A man suspected of being a Russian spy was arrested in Norway last Friday; reports The Guardian. He pretended to be a Brazilian who had worked for years in Canadian universities, where he would have specialized in subjects related to securing the Arctic; relays Slate.
He was employed as a researcher at the University of Tromsø (Norway) when he was arrested for having lied about the reasons for his arrival in the country. This Friday, the public prosecutor revealed the name of the alleged spy. According to him, Norwegian intelligence was not “completely sure of his identity” but was “rather certain that he is not Brazilian”.
Build a legend
Learning of the suspect’s arrest, a journalist from the independent investigative site Bellingcat said on his Twitter account: “Bingo! […] Well done Norway, you caught a colonel from the GRU,” the Russian military intelligence agency. According to the first elements collected, the man would have spent several years in Canada to build a legend, that is to say a false story.
He obtained a degree in political science at the University of Ottawa, campaigned for the New Democratic Party of Canada (NDP) in favor of a candidate in a federal election and then obtained a master’s degree in strategic studies. In 2019, he published an article in a specialized journal about Canada’s construction of a permanent naval base on its Arctic territory.
Canada, like other North American countries, is one of the countries favored by spies to build a legend. In question ? The absence of a national register of births and deaths, which facilitates the borrowing or creation of identity. “The main thing, when you create a ‘legend’, is not to stand out at all,” according to an international relations professor quoted by Slate. “You want to look boring and ordinary, and Canada is ideal for that. »
I, Ronald Payne, am a journalist and author who dedicated his life to telling the stories that need to be said. I have over 7 years of experience as a reporter and editor, covering everything from politics to business to crime.