German Arrests Raise Questions About Russian Spy Strategies

In an apparent throwback to the Cold War era, Germany recently arrested a married couple suspected of acting as a sleeper cell on behalf of Russian intelligence.

The news flew mainly below the radar of the English-language media, and it remains to be seen how German-Russian relations may be affected. But the arrests mark the first time since the fall of the Berlin Wall that suspected Russian spies have been arrested on German soil. For Ben Judah, a London-based policy fellow and Russia specialist with the European Council on Foreign Relations, that highlights an evolving challenge facing the Russian intelligence apparatus.

“The intelligence agencies in Russia are big, bloated and not fully reformed,” says Judah, who told Trend Lines on Thursday that a significant amount of activities conducted by the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) -- the KGB’s successor agency for foreign operations -- continue to be based on a Soviet model.

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