Russian representative denies US media claims of his involvement in espionage – Rossotrudnichestvo exchange program

Russian representative denies US media claims of his involvement in espionage


WASHINGTON, October 24 (Itar-Tass) – Representative of   Russia’s Federal Agency for Cooperation with   Fellow-Countrymen Abroad /Rossotrudnichestvo/ in   Washington, Yury Zaytsev, has expressed astonishment over   publications in the U.S. media saying that the FBI suspects   him of working for the Russian intelligence services.

Reports on Zaytsev’s alleged illegal activities were   put up by several US media at a time, including the   Internet version of The Washington Post, which mentioned   unnamed law enforcement officials as the sources of   information.

According to the newspaper, FBI agents have been   interviewing Americans who participated in the   Rossotrudnichestvo exchange program run by Zaytsev, who   also heads the Russian Center for Science and Culture in   Washington.

“Law enforcement officials said the FBI is   investigating whether Zaytsev and Rossotrudnichestvo have   used trips to Russia /sponsored by the Center – Itar-Tass/   to recruit Americans,” the article said.

It went on to say that Rossotrudnichestvo had paid for   all their expenses, including meals, travel, visa fees and   lodging. Most of the trips involved about 25 participants,   who sometimes allegedly stayed in luxury hotels and met   with Russian government officials.

Yury Zaytsev strongly denied any such allegations.   “It’s highly regrettable that echoes of the Cold War   regularly surface in Russian-American relations at   present,” he told Itar-Tass.

“It looks like some milieus have an itch to separate   our two countries by an iron curtain again,” Zaytsev said.

As for the FBI, it acted in line with its longtime   tradition of refraining from comments on reports of that   kind. Amy Thoreson, the agency’s official spokeswoman   refused to make any definite comment on suspicions   regarding Zaytsev or clarify what actions were being taken   in this connection.

“A significant responsibility of our Center is that of   strengthening the positions of Russian culture, while   familiarizing overseas citizens with the richest Russian   cultural heritage and modern Russian art,” Zaytsev wrote on   the Web site of the center.

“The Russian Cultural Centres possess a system of   operations for supporting the Russian language abroad,   promoting Russian educational services, increasing   cooperation between educational institutions in partner   countries, as well as working with graduates of Russian   (and Soviet) universities,” his message said.

Yevgeny Khorishko, a spokesman for Russia’s Embassy in   Washington refuted the assertions that the cultural center   might have been involved in the recruitment of agents for   the Russian intelligence services

“All such ‘scaring information’ very much resembles   Cold War era,” he said in an e-mail, adding that the   revelations of this type were being leveled only to   “distort and to blacken activities of the Russian Cultural   Center.”

Categories: Intelligence Gathering

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