Jurijs Stilve, who was recently convicted of spying for Russia, had a lot of different tasks to perform, including taking photographs of a communications tower and oil product warehouses in the frontier area, describing their condition, finding out what soldiers were being trained for at the Infantry School in Aluksne, how many border guards worked at a local border checkpoint, and others, according to the investigative journalism center Re:Baltica.
It has not been proved that Stilve was paid for the information he was gathering. Prosecutor Sandris Kaparkalejs said that Stilve was compensated for fuel, although these were not large amounts of money. On the other hand, the Security Police have concluded that Stilve’s main motivation was the opportunity to freely travel to and make a living in Russia.
Re:Baltica’s findings are based on investigative materials in the case, interviews with Stilve, his attorney, relatives, the prosecutor, and security services’ officers.
In 2012, Stilve met someone named Alexey in Russia’s Bryansk. When a crisis began in Latvia, Stilve frequently traveled to and lived in Bryansk, his mother-in-law’s home in Aluksne Region, and Riga, where his wife lived. In Bryansk, he established several construction and automobile repair companies.
During one of their first meetings, Alexey had many questions about the Latvian National Armed Forces’ Infantry School in Aluksne.
Stilve methodically wrote down all instructions he received, verbally and by phone, in a blue notebook that was later found during police searches. The notebook also contained information on how Stilve should destroy his telephone’s SIM card and coordinates of specific locations that he had to photograph.
Some other tasks Stilve was given included finding out whether there were Abrams tanks in Latvia, whether there were lecturers from the United States working at the Infantry School in Aluksne, whether soldiers in Aluksne were trained to fight in Ukraine, and so on, Re:Baltica reports.
The Security Police told Re:Baltica that foreign special services were interested in any kind of information to help it prepare for acts of sabotage, subversive activities or other military and tactical operations.
Two years ago, Stilve moved back to Latvia after his second daughter was born here, but he still continued to regularly travel to Bryansk on business.
Stilve was arrested by the Security Police a few months later was he was trying to find out more about a new communications tower being constructed near Pededze.
When Stilve was given a suspended sentence and released in the courtroom this past August, Re:Baltica traveled to Pededze to meet him in person. Stilve denied that he had ever spied for anyone, and said that he had pleaded guilty because he was promised that he would be released if he did.
This past August, Vidzeme District Court gave Stilve a three-year suspended sentence and released him. He had been in custody since December 2017.