Estonian police arrest Russian university professor for allegedly spying for Moscow


Police in Estonia have arrested a Russian professor teaching at the Baltic country’s most prestigious university on suspicions of spying for Moscow

ByThe Associated Press

January 16, 2024, 9:23 AM

TALLINN, Estonia — Police in Estonia arrested a Russian professor teaching at the Baltic country’s most prestigious university on suspicions of spying for Moscow, officials said Tuesday.

Estonian Internal Security Service, or security police, said it launched an investigation into Viacheslav Morozov, a Russian national and professor of international politics at the University of Tartu, for his alleged involvement in intelligence activity meant to undermine the country’s national security.

Authorities didn’t provide details of Morozov’s alleged intelligence activities “as procedural steps are being taken to verify the accusation,” ISS and prosecutors said in a joint statement.

“The current case is an addition to more than twenty previous ones and illustrates the desire of the Russian intelligence services to infiltrate various areas of Estonian life, including the scientific sector,” Margo Palloson, ISS Director General said in the statement.

He said that Russia’s “intelligence interest in Estonia remains high.”

The Prosecutor’s Office stated it issued an arrest warrant for Morozov, who has remained in pretrial custody since Jan. 3, to prevent him from evading criminal proceedings and continuing to “commit offenses at large.”

Political relations between Russia and neighboring Estonia, a country of 1.3 million that is a member of the European Union and NATO, have remained icy ever since 1991 when the small Baltic nation regained its independence from the former Soviet Union.

Later Tuesday, Palloson and State Prosecutor Triinu Olev told Estonian media outlets that Morozov was recruited as a spy by Russian special services several years ago and was on their payroll.

Palloson told Estonian public broadcaster ERR that Morozov held meetings in his home country with his Russian handlers “with some regularity.”

The University of Tartu is Estonia’s largest and oldest, established in 1632. Morozov has been associated with the university since 2010. He worked there as a professor of EU-Russia studies between 2016-2023 and as a professor of international political theory until his detention.

The Estonian university said Tuesday it has terminated his contract.

According to information on his Facebook page, Morozov is a political scientist and a former associate professor at Saint Petersburg State University, one of Russia’s renowned academic institutions.

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