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Russian Exchange Director Denies Spying Allegations

Yury Zaitsev, the U.S.-based director of a Russian cultural-exchange program, has rejected allegations he was trying to recruit American citizens to work as Russian spies.

Zaitsev said the accusations were "insulting" and sounded like "echoes of the Cold War."

Zaitsev's comments on October 24 came in response to a report earlier in the day from the magazine "Mother Jones" that claimed the FBI was investigating Zaitsev and his organization -- Rossotrudnichestvo -- for trying to lure Americans into being agents for Russia.

Since 2001, the Rossotrudnichestvo program has sent about 130 Americans on expenses-paid trips to Russia.

Participants met with senior members of the ruling United Russia party, including the mayor of Moscow and the governor of St. Petersburg.

Based on reporting by AP and ITAR-TASS