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Wiretapping data delivered to Moscow: Serbian government spied on Kremlin critics?

Interception data delivered to Moscow
Serbian government spied on Kremlin critics?

Independent journalists are making serious allegations against the Serbian government: the Interior Ministry is said to have spied on Russian Kremlin critics in Belgrade and delivered the wiretapping protocols to Moscow. The head of “Open Russia” was then arrested and is in custody.

According to a media report, the Serbian Ministry of the Interior shadowed and spied on Russian opposition figures in Belgrade last year. Serbian Interior Minister Aleksandar Vulin then traveled to Moscow and personally handed over the transcripts of the wiretapped conversations to Russian Security Council chief Nikolai Patrushev, the opposition Belgrade news portal “nova.rs” reported. The portal became aware of this process and the content of the conversation between Vulin and Patrushev, the website said. Specifically, it was about a meeting of activists of the Kremlin-critical organization “Open Russia” in May last year in a Belgrade hotel.

Among the participants was the head of the organization, Andrei Pivovarov. He was arrested by Russian authorities two weeks after the meeting at St. Petersburg airport. He has been in custody since then. The public prosecutor accuses the 40-year-old of leading an “undesirable organization”.

Continuous shadowing in Belgrade

Participants in the meeting had confirmed to “nova.rs” that they had noticed that they had been constantly followed during their stay in Belgrade. According to the portal, Vulin, in turn, is said to have assured his Russian interlocutor in Moscow that he knew that “Open Russia” was acting “against Russian interests”. “Fighting against color revolutions is extremely important for Serbia,” he reportedly added. “Color revolutions” are coups in former Soviet republics, through which – as in Ukraine in 2014 – pro-Kremlin governments lose power. Under authoritarian President Aleksandar Vucic, Serbia has positioned itself as pro-Russian.

Britain recently accused the Kremlin of wanting to install a Russian-controlled puppet government in Ukraine. “We have information that suggests the Russian government is attempting to establish a pro-Russian leadership in Kyiv while it considers invading and occupying Ukraine,” the government said in a statement on Saturday night British Foreign Office.

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