The Russian Foreign Ministry has contacted Interpol in connection with former Russian presidential administration employee Oleg Smolenkov showing up in the US. Recently there have been reports in the media that the former Russian diplomat was actually a CIA agent who was exfiltrated to the US for his own safety. In Russia, he was considered missing.
“A Russian citizen disappeared in a foreign country along with his family. On this matter, as far as we know, a criminal case was immediately initiated,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova, “Two years later, the American mass media published an article claiming that he’s in the US.”
According to her, the reports that the Russian official has been discovered must be verified.
Smolenkov’s name was mentioned recently in reports that the CIA had recruited a high-ranking Russian official. According to the media reports, over several decades, the mole established a career in the Russian Foreign Ministry and Presidential Administration, but in 2017 he was exfiltrated from Russia through Montenegro due to fear that his cover had been blown.
According to the Vedomosti news agency, Smolenkov worked for at least five years in the same office as Putin’s foreign policy advisor Yuri Ushakov. He also worked in the Russian embassy in the US and in the Russian government apparatus. He was awarded the Russian rank of 3rd class active government advisor, which is equivalent to the rank of major general.
In June 2018, Smolenkov and his wife bought a house in Stafford, Virginia. The 760 square meter house was valued at $925,000, and is located in an area that is largely owned by FBI staff and army veterans, according to a Radio Liberty correspondent.
After the recent media reports drew attention to him, Smolenkov left his house in an unknown direction.
Zakharova was the first Russian official to officially address Smolenkov’s possible collaboration with the CIA. She called the reports “classic propaganda” ahead of US presidential elections.
The CIA said that the reports of an agent being exfiltrated from Russia are “inaccurate”. US President Donald Trump said that he is satisfied with the agency’s response. The Russian Security Service (FSB) has not yet commented on the reports.
Smolenkov’s ex-wife confirmed to RTVi that the former Russian official is living in the US with his family.