets.

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The prosecution also claimed that Morozov had been working with Moscow “for a long time” and alleged that he was recruited by Russian intelligence services when studying at a Russian university in the 1990’s.

At the same time, Kapo Director General Margo Polloson noted that in his actions, Morozov “did not damage or manipulate his own educational or research activities in any way. The science he did and guided is still relevant today.” Nevertheless, Polloson claimed that Morozov “pretended to be a professor of international relations, which gave him access to various entities, events and people, which he took advantage of.”

The head of the Tartu University Johan Skytte Institute for Political Studies, Kristiina Tonnisson, had previously stated that Morozov’s arrest in January was a “shock to us all.” She added that while the university had “no grounds for complaints regarding Morozov’s previous work,” his past activities would be critically reviewed.

June 19, 2024 at 06:52PM
RT

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