University of Helsinki offers work to professor convicted of espionage in Denmark
Timo Kivimäki still waiting for implementation of sentence
Professor Timo Kivimäki, who was convicted in a Danish court of espionage for Russia in May this year, was offered the post of lecturer at the University of Helsinki.
Kivimäki’s conviction came because he had done consulting work for the Russian Embassy in Denmark, in which he passed on non-classified information to Russian diplomats.
Kivimäki is currently out of prison, and says that in practice his five-month prison sentence will amount to three months of house arrest.
Kivimäki is scheduled to start work at the Department of Political and Economic Studies at the University of Helsinki at the beginning of next year. His contract extends through the summer of 2015.
He said that he is happy to return to Finland. Kivimäki’s appointment as lecturer in world politics brings him back to the University of Helsinki after an absence of more than a decade.
He worked at the university as a professor in the 1990s. The head of the department, Jussi Pakkasvirta, says that Kivimäki was academically the most competent of all of the applicants for the position.
Pakkasvirta does not see Kivimäki’s conviction as an impediment to a post at the University of Helsinki.
Pakkasvirta did not consider asking the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO) about Kivimäki. He also noted that no matter what one thinks about the sentence, Kivimäki will have done his time.
Pakkasvirta did not want to say if he thought that Kivimäki had made mistakes in his interaction with Russian diplomats. However, he says that based on information available to him, the sentence was "rather severe".
Kivimäki’s new job will include both teaching and research.
He plans to avoid any special contacts with Russia.
"I don’t think that I need such contacts in any way", Kivimäki says.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Danish court sentences Finnish professor to five months for espionage (1.6.2012)
Espionage trial of Finnish professor starts in Denmark (9.5.2012)
Finnish professor accused of espionage in Denmark: “It’s all a misunderstanding” (17.4.2012)
Espionage case: Finnish professor suspected of giving information on Danish students to Russian diplomats (16.4.2012)