FSB spies meeting celebrities, sharing wholesome family images, and anti-Ukraine propaganda: analysis of the leaked list of 620 Russian agents
THE smiling woman leaning in towards Tom Felton looks like any other diehard “Potterhead.”
But what the 34-year-old actor didn’t know was that the “Harry Potter fan” he has his arm around is purported to be a FSB spy who goes under a number of names and cover legends.
Felton, who made his name as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter film franchise, was appearing at the Bubble Comic Con pop culture festival in Moscow last December.
According to a leaked list of 620 agents working for the Russian Federal Security Service, Olga Maksimilianovkna Kostenko aka Olya Koo aka Olga King is a Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) employee tasked with gathering Kompromat and engaging in so-called honey trap operations.
Retired British Army Colonel Philip Ingram, a former spy catcher who worked at NATO for eight years, wasn’t surprised to hear that many of those on the Ukrainian spy list have social media profiles.
He said: “It is all about operating in plain sight now. You don’t find Russian spies operating in the shadows anymore, as we saw from the one unmasked targeting NATO staff for honey traps in Naples recently.
“The other sea change is that whereas you had the so-called illegals who flooded into America in the 80s and 90s looking like dowdy housewives, their modern equivalents are very glamorous to catch the eye much as you see influencers do on social media.
“But at the end of the day it still goes back to the Mata Hari principle of detecting male vulnerabilities and then fully exploiting them.”
Olga or Olya certainly knows how to stand out from the crowd with scores of pictures of her carrying Prada handbags and designer clothes emblazoned across Instagram, Facebook, and the Russian social media website VK. The only close to her work for the FSB is that her name and date of birth on one social network matches that of the entry on the leaked spy list.
Another alleged FSB employee from the list who wouldn’t look out of place on a catwalk was Olga Alexandrovna Myalyna, who looked anything but her 44 years.
And according to the leaked spy list, Catherine Sergeevna Leonova and Mikhail Leonov are one of a number of husband and wife FSB agents. He does not appear on social media, but she is on several sites.
According to Colonel Ingram it is “inconceivable” that the purported spies would be on social media without the consent of their superiors, and that this would only be given if it was fulfilling some ulterior purpose.
He added: “Some of the content you might see from the agents will be very wholesome, perhaps giving off the message that the FSB is a lovely organisation to work for.
“But there will also be an element of cover legends being posted online to support honey traps and also push through Putinesque propaganda.”
Ekaterina Yanyutina, pictured, is named on the leaked spy list. And upon deeper analysis, NSN has established that her husband is Anton Nikolaevich Zhirnov, who appears to be an FSB employee; more specifically, he is the Deputy Head of the Human Resources Department of the FSB for the Kamchatka territory.
Browsing through the social media pages of the other individuals on the list, NSN saw an abundance of wholesome images of the alleged FSB agents with their children and families.
NSN also discovered that many of the family members of FSB employees identified on the list can be seen posting more on social media. Much of the content consists of pro-Russian, pro-Soviet Union, and pro-military posts, including content posted in support of Russian action in Ukraine.
Above is the St. George ribbon, a symbol that has been common among discovered profiles, is a former Soviet military medal, now a sign of pro-Russia sentiment. This year Moldova, Lithuania, and Ukraine banned the pro-Russian ribbon, along with other Soviet symbols and communist-era propaganda, in response to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
Veronyka Ivanovna Chumacheva, appearing as number 585 on the list of the 620 names, is pictured with her family, including her father, Ivan Chumachev, a commander of Russian Military Unit 2440, which is owned by the FSB. Veronyka, who has posted under the alias “Nika Love”, shows an interest in the military, having reposted several posts from a military social media page.
Among posts of her graduation and pictures of her family, Veronyka shared an image in March 2014, at a time when Russia had invaded the Crimean Peninsula to subsequently annex it from Ukraine.
In this image, the Russian symbol of a bear is displayed as supposedly protecting a Ukrainian bear cub against the bald eagle: the symbol of the US. This imagery presents Ukraine as Russia’s sphere of influence, ignoring the fact that Ukraine is an independent state with the right to determine who their allies are.
Entry number 539 is a Maya Feoktistova who is identified as the wife of Sergey Feoktistov, an officer of the FSB. On her social media, she uses the names Maria Feoktistova and Maria AvtoMoto, and her posts include cars, such as military vehicles, and commentary on Russian society, criticisms of “tolerance”, homosexuality, and the positive influence of Russia on Eastern Europe.
In July of this year, Maya shared a pro-Donbass Republic and Novorossiya song. Novorossiya, meaning New Russia, has historically referred to a large region of present-day Southern Ukraine, after the Russians annexed it from the Ottomans in the 18th century. Today, it is used as an ideological concept behind Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Like their father, the two sisters have both been listed in association with the Moscow, ul. Bolshaya Lubyanka address, which refers to the location and name of the building that houses the headquarters of the FSB.
Although both Marina and Tatiana have attempted to conceal their publicly available images and limit their visible posts, we can see their father in December 2021 articles being congratulated by Anatoly Bibilov, President of South Ossetia at the time, for protecting the state border.