Russia could turn the court hearings of Estonian security service official Eston Kohver into a propaganda show, said Andrei Soldatov, a Russian intelligence service expert and editor with agentura.ru.
Soldatov told ETV on Monday that Kohver is a high-profile catch for FSB, the Russian federal security service: “It is an unusual tale. Russia and Estonia are giving out completely conflicting information. Only one thing is certain right now – Russia plans to draw attention to it,” he said.
He said the fact that the arrest and prosecution was given a green light by the Lefortov court in Moscow means the case will linger on for months, and the case is being handled straight from FSB headquarters.
Kohver was arrested, according to the FSB, on his way to meet a Russian contact. But only he was arrested, not the reported Russian citizen, meaning Kohver is the priority, That points to, Soldatov said, the resulting propagandistic bonanza as the motivation behind the incident and not actual intelligence reasons.
He said he does not believe FSB will exchange him for a Russian agent held in Estonia, such as Aleksei Dressen, who was sentenced in 2012 to 16 years for spying for Russia.
ERR has attempted to contact the FSB office in Moscow, but with no success.