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29th Feb 2024

Details of expelled Russians spies in The Hague revealed

  • Russian embassy in The Hague: the Villa Totila, formerly owned by British collector and art patron Wilhelm Volz (Photo: Dossier Center)
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Dutch and Belgian journalists, working with the Dossier Center, an NGO in London, have revealed the identities of 17 more Russian diplomats expelled from the EU in April on grounds of espionage.

The group of 17 came from Russia's embassy in The Hague as well as its mission at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in the Dutch capital.

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  • Nadezhda Matveev published a poem about leaving the Netherlands (Photo: Dossier Center)

It includes Andrei Vedeneev, a third secretary at the Russian embassy, who was likely an FSB domestic intelligence service officer, Dossier Centre said, and who was trained in electronic warfare.

It also includes trade attaché Mikhail Milashuk, a suspected GRU military intelligence officer, who also trained in radioelectronics.

Another expelled trade attaché and suspected GRU man, Dmitry Pichugin, used to be a senior policeman in Moscow, where he was said to have helped solve 60 murders and to find over 3,000 missing people, including children.

Ejected trade attaché Boris Mokrov was a former rocket scientist.

Expelled OPCW mission first secretary Ivan Lykov had studied at the Kirov Military Medical Academy in Russia and once wrote a thesis on the mental health of naval officers.

Two other Russian 'diplomats' worked for the SVR foreign intelligence service, and one of them handled counter-espionage — detecting Western spies in Russia's own ranks in The Hague.

Three military attachés who were also booted out by Dutch authorities were GRU officers, one of whom, Alexei Druzhin, specialised in protection of classified information.

The exposures were first published by Dutch public television channel NOS and Belgian newspaper De Tijd on Thursday (13 October).

Several of the expelled men were highly active on social media despite the sensitivity of their roles, helping Dossier Center to find photos and traces of their personal lives.

The 18 suspected spies were part of a wave of more than 400 expulsions across Europe in reaction to a Russian massacre in Bucha, Ukraine, in April.

EUobserver and Dossier Center previously revealed the names and biographies of 48 suspected spies expelled from Belgium.

The revelations mean they are unlikely to return to high-level overseas espionage missions in future.

One Russian spy ejected by Lithuania, Fyodor Naumkin, a third secretary at the Russian embassy in Vilnius and a GRU major, was subsequently posted to Abkhazia (a Russia-occupied region in Georgia), for instance.

Meanwhile, Dossier Center's research threw up some curious anecdotes.

One of those expelled from The Hague, third secretary and suspected SVR officer Roman Nefedov, had a distinguished father, for example.

Nefedov Sr. was a Russian diplomatic courier in Brazil whose van was once attacked by armed bandits while travelling from the airport to Rio de Janeiro in 2006. He was robbed of his private possessions but escaped with the classified files he was carrying and earned a Medal for Valour.

Dmitry Barabin, a second secretary in The Hague who was expelled in April, got married in the prestigious Beluga restaurant in Moscow, which has a view of the Kremlin, and gave his wife a suitcase full of bundles of US dollars as a wedding gift, Dossier Center's sources said.

The Dutch also kicked out Maxim Matveev, an attaché at the Russian embassy, whose wife, Nadezhda, wrote poetry under the pen name Eva Matvev.

And one month and a half after her husband and she left The Hague she published a poem, entitled Moves, which seemed to speak of how it feels to become persona non grata:

"Moves

Planes, suitcases —

Little meaning, much drama.


Pity, but will not change life:

change of places and faces.


Moves, turns

from Saturday to Saturday.

No matter how you hurry forward,

you can't escape from yourself".

This story was altered at 12.15PM on Sunday 16 October 2022 to say that just 17 Russian diplomats were expelled from The Hague. The original article had said 18 were expelled, but one of those concerned was blocked from coming to The Netherlands to start work, rather than being subsequently kicked out.

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