Renowned Russian Professor Detained on Espionage Charges: Academia Stunned

Written by Henrik Rothen

Jan.19 - 2024 10:24 AM CET

Photo: University of Tartu
Photo: University of Tartu
Renowned Russian Professor Detained on Espionage Charges.

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The academic community in Uppsala, Sweden, is reeling from the shocking news of a respected colleague’s arrest on espionage charges. Viacheslav Morozov, a Russian professor with strong ties to both Uppsala University and the University of Tartu in Estonia, was detained in Estonia earlier in January, as reported by Expressen.

Morozov, known for his critical stance on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his work on the Ukraine conflict, has now been accused by Estonian security police of being a spy. The Guardian reports that Morozov allegedly reported back to Russia regularly during his trips.

His arrest has sent shockwaves through the academic circles in Sweden and Estonia. Stefan Hedlund, a senior professor at Uppsala University, expressed his disbelief to Expressen, having regarded Morozov as a friendly and respected researcher.

Similarly, the University of Tartu is grappling with the news. Kristiina Tõnnisson, the head of political studies, expressed in a press release the university’s shock and betrayal, noting the need for a critical review of Morozov’s past work.

The Estonian University has severed all ties with Morozov, who had been a part of the institution since 2010. The full extent of the potential damage from his alleged espionage activities remains uncertain.

Margo Polloson, head of the Estonian security service, emphasized the significant interest of Russian intelligence in Estonia, including efforts to infiltrate various societal sectors, notably academia. This case follows several others, highlighting the Kremlin's espionage ambitions in Estonia, particularly in academic circles.