A court in Norway today charged a Tromsø Arctic University academic with espionage and released his full name. The spy turned out to be Mikhail Valerievich Mikushin, born August 19, 1978. He passed himself off as a Brazilian citizen José Assis Giammaria, born in 1984, and has been working successfully at the Norwegian University of Tromsø in recent years. The Insider and Bellingcat were able to confirm Mikushin's status as a GRU officer. The journalists studied his biography, arriving at the conclusion that the “professor” did everything to fail.
Even before the Norwegians published Mikushin's real name, The Insider and Bellingcat believed he was a GRU officer named Mikhail. The pseudo-professor left enough digital traces for such conclusion.
So, for example, the password he used for his university account was used by several other people - and among those accounts two definitely belonged to him, because they contained his Brazilian name. But the other two were interesting because they were registered to Russian addresses. One of them, [email protected], referred to the Brazilian TV series and apparently belonged to him as well, while the other, [email protected], suggested that the owner's name was Mikhail. Invasor translates from Portuguese as “invader”; the only thing Mikushin lacked for being exposed as a spy was a parachute dragging behind him.
And in case someone was unable to guess that he was “Mikhail the Invader”, Mikushin used another password... containing his last name:
Apparently, Mikushin had been using the mika-invasor email account for a very long time, as it had been chosen back in the day to create a LiveJournal account (now deleted and unavailable) and an ICQ account.
The Insider and Bellingcat managed to get a photo of Mikushin's driver's license, which allowed them to confirm: Mikushin and Professor Giammaria are the same person:
As The Insider found out, Mikhail Mikushin was born in Yekaterinburg, lived on Malysheva Street, and graduated from high school in 1994. At 26, he moved to Moscow where he lived in the officers' dormitory at the GRU Military Diplomatic Academy (VDA) at Apt. 45, Bldg. 4, 52 Narodnogo Opolcheniya Street. This dormitory building is used for the registration of GRU officers who study at Faculty One of the Military Diplomatic Academy (which trains GRU officers working abroad under diplomatic cover and spies or “illegals”). Notably, said faculty of the Military Diplomatic Academy admits officers with the rank not lower than captain and with knowledge of a foreign language (in Mikushin's case it was Portuguese). It is quite possible that Olga Kolobova (Adela Kuhfeldt) was his classmate because they were the same age.
In 2006 Mikushin graduated from the academy and was able to get a Brazilian passport on the grounds that he allegedly had a Brazilian mother (a classic technique of GRU illegals, which Olga Kolobova, posing as Adela Kuhfeldt (already covered by The Insider), also tried to use without success). That same year he bought himself an apartment in Moscow on Novokurkinskoye Highway and apparently stayed in Moscow for some time.
Already a seasoned GRU officer, Mikushin started a page on VKontakte under his real name in 2010, put up as a user pic of Ostap Bender, and described his views as “ultra-conservative.”
Interestingly, Mikhail's brother, Ivan Mikushin, not only does not share his “ultra-conservative” views, but is also a staunch oppositionist, having participated in the 2011 protests, donated to Navalny, and participated in Smart Voting.
In 2011 Mikushin had apparently become sufficiently fluent in Portuguese for a legend to be constructed for him. He went to study in Canada at the University of Calgary (Russian and Portuguese accents are very similar to foreign ears).
Apparently, like Kolobova, he continued to visit Russia (although in Soviet times this was unthinkable for illegals). In any case, in June 2015 he renewed his driver's license in Russia, and a few months later he was already campaigning in Canada for the New Democratic Party:
He was in Russia again in 2020, bought an electric scooter and wasn't too lazy to write a review:
Mikushin had been doing “research” in Canada for a while, and in 2019 he even published an article justifying the need for new military bases in the Arctic. In 2021 Mikushin arrived in Norway for a research program at the University of Tromsø, which, among other things, included studying “hybrid threats.” But his boisterous activity was not limited to Norway. Just a month ago, for example, he participated in an EU-supported training session in Vilnius on “hybrid warfare.”
One of the topics of the training session was, for example, “how to react in case of sabotage on the Nord Stream pipeline” - indeed, a very relevant topic for the Kremlin:
On Tuesday, October 25, Mikushin was detained on his way to the university. His lawyer was told the authorities were planning to deport him. However, deportation to Russia is hardly possible unless Moscow recognizes Mikushin as a Russian citizen. So far, the Russian embassy has angrily denied the charges, accusing Norway of spy mania.