Disinfo: There is no evidence that the Russian diplomats expelled from Colombia were spies, it’s all a narrative created by Colombian media


Colombian mainstream media devoted disproportionate coverage to detail how Aleksandr Belousov and Aleksandr Paristov wanted to obtain information on Colombia’s energetic, technological and military infrastructure, nothing too surprising coming from officials of a country like Russia that makes and exports products of these fields. There is nothing unusual about officials from the Russian Embassy wanting to obtain this kind of information, and the activities shown by Colombian media are perfectly compatible with collecting information to serve the state they represent, something that all embassies around the world do. Even if they paid for the information, as the articles claim, it could be a questionable method and more concerning for Russian taxpayers than for the Colombian authorities, but this by no means qualifies as espionage. In contrast with the media enthusiasm for having an alleged episode of spying, Colombian authorities so far, including the president and the foreign minister, didn’t talk of espionage at any moment, but of “activities incompatible with the dispositions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations”. So everything points that the Colombian media, as usual, are being overzealous.


Contrary to the claim, the Colombian authorities have no doubt about the role of the Russian diplomats expelled from the country on December 8, 2020. Colombian media based their reporting on investigations carried out by the intelligence services of their own country, who provided their results (in Spanish) to some of them, such as El Tiempo and Semana, and even granted them interviews (in Spanish).

According to a Colombian intelligence report reviewed by Colombian newspaper El Tiempo (in Spanish), Aleksandr Paristov was positively identified by the allied intelligence services of the US and UK as a member of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence (SVR). The same publication stated that Colombia’s National Direction of Intelligence (DNI) identified the other man, Aleksandr Nikolayevich Belousov, as a member of Russia’s Military Intelligence (GRU).

Colombian president Iván Duque refused to reveal more information at this point because it “would not correspond with the principle of continuing bilateral relations”. The formula used by Colombia’s Foreign Minister Claudia Blum stating that the Russians were carrying out “activities incompatible with the dispositions of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations” is a well-established diplomatic euphemism to refer to espionage.

Colombian publication Semana also obtained a long dossier (in Spanish) prepared by the DNI on the so-called Operation Enigma, a two-year surveillance operation on both Russian citizens, which included hours of recordings and pictures of their movements and contacts. Their activities, according to Semana, included “military and intelligence tactics used by spies”, such as frequent changes of cars and clothes during their movements or long rides of 5 and 6 hours to avoid surveillance. They also tried to spy on Colombia’s military intelligence.

Colombian authorities are also preparing to prosecute their nationals that provided sensitive information to the Russians on grounds of treason, something that wouldn’t happen if, as the disinformation piece states, these activities “by no means qualify as espionage”.

See other examples of disinformation narratives about Russia being falsely accused, such as allegations that neither the US Intelligence Committee report nor the Mueller report found any evidence of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections, that there is no proof that Russia tried to influence in the Brexit referendum or about the role played by RT and Sputnik in these and other processes, that “absurd” accusations against Russia are an attempt to demonise it, or that the US and UK are indeed the ones who try to interfere in Europe.


  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/12/2020
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Colombia, Russia
  • Keywords: Diplomacy with Russia, Mainstream media, Anti-Russian, Intelligence services


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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By promoting Covid-19, the West aims to achieve the Great Reset

The global goal of the West in promoting Covid-19 is the Great Reset. New strains of the novel coronavirus emerged in the second half of December: is this a special Christmas gift for humanity from the globalist Santa Claus? It is worth asking the classic question: “Qui prodest?”, “Who benefits?”, and then the whole Covid situation can be rebranded automatically from a natural disaster to a crime against humanity. The new vaccine technologies can lead to the fact that one person will receive an individual strain of a lethal virus almost at birth, and he/her (or their parents) will literally have to buy more life for him or her from the producers of this strain, in the same way that today they buy licensed software for their computers for a concrete period. There are plans to create a “world government” with a “new normalcy” under the motto “The world will never be the same again”, in whose frame most of humankind should be reduced to the condition of cattle deprived of any rights.


A recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative, part of a disinformation campaign on the coronavirus pandemic.

Contrary to the claim, the West is not promoting Covid-19, much less as part of a so-called Great Reset for population control. New strains of the novel coronavirus are a result of mutations, a regular occurrence for any virus. The affirmation that after receiving an inoculation, people will have to “buy more life” in the same way they now buy licensed software is baseless and contrary to how vaccines actually work.

The US imposed anti-Russian sanctions because it needs an enemy to justify its bureaucracy

There are anti-Russian sanctions because the US needs an enemy. The US system is deeply bureaucratic and formed by hundreds of thousands of different officials, whose existence must be justified, among other things, by an “external threat” from the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China.


Recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about sanctions and Russia as an innocent victim of the West, in this case portraying it as being falsely presented as an enemy only because the US allegedly needs one. By promoting these narratives, Russia aims to divert attention away from its own misdeeds.

Contrary to the claim, the US imposed sanctions on Russia not because “it needs an enemy to justify its bureaucratic system” but due to Russian actions and violations of international law, including the occupation of Crimea and orchestrating a war in eastern Ukraine in 2014, and interfering in the US elections and other electoral processes.

The Arab Spring was organised by the West

18 December 2010 is considered to be the starting point of the riots, unrest and uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa collectively referred to as the Arab Spring.

US and transnational foundations for democracy-promotion were operating in many of the countries where the Arab Spring began. Their activists, who had been trained years before, were at the epicentre of events and passed on colour revolution techniques to the local population. These activists had previously developed such techniques in the Commonwealth of Independent States and the Balkans.

But the attempt by the US and the West to reshape the Middle East and impose Western democracy on the region failed. It is important to note that ISIS emerged in 2013 as a result of the Arab Spring.


Disinformation about the Arab Spring presented with no evidence. This article’s message is consistent with pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about popular protests around the world allegedly incited and funded by the US and other Western states, including colour revolutions in post-Soviet states, the Arab Spring revolts, Euromaidan in Ukraine, protests in Catalonia and others. This narrative claims that protests, disorders and civil uprisings are never manifestations of popular discontent but are "colour revolutions" directed and funded by Western intelligence services or other Western actors in order to destabilise targeted foreign states and bring about regime change.

When the Arab Spring revolts broke out throughout Northern Africa and the Middle East beginning in 2010-2011, Russian media increasingly spread conspiracy theories portraying the uprisings as nefarious “color revolutions” hatched in the United States. Senior Russia security and military officials claimed that the Arab Spring, which got much of its initial traction through social media such as Facebook and Twitter, was a new subversive methodology designed by Western intelligence services to destabilise societies and bring about regime change, first in the Arab world and subsequently in Russia itself.