European Parliament launches probe into Latvian MEP’s alleged Russia ties

The European Parliament has begun an internal investigation into the alleged connections between Latvian MEP Tatjana Ždanoka and Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Tuesday.

According to leaked emails seen by independent media outlet The Insider, Ždanoka appears to have maintained regular correspondence with FSB officers since at least 2004, the publication revealed on Monday.

Roberta Metsola, president of the European Parliament, told DW that she took “the allegations against Ždanoka very seriously”.

From 2005 to 2013, Ždanoka’s FSB contact was Dmitry Gladey, a Russian security officer based in St. Petersburg. Gladey and Ždanoka met regularly in both Moscow and Europe, and Ždanoka informed Gladey over email about hearings in the European Parliament as well as radio broadcasts, exhibitions, and conferences that promoted pro-Russian narratives.

Tatjana Ždanoka. Photo: Social media

Tatjana Ždanoka. Photo: Social media

After 2013, Ždanoka began to correspond instead with “Sergey Krasin”, whom The Insider has identified as St. Petersburg FSB officer Sergey Beltukov.

Ždanoka may face sanctions if the European Parliament’s Advisory Committee on the Conduct of Members deems her guilty of violating its code of conduct. However, the committee cannot remove her from office as each country’s authorities are in charge of appointing or removing their deputies.

According to calculations done by Novaya Gazeta Europe, Ždanoka’s voting record makes her one of the most pro-Putin members of the European Parliament. She supported only two out of 20 anti-Russian resolutions and publicly backed the Russian annexation of Crimea. She is also a member of the Russian Union of Latvia, a political party that “defends the interests of the Russian cultural and linguistic community in Latvia”.

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