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Published in Stream:
Russia Update: January 30, 2015
Press by
The Interpreter
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
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An aspect of the recent case of Russian spies charged in New York City which has not received much attention is their possible relationship to a Canadian aircraft deal, Moscow Times reports:

Russia's intelligence services may have pressured a Western labor union during negotiations with a major aerospace company in 2013 to win favorable terms for a state-owned Russian corporation, according to charges filed against Russian banker Yevgeny Buryakov by U.S. authorities on Monday.

In a 26-page U.S. Justice Department report, an FBI investigator presented evidence that Buryakov, while working as an employee at Russia's Vnesheconombank offices in New York, was conducting active economic intelligence gathering on behalf of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

One of the cases presented by the FBI focuses on a multi-billion aerospace deal between an unidentified company based outside of the United States and Russia, and a large state-owned Russian company. The report says the non-Russian aircraft company would not only sell dozens of its planes to the Russian company, but establish localized production — which was opposed by the aircraft firm's union representatives.

Through a series of telephone transcripts and FBI investigation notes referring to Buryakov's intelligence gathering on "Company-1," the report paints a picture with remarkable resemblance to a $3.4 billion deal between Canada's Bombardier Aircraft and Russia's state-owned defense technology behemoth, Rostec.

Read the rest at Moscow Times here:

Rostec is headed by Sergei Chemezov, a friend of President Vladimir Putin from his days in the KGB in East Germany. Rostec now holds about two thirds of the Russian industry. We noted that Rostec had obtained the contract to handle a major new Defense Ministry program to monitor social media.

The Kremlin has a long history of trying to influence labor movements in North America. Moscow Times said they were unable to get a comment from the Canadian Auto Workers about the deal. 

Interestingly, Jerry Dias, who assumed leadership of Unifor, the merged union made up of the Canadia Auto Workers and Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada said he condemned Russia's harsh anti-gay laws and personally wrote an appeal to Putin regarding the legislation.