Video length: 3 min
When the Russian secret services seek to recruit French moles
A documentary reveals how a Russian spy tried in 2013 to make a young French journalist an intelligence source for the GRU, the Russian military intelligence service. – (Magneto Press)
In the documentary “France, nest of spies”, broadcast Sunday on France 5, director Nicolas de Labareyre focuses on the actions of foreign agents on French soil.
Would France be the ideal playground for foreign secret services? In a context of major geopolitical crisis with Russia and economic war with China, France seems to be a target of choice for the intelligence services, as demonstrated the documentary France, nest of spiesbroadcast Sunday February 11 at 9:05 p.m. on France 5.
All circles are concerned: politics, army, journalism, science, industry… From Biarritz to Nantes, from Paris to Haute-Savoie, director Nicolas de Labareyre travels the territory where spies, of all origins, work in complete discretion. Their objectives: steal sensitive data, organize targeted assassinations, interfere in our political life or even recruit “moles”.
In search of sources
This is what happened in 2013 to Romain Mielcarek. This independent journalist, aged 26 at the time, a reservist in the army, belongs to a collective of bloggers and writes articles on military issues for various newspapers. He was approached in 2013 by a supposed Russian diplomat. “Sergei Solomasov explains to me that he is a diplomat, he has just arrived at the Russian embassy and he is looking to meet people, to create the beginnings of a network in Paris.he remembers.
Romain Mielcarek is not surprised by this meeting. It is then common for journalists to be in contact with members of foreign embassies. A few weeks later, the two men meet again.
“He will start asking specific questions about my income levels, about where I live, about my family relationships. (…) He will try to start to identify what my weaknesses might be.”Romain Mielcarek, independent journalist
in the documentary “France, nest of spies”
Very quickly, the journalist was contacted by a member of the DGeneral Directorate of Internal Security (DGSI) which informs him that in reality, Sergei Solomasov is a spy who belongs to the Russian military intelligence services (GRU) and that he is looking for sources on the territory. Romain Mielcarek then continued to maintain relations with this Russian agent for several years, on behalf of the DGSI, in order to provide them with information.
But Sergei Solomasov, officially military attaché at the Russian embassy, does not stop at this journalist. Thanks to his diplomatic cover, he tried to approach Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a few months before the 2017 presidential election, through Georges Kuzmanovic. At the time, the latter was the advisor to the candidate of La France insoumise on international and military issues. He has since been expelled from the party in 2019.
“France, nest of spies”
When the Russian secret services attempted to interfere in French political life – (Magneto Presse)
“I say it clearly here, the positions of Jean-Luc Mélenchon incidentally pleased the Russiansexplains Georges Kuzmanovic in the documentary. Neither me, nor Jean-Luc Mélenchon, nor anyone from La France insoumise has done anything to please the Russians.” The former close friend of the rebellious leader is far from suspecting that he is facing a spy, until the GRU agent makes him a proposition during a dinner, leaving no room for doubt.
“We’re talking about the electionscontinues the ex-advisor. Then at some point the subject comes up: ‘Jean-Luc Mélenchon is great, it would be extraordinary if he were President of the French Republic, maybe we can help you’. Sergei Solomasov then offers to donate 500,000 euros so that rebellious France leads “the campaign more effectively”. Georges Kuzmanovic then understands that he is in a trap and immediately opposes this idea. “I was very firm immediately.”
The documentary titled France, nest of spies, directed by Nicolas de Labareyre is broadcast Sunday February 11 at 9:05 p.m. on France 5 and on france.tv.