On the morning of Tuesday, November 22, in the suburbs of Stockholm, Swedish special forces arrested a Russian married couple, Sergei Nikolaevich Skvortsov (born July 28, 1963) and Elena Mikhailovna Kulkova (born May 22, 1964), on charges of espionage, and searches were conducted in their house. Kulkova was released from custody on Thursday (although she is still suspected of being an accomplice). The "spouses" moved to Sweden in 1999 and, according to local authorities, Skvortsov has been spying against the United States since 2013 and spying against Sweden since 2014.
As The Insider and Bellingcat found out, Skvortsov and Kulkova lived in Moscow at 36 Zorge Street, next door to one of the three Skripal poisoners, Grushnik Denis Sergeyev (aka Sergey Fedotov). Sergeev lived in apartment 288, and Skvortsov and Kulkova lived two floors below in apartment 282. According to The Insider, they received an apartment in October 1999, that is, immediately before leaving for Sweden.
Exactly in the same house, judging by the billings at the disposal of The Insider and Bellingcat, both General Averyanov (the head of the same military unit of the GRU 29155, which included the poisoners Mishkin and Chepiga, known as Petrov and Boshirov), and General Ilchenko, repeatedly visited responsible , among other things, for disinformation operations, including with the Bonanza project, through which fakes about the downed Malaysian Boeing were thrown.
Counterparty - agent
For several years, Skvortsov’s Building and Data Technologies company’s only counterparty was a single firm called European Technical Trading, and Skvortsov regularly received payments of exactly the same size from it, although the nature of these transactions was not clear. The Swedish authorities suspect that the transactions were fictitious and, in fact, money was pumped through them from Holland to Sweden. The Dutch company was run by Hans de Geetere, a Belgian whose companies had previously been hit by US sanctions for trying to resell American technology used in missiles and aircraft to China.
But that's not all: both Hans de Geytere and Skvortsov himself had close ties with Vladimir Kulemekov, who not only does not hide his GRU past, but is even proud of it. Here, for example, is an excerpt where he recalls his adventures in military intelligence:
And here is Kulemekov's comment under the photo of Hans de Geytere, from which it is clear that they have known each other for a long time.
But most importantly, Skvortsov worked as an executive director at InstrumentElectronics i Stockholm AB, owned by Kulemekov:
Kulmenkov - had behind him the experience of espionage in the United States. During a Senate hearing in 1983, one of the senators asked for a list of all Soviet diplomats who had been expelled from all over the world for espionage between 1974 and 1983. The list also includes Kulemekov's name.
The introduction of the daughter and the source in Must
Elena Kulkova’s daughter, Anna Vladimirovna Run, also lived in the same apartment on Sorge Street (her middle name, by the way, raises the question of whether Skvortsov and Kulkova were a real couple at all, or was it all a legend). This apartment was also re-registered for Anna in 2015, although by that time she had already lived permanently in Sweden for a long time, and most of her acquaintances had no idea about her Russian origin.
In 2013, Anna's boyfriend became the ex-head of one of their Must hotels, Swedish military intelligence (his name is known to The Insider and Bellingcat), and since 2015 they began to live together. Interestingly, Anna was not detained, although of all the Russians, she seemed to have the best chance of obtaining classified information.
It was not possible to find Anna in the Russian databases, her full name is only in the Rosreestr database as a co-owner of the apartment. Perhaps this is due to the fact that she went to Sweden as a child and did not receive a Russian passport.
It is noteworthy that just a week before the arrest of Skvortsov and Kulkova in Sweden, it became known about the arrest of Swedish citizens of Iranian origin - 42-year-old Peiman Kia and 35-year-old Payam Kia. The brothers were charged with espionage with aggravated circumstances, and one of them is also charged with dishonest handling of classified information, they face life imprisonment.
According to the indictment, the brothers “jointly” passed information to the GRU between September 28, 2011 and September 20, 2021. Previously, Peyman worked in Must intelligence, and then moved to customs. The espionage dates back to his time in Must, where, according to the Swedish media, he worked in the unit in charge of Swedish military intelligence abroad. The younger brother, Payam, worked in the Swedish state security service - SEPO.
It has not yet been reported through whom exactly the brothers passed information to the GRU, however, the chronology of detentions indicates that this case may be related to the arrest of Skvortsov and Kulkova.