A Russian military court on March 23 sentenced an officer serving in the country’s strategic missile forces to twelve years in prison for spying. Major Igor Dudnik was accused of having tried to sell secret information about Russia’s missile forces to the United States. Dudnik, who had been serving with a strategic missile group in Russia’s Orenburg region, reportedly hoped to receive $500,000 for the information. According to officials of Russia’s Federal Security Service, delivery of the information would have caused considerable damage to Russia’s rocket forces.
Russia’s intelligence establishment has repeatedly charged that foreign governments, including the United States, have stepped up their espionage activities in Russia. From reports of this case, however, it appeared that Dudnik may have been operating on his own. He reportedly hoped to contact Washington intelligence through school friends. It was unclear, however, whether he had ever actually made contact with the United States. (AP, Reuter, Itar-Tass, March 24)
Dudnik’s trial followed by only a few days the conviction of another Russian officer on espionage charges. On March 20, Russian sources reported that Lieutenant Colonel Vladimir Tkachenko had been sentenced to three years in prison for handing state secrets over to Israel’s Mossad intelligence service. A spokesman for Russia’s Federal Security Service linked that case to the expulsion in December 1995 of a counselor at the Israeli embassy in Moscow. Another Russian officer was convicted earlier when he was implicated in the same case. (Russian agencies, March 20)
Prison Transfer Postponed Till Fall.