He was a Colonel of the Foreign Intelligence Service and, as reported, handed over to the Americans a group of Russian spies, among whom was Anna Chapman. Shortly before their arrest, Poteev fled to the United States. In Russia, he was sentenced in absentia to 25 years in prison. Officially, no one has ever confirmed the information about the death of Poteev. Buzzfeed claims that he is in fact alive and doesn’t even hide himself using his real name in the USA.
Alexander Poteev was born in 1952 in Belarus in the family of Hero of the Soviet Union Nikolai Poteev, who received this title during the Great Patriotic War. Poteev Jr. graduated from the Higher Courses of the KGB in Minsk, after which he was transferred to Moscow. In the 1980s he served in Afghanistan and worked in the foreign intelligence directorate of the KGB of the USSR. In the 1990s, he spent several years abroad (including in the United States) under the guise of an employee of the Russian Foreign Ministry. In 2000, Alexander Poteev was appointed deputy head of one of the departments of the C department of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR); his unit oversaw the activities of Russian illegal agents in the United States.
In 2010, ten Russian spies were arrested there (the most famous among them was Anna Chapman). The US authorities accused them of collecting intelligence in favor of Russia and exchanged them for four Russian citizens convicted of espionage, including the former GRU officer Sergey Skripal. Russian media wrote that Chapman and the others were handed over by Alexander Poteev - he shortly before their arrest went on vacation to Belarus, and from there, through Ukraine and Germany, he fled to the United States. In 2011, Poteev was convicted in absentia of treason and desertion, sentenced to 25 years in prison, deprived of all titles and awards. The trial was held behind closed doors.
In 2016, Interfax, citing sources, said that Poteev died in the United States. The agency did not clarify the details of his death, suggesting that the news about her could be “disinformation aimed at simply being forgotten about the traitor.” Officially, the death of Poteev then no one confirmed. BBC journalist Mark Urban stated in his book The Fiddle Files that Poteev was actually alive, and Russian intelligence spread information about his death, hoping that the defector would contact his family to refute it. Also, the BBC claims that in 2014 the Russian security services tried to kill Poteev.
Now the evidence that the poteev did not die was found by the journalists Buzzfeed. They claim that they discovered them last year, but decided not to distribute them at the request of the CIA; they were afraid that the denial of Poteev’s death would jeopardize his safety. But after the Russian officer was called alive on the BBC, Buzzfeed also published his data.
Journalists of the newspaper claim that they have found the name of Alexander Poteev in public databases. In the US, there is only one person with the same name and surname; his date of birth coincided with the alleged date of birth of the double agent, and the second name, Nick, echoed his patronymic - Nikolayevich. Poteev's name appeared in the databases in October 2010, that is, three months after the “spy scandal”. For the next six years he could live in the states of Massachusetts, Arizona and Virginia. Since 2016, information about Poteev has become much more. In particular, the journalists of Buzzfeed learned that in January 2016, Poteev received a penalty for speeding, in October - a license to fish, and in November he voted (on what elections, the publication does not specify).
When Buzzfeed collected information about Poteev, he, according to public information, already lived in Florida. To check whether the person whose data they found was a former Colonel of the SVR, journalists tried to meet him. For the first time a concierge working in Poteev’s house refused to let them through, saying that “Alex” always welcomes guests in the lobby. The second time another concierge allowed reporters to go up to Poteev’s apartment. An elderly woman opened the door for them. When asked if she could talk to Alexander Poteev, she asked who wanted to see him; Having learned that these are journalists, the woman closed the door with the words: “No, no, no.” During the last attempt, the concierge called Poteev’s apartment, after which he reported that “Alex” did not want to talk to Buzzfeed.