Spymania in Russia: 12 years for old maps


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A Moscow court has sentenced a retired military colonel from the military-technical department of the Central Military Headquarters, Vladimir Lazar, to 12 years imprisonment in a high-security penal colony.  He was convicted of spying for the USA.

The investigators claim that he passed an alleged American intelligence agent classified topographical maps.  These could supposedly be used for planning military operations against Russia.

This is the latest of a number of such spy cases. Huffington Post writes  that in May a court in the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg handed an eight-year prison sentence to Alexander Gniteyev, a defense company worker accused of passing information about Russia's latest missile, the Bulava, to a foreign intelligence agency.

And in February, Lt. Col. Vladimir Nesterets, who oversaw missile tests at the Plesetsk Launchpad in northern Russia, was convicted on charges of providing the CIA with secret information on new missiles and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

The series of spy trials come as U.S.-Russian relations have soured over U.S.-led NATO missile defense plans for Europe, which Moscow sees as a potential threat to its nuclear forces, and other disputes.

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