But the exchange may add fuel to U. Republican accusations that Obama is too soft on Moscow.
The Cold War Swap
An 11th suspect disappeared after being granted bail following his arrest in Cyprus. Relatives of the jailed Russians on both sides of the swap had waited anxiously in Russia for news of the exchange. All bar one of the 14 involved are Russian citizens. Irina Kushchenko, the mother of one of those arrested in the United States, Anna Chapman, left her apartment building in southwestern Moscow.
Ross Thomas (author)
By Friday night, neither mother nor daughter had returned to the apartment. Moscow has always prided itself on bringing agents back home and Washington has agreed to swaps before. The largest known Cold War spy swap was in when more than 20 spies were exchanged between East and West on the Glienicke Bridge in the then-divided city of Berlin. Spymasters on both sides say that despite generally warmer relations, the two former Cold War foes still fund generous intelligence operations against each other.
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The scandal broke when the United States said on June 28 it had uncovered a ring of suspected Russian agents who used false identities to gather intelligence on the United States. FBI agents said the Russians had communicated with Moscow by concealing invisible text messages in photographs posted on public Internet sites.
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Some had met Russian diplomats from the U. Igor Sutyagin, one of the four Russians sent westward on Friday, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in for passing information to a British firm prosecutors said was a CIA front.
Supporters saw him as a political prisoner. Sutyagin said the information was available from open sources and Kremlin critics said his conviction — which cast a chill on Russian scientists — was part of a crackdown on scholars with Western ties under Putin, president at the time. He said Sutyagin had been told as the swap was planned that he would be sent to London via Vienna.
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The agent was supposedly the victim of an audacious kidnapping from inside Estonian territory. Officials in Tallinn claim Kohver was snatched by a well-trained group of Russian operatives who slipped across the border, covering their movements with smoke and stun grenades, grabbed Kohver and took him back to Russia at gunpoint.
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- Russian ‘spy swaps’: the cold-war cliche making a comeback | World news | The Guardian!
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- The Cold War-era prisoner swap, the Soviet spy and the Minnesota college student | MPR News!
Kohver appeared on Russian television the next day amid claims he was an Estonian spy apprehended on Russian territory. He was held in detention for a year before being sentenced to 15 years in jail on espionage charges in a closed trial last month. Russia has a number of other prisoners on trial for espionage and other crimes, including a number of Lithuanians, and the Ukrainian pilot Nadezhda Savchenko, currently on trial for involvement in the deaths of Russian journalists in eastern Ukraine.
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With suggestions that after conviction she may be swapped for two Russian soldiers currently being held by Kiev, the choreographed prisoner swap could again become a regular feature of relations between Russia and the west. Topics Espionage Shortcuts. Estonia Russia Europe features.