Meet the Anschlags – latest Russian spies to be caught
Were they really active spies – or a retired couple doing occasional favours for the Motherland?
ALTHOUGH Russian and German officials are still refusing to comment on the incident, more details are emerging of the middle-aged couple arrested last week as ‘deep cover’ Russian spies at their bungalow in the German town of Marburg, 230 miles southeast of Berlin.
Meet the Anschlags
Following their arrest last week by German commandos, the couple were named over the weekend only as Andreas and Heidrun. They now have a surname – Anschlag. Both held Austrian passports but are thought to be South American-born. He is 45, she 51. They have a grown-up daughter. The local Oberhessische Presse has a video showing their modest home in the Michelbach suburb of Marburg.
The Anna Chapman connection
It is understood they were turned in to the authorities by the same double agent who last year led the FBI to uncover a ring of ‘deep cover’ Russian spies in the United States. According to the Moscow Times, the Anschlags maintained contact with the US operatives, including the flame-haired Anna Chapman (pictured above) who has become a TV celebrity following her return to Russia in a spy exchange.
Heidrun Anschlag was reportedly listening to encrypted radio messages from Moscow when the commandos entered her home. Experts are puzzled to hear they were still using old-fashioned radio in the age of email.
Were they retired spies?
Other intelligence experts are bewildered at what on earth the Anchlags were doing in Marburg at all. "There are no US forces or anything else of interest anywhere nearby," said Alexander Rahr, an analyst with the German Council of Foreign Relations. An intelligence source has said that the Anschlags were most likely former spies, possibly still acting “in the interests of the Motherland” by providing a “mailbox” for occasional transmissions.
Or were they industrial spies?
Another possibility is that they were involved in industrial espionage. German media reports say Andreas Anschlag worked as an engineer in an auto components firm before the family moved to Marburg.
What happens next?
Whether the 'Marburg two' are granted the same level of Kremlin support that Anna Chapman received remains to be seen. The flame-haired former spy received a medal from Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and joined Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in a patriotic sing-song following her expulsion from America.