Russian intelligence uses Argentina to channel spies abroad

Russian intelligence is sending more spies, including illegal spies, through Argentina to other countries.

Moscow uses the fact that 177 countries can enter Argentina without a visa and the chance to become a citizen.

Lots of Russians will arrive in Argentina in February 2023 to give birth there. A child born in Argentina becomes its citizen, and his parents can also get passports. The men coming from Russia raise particular questions as they apply for Argentine citizenship after the women, who claim to be their wives, give birth to a child.

The child’s parents can get a 10-year US visa. This makes it possible, eventually, to get cover documents and use them to go to Europe for intelligence operations. And that scheme does not require them to stay in Argentina.

After the child is born, most Russians get the papers and leave the country. Russians come to Argentina, give birth to children, sign them up as Argentines, leave a power of attorney, go back, and do not return, migration agency head Florencia Carignano says. There’s a good chance that Russian intelligence is behind the agencies that provide for obtaining Argentine citizenship. In 2022 alone, 10,500 Russian women will have entered the country in late pregnancy. That makes it possible for Russian intelligence to get in, since its agents were exposed in a series of leaks last year.

On January 30, the police in Slovenia arrested two Russians with Argentinian passports who were accused of spying.

South America is mostly used by Russian military intelligence to organize the work of sleeper agents. It is unlikely that all people who came from Russia to Argentina to get a residence permit are involved in intelligence. About 2%, however, are likely to be involved. Russian social media have started a campaign to get people to move to Argentina so that this Russian intelligence channel doesn’t stand out.

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