Official Charged with Betrayal Flees Russia

By Daria Carmon

In the wake of the exposure of a Russian spy ring in the U.S, Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has begun a campaign against the man who is supposedly responsible for the failure. Aleksandr Poteyev, a former Russian intelligence officer, has been accused in Moscow of betraying the spy ring and faces up to 20 years in prison. That is, if he is ever caught. A spokesman from Russia’s Federal Security Service confirmed that Poteyev had been charged in absentia with treason and desertion.

Right before the spy ring was exposed and members arrested, Poteyev allegedly disappeared into the United States, fleeing Russia through Belarus. He had been directing spy operations as deputy head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service’s American division, overseeing at least 10 agents working deep under cover in the U.S. Other than this, little else is known about the former officer. It is believed that he was recruited by the CIA as a double agent while stationed for an assignment in New York in the early 1990’s. His wife became an American resident several years ago and his children moved to the United States several months before his departure from the Foreign Intelligence Service. It is still unclear what will happen to him – all that can be said for sure is that he will be tried in absentia in a Moscow military court and the hearings will be classified.

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