Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FSB Denies Yabloko Spy Allegations

ST. PETERSBURG -- The head of the Federal Security Services has denied his agents were engaged in spying on the Yabloko party or its leader Grigory Yavlinsky.

But in yet another twist in the case of Dmitry Barkovsky f the Baltic State Technical University student who says Patrushev's FSB agents told him he could spy on Yabloko or get sent to Chechnya f a top St. Petersburg FSB official says Barkovsky was indeed approached for recruitment.

Patrushev's comments came in a July 13 letter responding to allegations from Yavlinsky and Yabloko that the FSB was spying on them.

"No investigative action in relation to the Yabloko party, you personally, other leaders of the party or [Dmitry] Barkovsky have been conducted or are being conducted," Patrushev wrote to Yavlinsky.

"This is exactly the reply we were expecting," said Boris Vishnevsky, a spokesman for the Yabloko faction in St. Petersburg. "It was obvious that the FSB would never admit to having tried to recruit Barkovsky."

Patrushev's remarks were contradicted by an interview published in Vash Tainy Sovietnik f a monthly newspaper published by St. Petersburg's Agency for Investigative Journalism f with Andrew Lipatov, head of the St. Petersburg FSB's anti-terrorism department.

"The reason for approaching Barkovsky had nothing to do with Yabloko, as written in many newspapers," Lipatov was quoted as saying, "but was connected with an organization [called] Gamayun. We have reason to believe Gamayun, like the Russian National Unity, is an extremist organization and that Barkovsky is connected to its leaders."

Gamayun was set up in the mid-'90s by Georgy Glagovsky, a politician who has worked with various liberal parties, said Yury Vdovin of the St. Petersburg human rights group Citizens' Watch.

Lipatov is quoted as saying that while the FSB had tried to recruit Barkovsky, it never threatened him. "We [prefer] voluntary cooperation, when someone wants to help law enforcement," Lipatov said.