The Brazilian Intelligence Agency Identifies Russian Spy Operating in Brasília Embassy

Member of the Russian diplomatic corps left the country after the agency's discovery; Moscow does not comment


The Brazilian Intelligence Agency (Abin) discovered a Russian spy operating in Brazil who posed as a member of the diplomatic corps at his country's embassy in Brasília.

Sergei Alexandrovitch Chumilov left Brazil after Abin's counterintelligence sector identified him as a spy for one of Russia's intelligence services. He worked to recruit Brazilians as informants. His activity was confirmed to Folha by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other government areas. When contacted, Abin stated that it neither denies nor comments on counterespionage cases.

O russo Sergey Shumilov, apontado como espião pela Abin, em uma palestra realizada por uma escola de línguas
Sergey Shumilov - Reprodução

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that it monitors but "does not publicly comment on cases of this nature due to their confidential nature." The Russian Embassy in Brasília also declined to comment. Chumilov entered Brazil in 2018, according to information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to serve as a first secretary at the embassy in the federal capital. In addition to his position, he identified himself as a representative of the Russian House in Brazil (Russky Dom), linked to the Russian federal agency Rossotrudnichestvo.

Rossotrudnichestvo is the agency for "affairs of collaboration with the community of independent states, compatriots abroad, and international humanitarian cooperation." The agency is part of the structure of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ministry is headed by Sergei Lavrov, who visited Brazil and met with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) in February. The spy's departure from Brazil in July 2023 came after a request from the Russian government.

Reports obtained by Folha indicate that, after Abin discovered his actual activity, there was a diplomatic effort for the country itself to request his departure. In these cases, it is common for this procedure to be carried out discreetly to avoid "diplomatic embarrassments," according to officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In recent years, Brazil has recorded at least three cases of Russian spies. The most well-known is that of Sergei Vladimirovitch Tcherkasov, who was arrested in 2022 after using Brazilian identity to infiltrate the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands.

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