Believes Russia considers a spy swap

Frode Berg spy swapThe Norwegian, Frode Berg, who is detained in Russia accused of being a spy. Photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix

Berg’s Lawyer believes Russia considers a spy swap

Frode Berg’s Russian lawyer tells VG that he believes the investigation will be paused to see if a spy swap is possible involving Berg and the alleged Russian spy who is detained in Norway.


The Russian Lawyer, Ilja Novikov, arrived in Norway on Wednesday afternoon and will meet with Bergen’s Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, among other issues, to discuss what to do if the investigators inform them that they have finished their work.

– I can not predict the investigators’ next moves, but my personal impression is that the investigation is now going to be paused considering that an exchange can possibly take place, Novikov says to VG after landing at Oslo Airport Gardermoen.

Novikov further states that one purpose of his Oslo visit is to obtain information regarding the alleged Russian spy, Mikhail Botsjkarev, hoping that an exchange between Berg and Botsjkarev will be viable.

On Friday, September 21st, the Russian public servant Mikhail Botsjkarev (51) was arrested in Norway, charged with illegal intelligence gathering. He had then attended a seminar at the Norwegian Parliament.

– It is my impression that they will take a break to assess whether such an exchange is a realistic possibility, Novikov says.


Bergs Norwegian lawyer, Brynjulf Risnes, tells NTB that there is currently nothing new in Berg’s case.

– My impression is that everyone now awaits the case in Oslo, and neither Novikov nor I have any insight into that investigation. If it is a real and serious case of espionage, it is natural that it becomes part of the negotiations But if the police’s security service finds out that he has not done anything wrong, then there is nothing to pursue any further, Risnes says outside the meeting room where he and Novikov are meeting.

He says there is currently no fixed agenda for Wednesday’s meeting.

-We have just sat down and it is not too often that we have the opportunity to meet in person, Risnes continues.

Direct contact

Novikov tells Dagbladet that he believes there may have been direct contact between the Norwegian Intelligence Service and the Russian Security Service (FSB) in the cases.

– There are reasons to assume that. I do not know what’s going on, but with experience from past spy cases, there’s every reason to believe that there has been direct contact between the intelligence agencies. This contact is important for what happens with Frode Berg, says Novikov.

He says Berg is in a positive frame of mind.

– He hopes that the arrest of the Russian, Mikhail Botsjkarev, can lead to him being released earlier and subsequently sent back home to Norway.

Meets the family

Risnes says that Novikov will also meet with Berg’s family while in Norway.

– Some from the family will come to Oslo, and they will meet here on Friday, the lawyer informs. Novikov will not be travelling to Kirkenes.

Berg was arrested by the Russian secret police (FSB) in Moscow on December 5th last year. The Norwegian has later admitted that he was a courier for the Norwegian intelligence service. In early October, his detainment was extended again, this time until December 5th.


© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today