Russian Spy Ring Tried, Failed To Recruit Manhattan Co-eds As Moles, Feds Say

Eric Owens | Editor

If there’s one thing every American knows about Russians, it’s that they spy. A lot. Almost as much as the Chinese.

Federal authorities announced the busting of the latest Russian espionage ring this week. This one involved failed attempts to recruit female college students and other women in the New York City area to serve as undercover Russian agents, the New York Post reports.

The Russian intelligence-gathering plan involved a couple middle-aged men and guy in his late twenties, according to court records.

In phone conversations covertly taped by the FBI, one of the men, Igor Sporyshev, complained that he couldn’t get “close enough” to American college women to recruit them.

“I have lots of ideas about such girls but these ideas are not actionable because they don’t allow you to get close enough,” Sporyshev, 40, grumbled during an April 2013 conversation inside the — apparently bugged — Russian Foreign Intelligence Service office in New York City.

“In order to be close you either need to fuck them or use other levers to influence them to execute my requests,” the sorrowful spy added. “So when you tell me about girls, in my experience, it’s very rare that something workable will come of it.”

The original conversations took place in Russian.

Victor Podobny, 27, a fellow lonely Russian spy who wanted to meet co-eds but could not, complained over the phone that his job was nowhere near as glamorous as he had hoped.

Like a high percentage of the secret agents snooping around the world for their governments, Sporyshev and Podobny worked cover jobs. They were diplomats with the Russian mission to the United Nations. Thus, they won’t actually face criminal charges.

However, a third Russian agent in the failed co-ed spy ring is Evgeny “Zhenya” Buryakov, had no official cover.

FBI agents arrested Buryakov, 39, outside a supermarket in the Bronx on Monday morning.

Court papers don’t identify the bank where Buryakov pretended to work. However, as the Post notes, a still-existing LinkedIn page for Evgeny Buryakov indicates that he works for Vnesheconombank, a Russian bank.

Except for indicating a few groups that anyone could join in a couple minutes, the lazy LinkedIn page provides virtually no other information.

Vnesheconombank is a former Soviet bank. The very long word translates to “Bank of Foreign Economic Activity.” Its tiny New York office is located in Midtown, in a nondescript office building. There’s a LensCrafters on the first floor.

The charges against Buryakov, Podobny and Sporyshev involve efforts to gather intelligence on American sanctions against Russia and on “alternative energy resources.”

The evidence against Buryakov includes a meeting in Atlantic City where he met with an FBI informant to discuss casinos in Russia and allegedly accepted a U.S. government documents labeled for official use.

The court documents indicate that the investigation into this spy ring began back in 2010 when the FBI discovered the spy ring involving Anna Chapman and nine addition “deep cover” Russian spies.

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