This past weekend, Estonian Internal Security Service agents at the border checkpoint in Narva arrested a man on his way to Russia suspected of acting as an agent for the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation (FSB). The Russian citizen is suspected of non-violent activities against the Republic of Estonia and the preparation of computer-related crime. The targets in his activities against Estonia were Estonian state agencies.
The suspect is a young man with a very high IT skills proficiency. He arrived in Estonia «some time ago» with a valid visa. This was supposed to dispel all suspicions. The Estonian Internal Security Service (KAPO) believes the man was instructed by the FSB on what to do and take interest in while still in Russia. The young man was supposed to use his skills to find weaknesses in the computer networks of Estonian state agencies. Because KAPO needed proof of the agents actions, and because there was no direct and acute threat to the state, the agency placed the spy under surveillance and allowed him to continue his activities. Postimees has been told that all attempts by the IT specialist to penetrate Estonian networks failed. The man was apprehended a few hundred yards from the Russian border in Narva while on his way back during the weekend.
Story by the Russian news agency 47news.ru:
On suspicion of cyber espionage, the special services of Estonia detained a 20-year-old student from Kingisepp – Aleksei Vasilev. He was called an agent of the FSB. And 47news believes that so treacherous neighbors want to humiliate our State security.
As far as it is currently known, Aleksei from age 16 to 19 studied in the Estonian college (Ida-Virumaa Vocational Education Centre). Then a year he worked in Russia, at age 19 he returned to Estonia and started studies (in Virumaa College of TUT) as a programmer. In Estonia he resided on the basis of student’s residence permit.
With the Aleksei’s 38-year-old mother, Elena Pesovets, the embassy already talked. She is also a resident of Kingisepp. The 47news also talked with Elena.
– Aleksei graduated from some kind of a specialized class?
No, the usual Kingisepp school. Nine classes. Then he went to Sillamäe College (Ida-Virumaa Vocational Education Centre) to study as a programmer. Then for the higher education in Kohtla-Jarve (Virumaa College of TUT). He planned to work in profession.
– But why he did not try to study in Petersburg?
In St. Petersburg, tuition fees must be paid, but in Estonia it is free.
– But to work, to build a career he planned in Russia?
He did not think about it yet, he wanted to get the higher education, and after that to choose.
– Did he had any problems with the Estonian language?
He does not know Estonian well. But in Sillamäe and Kohtla-Järve studies are in Russian. It was not required to know Estonian to study.
– Computers are his main hobby?
Yes, he was fond of computers. But his friends, like for every guy – classmates. He does not smoke, does not drink alcohol, does not rove. Every weekend he came home. He has two brothers. All the time at home with them.
– And he lived on a scholarship or worked part-time somewhere?
He got a scholarship, and I gave him money. Like all students.
– Did you spoke with your son?
There is no connection. No possibilities to meet. I am preparing the documents. I only know one thing: my son is not a criminal.
In this story there is an incomprehensible or unpleasant yet nuance. When, after detention, an employee of the Russian embassy arrived at the detention center, instead of Aleksei, a police officer came out. He acquainted our diplomat with the paper signed by the detainee. In it, Aleksei says that he is acquainted with his rights, but he does not need the services of the embassy. But most likely, this is a childish step.