Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 227

Russian authorities intend today to press espionage charges against Richard L. Bliss, an American technician who was arrested in Russia on November 25 (see Monitor, December 2), a spokesman for the Federal Security Service said yesterday. Bliss is an employee of the San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., a maker of wireless communications which in October announced the launching of a $5.8 million wireless network in Russia’s southern Rostov region. Bliss, charged with using satellite receivers illegally brought into Russia in order to gather sensitive information, could face from 10-20 years in prison on the espionage charge. However, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said yesterday that Russia does not want to sour relations with the U.S. over the Bliss case. That statement, together with other hints from Russian sources, suggests that the 27-year-old Bliss may ultimately be charged only with bringing illegal contraband into Russia (the satellite receivers) rather than with espionage. Bliss’s Russian lawyer said yesterday that, under the terms of the contract between Qualcomm and a Russian partner, Elektrosvyaz, it was the Russian firm’s responsibility to procure the necessary licenses for the satellite receivers. (Reuter, UPI, Russian agencies, December 4)

Lukashenka Proposes Permanent Supervisory Organ.