World

Now Russia’s Been Hacked, And Its Emails Reveal Putin’s Darker Side

Leaked emails allegedly belonging to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s top aide detail an extensive Russian plot to further destabilize Ukraine.

Twenty-two pages of leaked emails show Vladislav Surkov’s proposal to back nationalist and separatist politicians in Eastern Ukraine, while trying to trigger new elections in the Ukrainian parliament. The proposals reveal a concerted effort by Russia to undermine Ukraine’s government.

The emails reveal “the Kremlin had a guiding hand in orchestrating and funding the supposedly local and independent government,” D.C.-based think tank the Atlantic Council noted on Medium after the emails release.

Putin’s aide Surkov has been Putin’s right-hand man since 1999, and is seen as the architect of Russia’s entire political structure. Surkov’s alleged emails were released by Ukrainian hacking group CyberJunta, and included scanned copies of his passport, which were authenticated by the head of Ukraine’s Intelligence bureau.

“It is fairly clear that the emails are authentic,” the Atlantic Council continued.

Surkov is under sanction by the U.S. Government and European Union for playing a key role in Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea. Russia’s interference in European and now U.S. elections, is not a surprising revelation. The emails however reveal how high up plots of disinformation and disruption are hatched.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov outright denied the authenticity of the emails, but offered no evidence to prove his email. Peskov said, ““I’ve known Surkov for more than ten years and all sorts of things have always been imputed to him,” continuing “In most cases, it has nothing to do with the real state of things.”

“It is possible that we are seeing the first example of mutually assured doxing,” Ukraine-based cyber research scientist Kenneth Geers told the Sydney Morning Herald. Geers’ comment comes amid a U.S. promised “proportional response” to Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections.

The U.S. intelligence community assessed Oct. 7 “the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from US persons and institutions, including from US political organizations.”

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