Latvian MEP Tatiana Zdanok might not be Europe's only Russian spy, claim colleagues
Reports this week revealed that 73-year-old Zdanok, a member of the European Parliament since 2004, has been allegedly operating as an agent for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) over several years. After the revelation, parliamentary authorities initiated an investigation into the matter.
"It's not an isolated case"
In the meantime, Politico received a letter in which three MEPs from Latvia - Sandra Kalniete from the European People's Party, Roberts Zīle from the European Conservatives and Reformists, and Ivars Ijabs from Renew Europe - express that the Zdanok episode is merely the tip of the iceberg.
"We are persuaded that Zdanok's situation isn't isolated," stated the Latvian politicians. They noted that it's enough to notice the "questionable interventions" of particular MEPs, their voting results, and the events they take part in, not to mention their behind-the-scenes activities.
The signatories of the letter also called for repercussions for the group in the European Parliament where Zdanok has been a member for almost 18 years.
"The Greens-European Free Alliance must accept some responsibility for lengthy collaboration, monetary backing, and sharing of information from Zdanok from July 2004 to March 2022," as stated in the letter.
Who is Tatiana Zdanok?
The revelation about the Latvian MEP's alleged collaboration with the FSB was made public on Monday by the Russian investigation service, The Insider. Zdanok denies these claims and refuses to acknowledge any guilt.
Born in Riga and of Russian descent, Tatiana Zdanok co-leads the Russian Union of Latvia party. In the 1980s, she advocated for Latvia's continuation within the USSR. Later, her political activities were endorsed by the Russian-speaking populace of this Baltic nation. Zdanok joined the European Parliament and the Greens - European Free Alliance faction in 2004.
Journalists from the independent Russian project, The Insider, along with Latvia's Re: Baltica, Estonia's Delfi and Sweden's "Expressen" newspaper, established that Zdanok had been under FSB supervision since at least 2004.
It is unclear whether Zdanok was enlisted prior to the USSR's dissolution, however, based on the correspondence acquired by the journalists, she was reportedly corresponding with a representative from the Russian services in 2005.
Source: PAP/The Insider/Politico