Just when you thought Hillary Clinton and the United States Government was getting an unfair amount of attention from the hacking world, a Ukrainian hacker going by the name “CyberHunta” has released over 2,000 emails from one of Vladimir Putin’s political aides; Vladislav Surkov.
View the leaked archive here: http://cyberhunta.com/news/kiberhunta-peredaet-privet-surkovu/
— Steve Waterhouse (@Water_Steve) October 28, 2016
As reported by Softpedia, though Vladimir Putin’s Press Secretary initially released a statement denying the legitimacy of the leaked material, “Russian journalist Svetlana Babaeva, Russian businessman Evgeny Chichivarkin, and Aric Toler, analyst for the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab,” have all since independently “confirmed the authenticity of the emails” in question. Meaning that they have confirmed the emails on their end as the senders/recipients.
[2/2] Tho I find myself wondering if Surkov hack really is work of Ukrainians or 1st eg of US retaliation for #Russia's hack campaign…
— Mark Galeotti (@MarkGaleotti) October 25, 2016
The United States is not to blame for this attack on Russia, a Ukrainian nationalist going by the name of CyberHunta has claimed responsibility and subsequently published the leak. Once again, as explained by Softpedia News, “CyberHunta is a Ukrainian community of hackers and analysts who oppose foreign aggression and fight internal enemies.” The group also promises to “continue to extract and analyze email and correspondence ‘iconic’ figures in Russia.”
— Francesco Bussoletti (@FBussoletti) October 28, 2016
The Leak is Real
The largest scandal exposed within this leak are the confidential emails regarding frank discussion of Russia’s military and political motivations inside Easter Ukraine, some emails date as far back as 2014. More specifically, the documents expose how Russian troops have directly coordinated with and funded “Ukrainian rebels.” These groups go out to sow “political distress” and undermine the public’s trust in the Government, stir up controversy – et cetera.
From April 2014 through September 2015, according to the United Nations, nearly 8,000 people died. Since September 2016, it is estimated that at least 1,500 more have lost their lives and now into 2017, over 10,000 casualties are reported.
In response to the leak, The Moscow Times has reported that “the leaked emails prove that the Kremlin was constantly in touch with rebels in eastern Ukraine throughout 2014 as the conflict there started to unravel.” Considering that the ‘Russian Invasion’ of Eastern Ukraine and the fallout from it has made international headlines for years, the event has widely been criticized or condemned by ‘Western Allies’ before these leaks came out.
The Structure of The Russian Government
As indicated in the headline to this story, the emails of Vladislav Surkov were exposed in this leak. International headlines are labeling this man as an important figure in the Putin Administration. More specifically, Surkov is being called a “political advisor” to Vladimir Putin.
As for the structure of Russia;s Government, unlike the United States which has 3 separate but co-equal branches, Russia has two ruling bodies. Each of which handles different responsibilities and acts separate from the other.
There is the Russian military, which is led by Vladimir Putin himself. Putin is essentially the ‘commander in chief’ of Russia’s armed forces and outside of military responsibilities, he is also tasked with protecting/advancing Russia’s “National Interests” on an “international level” – using whatever force(s) he deems necessary to do so.
The other half of Russia’s government consists of lawmakers/legislator, whom essentially take care of the domestic and local policy throughout Russia by making laws and serving the public’s interest. As President, Vladimir Putin is by far the most powerful man in the country, but he does not have really have working relationship with the Russian people – like other lawmakers do. Putin is up for re-election in 2018 and it the clear front-runner at the time of this article.
Why might this leak cause a problem for Russia?
The contents of this leak aside, it is not exactly breaking news that Russia’s military was actively involved in the Ukrainian Conflict. Russia did annex Crimea after-all, remember?
Much like Hillary Clinton, hackers might be trying to manipulate public opinion against Vladimir Putin now. With Putin coming up with an election year, if there are any political issues that are going to hang him up in the public eye, it would be Russia’s unprecedented military actions in places like Ukraine and Syria.
As for how this impacts the lawmakers/legislators in Russia, they are left to answer a lot of heated questions about the actions of the countries President, whom they essentially have no jurisdiction over. Depending on how negatively the people feel/react about Russia’s actions on an international level, it could start to strain President Putin’s relationship with the people of his own Government.
Cause controversy and get the Government to fight each other, look how well it worked out for American politics – right? That is what these Ukrainian hackers are hoping for at least.
This article (Ukrainian Hacker Leaks 2,337 Emails from Inside The Kremlin, Vladislav Surkov – One of Putin’s Top Advisors) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article using a creative commons license with attribution to Brian Dunn and Alternative Medi4