The wife of Frode Berg, Anita, has launched an appeal for his release. As regular readers of Spying Today will know, Frode Berg was a Norwegian pensioner who was caught by the FSB trying to contact agents in Russian on behalf of the Norwegian military intelligence service. In April, he was sentenced to fourteen years in prison. He has admitted his offence and it was expected that, in view of his age and the need for good relations with a near neighbour, Russia would agree to his early release, perhaps by way of Presidential pardon. This has not happened and now Anita is trying to bring his case to public attention once more. She is openly criticising Norway’s intelligence service for exposing Frode to such risks and then abandoning him.
Two Russian sources who have spoken to Spying Today admit that they are puzzled as to the reason why the implied release has been postponed. However, it appears to be one of several projects that have been affected. A German source says that a similar project has suddenly been halted and that members of the BfV are “nervous” about the reasons why. Russia’s attitude appears to be quite suddenly hardening to issues of co-operation. One theory – and it is no more than that at present – is that Russia is storing up “bargaining chips” to weigh against some aggressive development on the border either in the Baltic or the Ukraine.
The problem with a kleptocracy such as Russia is that policy can change on the whim of one of just a few individuals at the top. For some reason this is what seems to have happened here. Berg becomes yet another “citizen agent” to pay a steep price for involvement in the world of espionage.