20-year-old gamer allegedly a Russian spy   

In early November, the Estonian Internal Security Service detained a 20-year-old Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) agent who tried to attack Estonian authorities. Fortunately, he was stopped before he could do any damage. 

Marta Tuul
Marta Tuul Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
20-year-old gamer allegedly a Russian spy    - NewsMavens
Laptop computer. Negativespace.co/Pexels (CC0)

Why this story matters:

On the first weekend of November (the exact date is still unknown), the Estonian International Security Service took custody of a 20-year-old Russian citizen, Alexei Vasiliev. He was detained at the border between Estonia and Russia, in the city of Narva.

Estonia is known for being IT-savvy. We have e-tax, e-health, e-government and we are one of the few countries where voting takes place online. But by being pioneers in technology, we have also put ourselves at risk. Cyber attacks against Estonia are frequent.

In April 2007, ethnic Russians in Estonia rioted over the relocation of the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn, a Soviet World War II memorial. Many ethnic Estonians saw the Bronze Soldier as a symbol of Soviet occupation and repression, but it was of significant value to Estonia's Russian community, symbolizing not only Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in World War II but also Russian Estonians' claim to equal rights in Estonia. 

It is possible that the conflict prompted a wave of Russian cyber crime  as a form of retaliation; the Estonian government noted a record number of attacks in 2007. But since no suspects were identified, there was no one to prosecute.

Now, on the other hand, there is someone to blame -- an exceptional occurrence when it comes to Russian cyber-attacks.The Estonian Internal Security Service has evidence that Vasiliev tried to commit a crime against the Estonian government.

The 20-year-old alleged FSB agent is a talented IT student and an enthusiastic gamer. He goes by the alias alex3ame and his online games of predilection are CS:GO -- which he has spent 950 hours playing -- and Dota 2 -- 4063 hours.

Russian media writes that the young agent is from the town of Leningrad Kingissepa and that the Russian consul in Estonia is currently overseeing the case. Between the ages of 16 and 19, he studied at an Estonian school in Sillamäe and had a residence permit.

Details from the story:

  • Alexei Vasiliev, a 20-year-old IT student, is suspected of being an FSB agent.
  • In early November he tried to attack Estonian state authorities.
  • He was caught at the border between Estonia and Russia, in Narva.
  • Vasiliev is a fan of online games like CS: GO and Dota 2.
  • He is accused of preparing a nonviolent act, a cyber attack.
  • If convicted, he faces up to 15 years in prison.
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