Russian academic jailed for 6 years in Estonia for espionage

Vyacheslav Morozov. Photo: University of Tartu / Facebook

Vyacheslav Morozov. Photo: University of Tartu / Facebook

A Russian former professor at the University of Tartu, was sentenced to six years and three months in prison by a court in Tallinn on Tuesday for “activities against Estonia on behalf of foreign intelligence”, Estonian public broadcaster ERR News has reported.

Vyacheslav Morozov, a Russian citizen living in Estonia since 2010, was detained on 3 January on suspicion of carrying out espionage activities for Russia. According to his indictment, Morozov regularly travelled to Russia to share information he had gathered about Estonian politics and Tallinn’s relationship to the European Union with Russian intelligence officers.

Specialising in European Union and Russian studies, Morozov was professor of international political theory at the University of Tartu until he resigned a week after his arrest. Prior to that, Morozov worked at St. Petersburg State University for 13 years.

Morozov’s arrest shocked Estonia’s academic community, and led some Russian academics to speak out in his support, arguing that as he would never have willingly aided the Russian intelligence services, blackmail must have been involved. Others have rejected the charges completely, citing Morozov’s academic writing which is highly critical of the Kremlin.

While the University of Tartu’s rector Toomas Asser publicly condemned “any action that could endanger the security of our country”, the director of the university’s Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies, Kristiin Tönnisson, told Novaya Europe that considering the university’s close proximity to Russia, it was hardly surprising that the university’s staff had been infiltrated.

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