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Estonia Arrests Russian University Professor Suspected of Spying for Moscow

Viacheslav Morozov. University of Tartu

Estonian police have arrested a Russian university professor who is suspected of spying on behalf of Moscow, media in the Baltic country reported Tuesday, citing law enforcement officials. 

Vyacheslav Morozov, who until recently was Professor in International Political Theory at the University of Tartu, was arrested by the Estonian Internal Security Service (ISS) on Jan. 3 and has been held in detention since then, the Postimees daily reported.

"This recent case [of Morozov's arrest] follows a few dozen others and illustrates Russian intelligence agencies' desire to infiltrate different walks of life in Estonia, including academia," Margo Palloson, who heads the ISS, was quoted as saying by the outlet.   

Law enforcement authorities launched a criminal investigation into the academic and an Estonia court ruled to have him held in police custody for up to two months. 

Kristiina Tonnisson, who heads the University of Tartu’s Institute of Political Studies, informed alumni in a letter that Morozov was fired following the investigation announcement, according to Estonian public broadcaster ERR.

"We confirm that we have had no grounds to question Vyacheslav Morozov's earlier work, but in the light of new knowledge, it is important to critically review it," Tonnisson was quoted as saying.

"Our trust has been seriously abused," she added without specifying the nature of the accusations against Morozov.

A colleague of Morozov's told The Moscow Times that the news of his arrest "came out of the blue." 

On his personal Facebook page, Morozov has recently shared information about anti-war events organized by Russians living in Tallinn, as well as his own research about civil society and political repression in Russia. 

Before teaching in Estonia, Morozov had worked at St. Petersburg State University for over a decade.

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