The scandal with the arrest of Russian “spies” in the United States gathers like a snowball. It has been reported that two of 11 arrested spy suspects actively used social networks.
It turns out that Mikhail Semenko, one of the arrested “spies”, was an active user of a popular Russian website odnoklassniki.ru (classmates), where he uploaded his pictures. The young man has over 50 friends on his page and is a member of several groups, including the group for the graduates of the UN Model in the Far East (MUNRFE). He finished school and the Amur State University in Blagoveshchensk and then studied at the Harbin Polytechnic University.
Semenko’s US photos, which he posted on his personal page, show that the young man traveled a lot. He introduced himself on Odnoklassniki and on LinkedIn as a tourist business employee. He is fluent in Russian, English, Spanish and Chinese, RIA Novosti reports.
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The photos show the handsome man in Miami, Washington, with his girlfriend from Ecuador, with a blonde woman in Lower Manhattan, near the Mexican border and in Philadelphia.
US media said with reference to the FBI that Semenko used the following code phrases during his meetings with supposed agents: “Excuse me, have we met in California last summer?” or “Have we met in Beijing in 2004?”
Another spy suspect, Anna Chapman, 28, turns out to be a registered user of LinkedIn and Facebook. Her personal photo albums on Facebook produced a sensation for American tabloids which described many of her images as “sexy” photos.
"If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it,” her FB profile says. Champan has over 180 friends all over the world.
US media outlets said that Chapman, a divorced woman, was in charge of real estate online business evaluated at nearly $2 million.
Official spokespeople for Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that the Russian individuals, whom the USA charged with espionage, arrived in the United States at different times. The arrested individuals did not act against the USA, the officials said, and Russia hopes that the suspects will be allowed to contact consulate officials and lawyers.
“We hope that the United States will show proper understanding in this issue against the background of the positive character of the current stage of the development of US-Russian relations,” a statement from the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry said.
Russia ’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is currently visiting the Middle East, set out a hope that the US administration would release a public statement to explain the recent events. The exposed materials of the spy case do not specify what kind of intelligence information the arrested individuals were supposedly collecting and whether their activities damaged the US national security.
“The moment this was done was chosen with a certain grace,” Lavrov said Tuesday.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that President Obama had been informed about the events, but added that the White House could not interfere into the details of the investigation conducted by the ministry for Justice and the FBI.
Many experts in the USA and Russia urge everyone not to be overdramatic about the situation saying that the scandal between special services is not supposed to touch upon political interests of the two superpowers that approach each other as strategic partners in the field of global security.
Many Russian and US experts find the situation ridiculous. Some of them say that the scandal could be organized by those US politicians who believe that Obama has been too friendly towards Russia recently. Others say that it was just a show that US special services staged. The services supposedly decided to demonstrate some results of their work after a number of serious failures.