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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Foreign Spies Expand Activity in Russia

Foreign intelligence agencies have intensified their espionage activity in Russia seeking to find out "true plans"of the Kremlin's policy-makers, the head of Russia's Federal Security Service, or FSB, said in an interview published Tuesday.

Nikolai Patrushev also said that the recent conviction for espionage of U.S. businessman Edmond Pope has demonstrated that Russia's counterintelligence officials intended to get tough on spies.

"Foreign spies-businessmen were feeling very comfortable in murky waters"after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Patrushev was quoted as saying by the daily Komsomolskaya Pravda. "A few pennies could buy know-how that had been created through the work of thousands of people."

"In the Pope case, Russia demonstrated that those times are over," he said. Patrushev's agency is the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB.

The interview was to be printed in Wednesday's issue of the newspaper and was made available on the paper's web site Tuesday.

Wednesday is Chekist's Day, a Soviet-era commemoration of the secret police. The name comes from the first Soviet secret police agency, the Cheka, whose agents were called Chekists.

Pope, 54, was sentenced to 20 years by a Moscow court in proceedings strongly criticized by the United States government, which said evidence of guilt was not presented. President Vladimir Putin pardoned Pope last week, citing the prisoner's poor health and the desire for good relations between Russia and the United States.

Patrushev said that foreign secret services "have made considerable efforts to expand their operative positions in Russia.

"One of their main goals is to determine the true plans of the new state authorities in Russia, regarding both domestic and foreign policy,"Patrushev said.