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New investigation alleges Latvian member of European Parliament has secretly worked for Russian FSB for 20 years

Source: Meduza
Martin Bertrand / Alamy / Vida Press

A new investigation from the outlet The Insider alleges that Tatjana Ždanoka, a member of the European Parliament from Latvia, has been working undercover for Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) at least since 2004. Journalists say they have obtained and confirmed the authenticity of leaked emails between Ždanoka and her Russian “handlers.”

The messages appear to show that Ždanoka was in regular contact with Dmitry Gladey, an employee of the FSB’s St. Petersburg office, as early as October 2005. In their first discovered correspondence, Ždanoka sent Gladey an unpublished draft agenda for an upcoming conference in Estonia as well as a draft press release for the event, where, according to Ždanoka, participants would discuss “the experience of Russian politicians’ participation in municipal governments,” among other things. Ždanoka confirmed to journalists that she knows Gladey but did not explain why she sent him the documents.

In September 2007, a week after meeting with Gladey in Moscow, Ždanoka reportedly sent him an email in which she apologized for not sending him “the promised information” from Strasbourg and listed the tasks she had completed in recent months. The email’s subject line reads “Report.”

While allegedly working with Gladey, Ždanoka arranged public hearings at the European Parliament dedicated to the Estonian government’s response to the protests in Tallinn that had followed the transfer of a memorial to Soviet soldiers from a busy intersection to a cemetery. She also launched a radio program in which she “warned” Russians in Latvia of the problems that could result from sending their children to Latvian-language schools.

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Additionally, according to The Insider, Ždanoka sent Gladey a draft plan in 2010 for promoting Russia’s patriotic Victory Day holiday in Latvia that included a request for $6,000 extra in E.U. funding for purchases such as St. George ribbons to distribute in Latvia.

The report says Ždanoka continued working with Gladey until 2013, when she was assigned to a new FSB “handler” named Sergey Krasin. She also allegedly worked with a third FSB agent named Artem Kureev, using her status as an MEP to help him obtain a visa to visit the European Parliament just weeks after Russia’s invasion of Crimea.

Ždanoka has not denied that the emails are genuine but told The Insider: “I cannot consider this text to be questions put to me because it is based on information that you supposedly have, which by definition, you should not have.”

Tatjana Ždanoka is the co-chair of the Latvian political party Latvian Russian Union (LRU) and has served in the European Parliament since 2004. In 2022, she voted against an E.U. resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine, prompting the European political party the European Free Alliance to suspend the LRU’s membership. According to the outlet Re:Baltica, due to legislation passed in Latvia in 2022, Ždanoka will be unable to run for reelection this year and will lose her parliamentary immunity.

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