This photo was taken when Mikhail Mikushin lived in Cananda under the adopted name José Assis Giammaria. At the University of Calgary the man spent years studying Arctic security and geopolitics. In 2021, he moved on to Norway's Arctic University in Tromsø. Photo from Twitter

“José” turns Mikhail. GRU colonel admits being Russian national

The “hybrid threats” researchers who managed to infiltrate the Centre for Peace Studies at UiT The Arctic University of Norway finally told police investigators he isn’t Brazilian born.
December 14, 2023


45-years old Mikhail Mikushin was arrested by the Police Security Service in Tromsø in October 2022. After a year in custody, declining to speak, the man now finally admits that his name is not Brazilian-born José Assis Giammaria, Norwegian daily VG reports.

Operating as an illegal, the GRU spy came to the University to work as a research volunteer interested in “hybrid threats”, a study program at the department in Tromsø. He arrived to northern Norway from Canada where he in 2015 graduated with a bachelor in international relations at the Carleton University. 

The police first charged him on suspicion of entering Norway under false pretence. VG, in cooperation with Bellingcat, later provided information suggesting that Mikushin is a senior Russian military intelligence officer, an officer with the GRU.

Before he changed his name to José Assis Giammaria and got a new fake identity in Brazil, Mikhail Mikushin was registered at the address of the GRU academy in Moscow. He left Russia in 2006 but went back several times, like in June 2015 when his Russian driver’s license was renewed, the Bellingcat insights could tell.

Mikushin has been in custody for over a year. 

After Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine, Moscow faced multiple expulsion of its diplomatic personnel all over Europe. Intelligence officers no longer present at embassies have to find other ways to enter European countries. Operating as illegal, under false identity, is a well-known Russian strategy. 

UiT The Arctic University of Norway. Photo: Thomas Nilsen





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