Russian Spy Register Identified 42 Individuals Active in Europe

Register of Russian spies in Europe published by Twitter, identifies 42 individuals acting in their own countries and being paid by the Russian Federation. This Register was established on the basis of the open data and information related to arrests or proceedings of these identified Russian spies in the last five years

Register of Russian spies in Europe published by Twitter, identifies 42 individuals acting in their own countries and being paid by the Russian Federation. This Register was established on the basis of the open data and information related to arrests or proceedings of these identified Russian spies in the last five years


Author: Vesna Kolovska


Bulgaria is the second country – after Poland – with the largest number of cases – 8, with five indictments initiated which is two less than Poland.

Visualization: Number of indictments initiated against suspected Russian spies per country

According to the Register data, in Poland a journalist, a civil servant and three entrepreneurs were arrested. The politician, Januzs Niedzwiecki, head of an extreme right party in Poland whose interests are close to those of Kremlin, was arrested.

Among those accused for espionage in Bulgaria is the chief of the National Movement “Russophils”, Nikolai Malinov.

The Bulgarian newspaper “Sega” (Now) reports that the indictment for Malinov was initiated in 2019, but a final judgement has not been reached. According to the indictment, Malinov communicated with a seat in Russia, receiving orders to create a pro-Russian party and redirect Bulgaria toward the East, including a TV channel and a website for that same purpose, as well as a non-governmental organization and a think-tank organization. The trial started as late as 2021, and the case was once returned from the Specialized Criminal Court for not meeting deadlines. When the special court was closed down, the case continued in City Court – Sofia.

The other Bulgarian case is from March 2021 against six persons accused of espionage in favour of Russia. The State Prosecution published video and audio abstracts from the meetings of the accused and according to the indictment, a 74-year-old former Head of the Bulgarian Military Intelligence who graduated at the Russian GRU prior to 1989, established and managed a six-member espionage group. The group included his wife, his former employee, and the current chief of the secret office of the Bulgarian Parliament and the Deputy Director of the Budget Department of the Defence Ministry.

The trial – according to “Now” – was disrupted last March and all of the accused in the espionage affair were set free on bail.

Germany is third in the Register of Russian spies. In 2022, four persons were arrested for espionage. Exposed and detained were two intelligence officers as well as a Russian scientist and a businessman playing the role of technology espionage.

Last year in Sweden, four persons were detained. Evidence was found proving that they worked for the Russian intelligence agency GRU. Last on the list is Norway. In 2022, a researcher from the Tromso University, Mikhail Mikushin, was arrested. According to the indictment, he apparently worked for GRU under the false identity of a Brazilian citizen.

The Twitter account user who published the Register concluded that more than 30 espionage cases in favour of Russia were used in the last five years throughout Europe. Military staff and other uniformed services are predominant in the candidates for recruitment. Active cases mainly include agents born in Russia.

Visualization: Russian spies per nationality

It seems like the work of Russian intelligence is neither risky, nor too profitable. P. Buchka, the Rector of the Slovak Academy for Armed Forces, received 46.000 Euros for the 9 years of “experience”. The Bulgarian axis was much better off with 3.000 USD per agent. What can be expected in 2023? Most probably more difficult moments for Russian intelligence networks in Europe. Since the invasion, more than 400 diplomats were expelled from Western countries. That has serious impact on the capacity of Russia to work with sources from the field and to recruit new agents, reports the author of the Register.

Bulgarian media deem this published document as good basis for analyzing the presence of Russian intelligence on Bulgarian soil. The statement of Lena Borislavova, the Chief of Cabinet of the former Prime-minister Kiril Petkov given last July about Russia paying 4.000 Levs per month to its “loud-speaking followers” is treated as an indication. According to her, they are “public political speakers”, including journalists, political scientists, politicians and public figures who are opinion-makers supporting the State of Russia. However, it is not clear whether a thorough investigation by the Prosecution and the National Security Service followed after Borislavova made the statement.

The former Bulgarian Ambassador to the USA and Vice-President of the Political Club, Elena Poptodorova, in a statement given for TV Nova from Bulgariа, said that the Russian services were very comfortable in Bulgaria as their starting point in the region due to which the number of Russian spies is quite big. Poptodorova responded to the opinion of the Macedonian President, Stevo Pendarovski regarding the work put in disrupting the Macedonia-Bulgarian relations by the Russian services.

Every politician who attacks the Republic of North Macedonia for the purpose of political trade is actually serving Russian interest. The outlook is much more complex than talking about espionage connections. No doubt, the assumed persons pointed out by Mr. Pendarovski are related to Russian services because they have their own agenda, their own genisis that can serve Russian interest. It is very difficult however, to identify the link with the Russian services in terms of instructions, finances etc. The thesis itself is true – all politicians and political parties in Bulgaria who are targeting Macedonia for their own political and mercantile interest, are working in favour of Russia. Nevertheless, the outlook is much broader than what Pendarovski mentioned, stated the former Bulgarian Ambassador to the USA.

Iconographic: Number of expelled Russian diplomats

The published Register of Russian spies does not have data on North Macedonia.

The public is aware of the expelled diplomats posted in the Russian Embassy in Skopje. In 2021, two Russian diplomats were declared “persona non grata”; one in May, and the other in August and soon after expelled. Russia responded by expelling Macedonian diplomats from Moscow.

Last March, the Macedonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) declared another five Russian diplomats for “persona non grata”. According to the MFA, the diplomats were performing activities that violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.


This article has been produced within the project Fact-Checking the Progress of North Macedonia towards the EU, implemented by the Metamorphosis Foundation. The article, originally published by Truthmeter,, is made possible by the support of the American non-profit foundation NED (National Endowment for Democracy). The content of this article is the responsibility of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of Metamorphosis, NED or their partners.




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