is not difficult to find the place of departure from which came out one of the alleged Russian spies aiming to launch a cyber-attack in the Hague (Netherlands ).
Alexei Morenets saved the receipt gave the taxi driver who drove him to the airport. In the address registered there as a starting point of the journey, in Moscow, there is a young soldier in uniform who takes care of the input.
When I ask him if it is a base of the Agency of military intelligence of Russia (GRU), a body which, according to West–is engaged in cyber-warfare, the soldier makes a call and then tells me to leave these facilities immediately. I’m not lurking.
What is known of the GRU, the ultra-secret agency of Russian military intelligence linked to electoral hacking in US and other controversial operations overseas but the four alleged agents of the GRU, which were discovered in the Netherlands in April not only left traces on paper, also made it on the internet.
Although they were arrested and deported months ago, it was not until this October that the Dutch authorities revealed what had happened and the Government of the United States announced that it will present charges against those four, as well as three other supposed members of the GRU.
The BBC discovered that two of the four men arrested while allegedly were trying to hack wifi network of the Organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW, by its acronym in English), the international body that oversees the weapons chemicals, had pointed to in official documents as his address the buildings belonging to the Ministry of defence.
Cyber attacks «indiscriminate» campaign which West accuses Russia rights of author of the imagenDUTCH GOVERNMENTImage captionThe passports of all four suspects were seized by Dutch intelligence – this belonged to Alexei MorenetsUno of those documents is a vehicle registration database. Then, Bellingcat, a website of investigative journalism team, discovered that there are 305 trucks registered in the same military installation.
«They could have used the URL of their homes but they wanted to have privileges such as not having to pay for Transit tickets,» says Alexander Gabuev of the Carnegie Moscow Center, an institution dedicated to the study of Russia and other countries of the former sphere Soviet.
Gabuev believes that it is a symbol of the existence of «endemic corruption».
«If you look at the evidence (gathered by the intelligence of the Netherlands), regardless of whether you support not to (Vladimir) Putin, you simply feel embarrassed by incompetence», points out.
They are not so stupid as far as relations with the West have deteriorated, the secret services of Russia have increased their activities. But GRU operations are that most have been exposed and that most have failed.
«I don’t think that we should see them as more awkward espionage agents,» says Mark Galeotti, an expert on security issues.
«The imagenFBIImage copyright captionEl FBI released the photos and names of the 7 alleged Russian agents that are being requested.» The GRU has been very active and some of its operations will inevitably fail. That does not mean that they are fools», he added, implying that in a world full of modern technology and security cameras, Russia knows that it is difficult to remain undercover.
«Clearly the instructions which are receiving is that, within certain limits, it doesn’t matter much. No worry too much about failure», Galeotti said.
Such an approach would explain in part what has happened with the taxi receipt.
«There is no doubt that our driver wrote that receipt. He can’t remember exactly the trip because it happened a long time ago but the receipt is genuine,»confirmed Benjamin Shaginyan, responsible for the line of taxis, to the BBC.
In social networks, some people mocked the man who preserved with evidence so incriminating.
«Keep the record of expenses during a business trip is a nightmare,» said a user.
Led by the Foreign Ministry, Russian officials have dismissed the latest accusations of espionage against his country, as a «espiomania».
They claim that the emergence of accusations coordinated from United Kingdom, United States and the Netherlands reveal the «mounting» a campaign against Russia.
Military complex captionEl of the unit 26165 image, where it supposedly operates the GRU, is headquartered in Moscu.esa also is the argumentation followed by retired Gen. Yevgeny Buzhinsky, who held high positions in the Russian military hierarchy until 2009.
«You say that this is evidence. For me it is not so», says being particularly annoying because there is talk of incompetence of the GRU.
«It was believed that Russian intelligence was one of the best in the world. Now would you like to present a handful of stupid, absolutely incompetent, absolutely stupid, idiots without professionalism? It’s insulting,»he says.
But some of the men whose names have recently come to light has a presence online notable.
Two of them are registered with their names and pictures as players in a League of amateur football in Moscow. A member of that club said that you there was a time in which this organization boasted of having among its members several members of the security services.
«That took place at the beginning, but times are changing,» says the BBC Alexei Baklykov, ensuring that you never met in person any of the suspects.
Another defendant, Artyom Malyshev, sold several objects on the internet last year, including an old acoustic guitar and a smart phone.
Included this week on the list of people wanted by the FBI – that accuses him of hacking – is also registered on a website to find a partner, showing one eye winking to the camera in your profile picture and got some other image is doing sport.
Copyright of the imagenAFPImage captionLos alleged Russian agents were captured by Dutch police in a parking lot near the offices of the OPCW.» They are wonderful»make public their names, officials from Western Governments hope to prevent more Russian attacks.
However, in a street market near the military complex housing unit 26165 – the so-called cibersoldados – command center the reactions of people to the accusations are varied.
«I don’t know who to believe.» It is confusing,»said Valery in a place full of jars of honey.
«It is a nonsense. Do you think that our spies are complete morons? I think you are wonderful», says a buyer.
Thus, Russia seems ready to pass through this temporary disgrace, perhaps uncomfortable, but – despite everything – looks unlikely for the country to change course.
«We are in a war and lose a battle does not mean that you have to pay. I think that, that is largely the vision in the Kremlin», says Gabuev.
«Yes, we were defeated in this battle. But we’re going home, we learn our lessons and then continue», concludes.