Latvia Accuses EU Parliamentarian Of Spying For Russia

Tatjana Zdanoka, 73, is a Latvian legislator and citizen who is believed to have collaborated with Russian intelligence and security agencies. The Latvian national security service, VDD, has begun criminal investigations against her. 

After news outlets in Russia, the Nordic countries, and the Baltic states reported in January that Zdanoka had been an operative for the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) since 2004 or earlier, the security agency began looking into her possible links to Russia and nefarious spying.

Latvian news agency LETA reports that on February 22, the country’s security service decided to initiate criminal proceedings against Zdanoka. She has refuted all of the accusations against Zdanoka.

Strasbourg, France, is home to the European Union’s legislative body, which has stated that it treats the accusations seriously.

Several emails allegedly showing Zdanoka’s interactions with her handler were published on January 29th by various news sources.

Reportedly, Zdanoka has been promoting a pro-Kremlin stance and circulating propaganda and falsehoods over purported human rights violations of Russians residing in Baltic nations, according to Expressen. Reports further stated that she has not denounced Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

A lifelong supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggressive policies, Zdanoka was an outspoken advocate for Putin’s unlawful 2014 annexation of Crimea and his 2022 invasion of neighboring Ukraine. She was born in Riga to Soviet naval officer parents and is a member of the Latvian Russian Union (LRU) party.

A substantial ethnic Russian minority of around 25% lives in the Baltic countries of Estonia and the 1.9 million people who call it home in Latvia. Each nation was a republic during the Soviet era.

Moscow has long accused Estonia and Latvia of targeting and oppressing their Russian-speaking minorities in an attempt to silence them.

The European Parliament website features Zdanoka’s CV, which states that she has been the head of the voluntary group known as the EU Russian-Speakers’ Alliance since 2007. The European Parliament initially elected her in 2004.