Georgia has released a film about a recently-detained alleged Russian spy network, which the Kremlin has called a political farce.
The film is the Georgian version of the last month’s arrest of 15 people accused of being Russian spies.
In reality, however, the only evidence Tblisi has given to relatives is the apparent confession of one of those arrested. But this super agent is actually a Georgian spy, says his former chief at the Georgian intelligence.
“I personally enrolled him,” David Bakuridze, a former Georgian state security officer, told RT. “He was my agent from 1992-94. After the Rose Revolution, he was recruited to work for Georgian intelligence. Also, his brother runs the security service of the whole Republic of Adzharia. I assert it officially: this man is a Georgian agent!"
Ruslan Skrylnikov has no taste for spy thrillers, but this one caught his eye: one of the supposed spies appears to be his father.
“In May this year, my dad went to Georgia to visit relatives. On the border he was thoroughly interrogated about where he was going to stay. They photographed him and took away sweets he was carrying to his nephews. Two days later he was arrested. He never contacted us afterwards. We found out about his arrest by chance, and were shocked,” Ruslan says.
Six months ago, the 63-year-old was detained for crossing the border with a fake ID and trying to sell counterfeit dollars, which landed him 18 years in jail.
Now Skrylnikov is being accused of spying for Russia, but his family says espionage is beyond the capability of the ailing pensioner, who could not even send a text message from his cell-phone, let alone use the Internet.
Relatives are now appealing against the charges, and hope that their high-level lobbying of NATO and European countries will get them justice.
Fighting their corner is SOS Russia human rights group, which says it is the first time they have dealt with such a gross violation of human rights.
“This is a sanctioned provocation, a political action,” said Anton Samoylenkov of SOS Russia.
“It’s aimed to discredit Russia before the upcoming Russia-NATO summit and the OSCE meeting. Saakashvili wants to attract attention to himself and his super Secret Services. But we want to tell him ‘You can’t treat old men just like this. They are innocent. You can’t jail them just because they’re Russians!’”