MYPLACE team members at Centre for Youth Research, Higher School of Economics (St Petersburg) on recent e-mail scandals in Russia.
For more information on the MYPLACE project, visit the project’s website: HERE
The personal mail of the Federal Agency on Youth Affairs public officer, the leader of pro-Kremlin movement “Nashi” Vasily Yakimenko was hacked. The scandal might be as big as what happened to WikiLeaks (http://newsru.com/russia/02feb2012/yakemenkohacked.html). Unknown hackers that claim themselves to be Russian representatives of the international “Anonymous” movement uploaded 16 GB of Yakimenko’s e-mails to file hosting services. Bloggers, having downloaded the archived file, examined the e-mails and concluded that they were unlikely to be fake.
The uploaded e-mails date from November to December 2011. Some of them give instructions and accounts about the actions supporting the results of the Parliamentary elections that took place on the 4th-6th of December. Some of them represent creative ideas about the ways to discredit the protest movements and their leaders. The main target for them is Alexey Navalny who criticizes the “United Russia” political party. For instance, the “Nashi” commissioner Ivan Kosov sent a cartoon script about “the fascist Navalny” to Yakimenko – here they mean Navalny’s participation in “Russian March” organized by nationalists on the 4th of November. Yakimenko approved the script and asked them to make it look funny.
The cartoon was actually made and uploaded in the Internet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fLKOm-PIaHI. A social media group was made that comprises a series of cartoons unmasking Navalny. However, it hasn’t become so popular – no more than 300 people are subscribed for this web-page.
There is another example that concerns the letter from the activist of a pro-Kremlin organization “Young Lawyers of Russia”. He offers Yakimenko provocateur agents that would cause a disturbance in the protest meeting on the 10th of December. Afterwards, these instructed young people would be delivered to the police station where they would admit they were influenced by the Internet calls to oppositional actions and joined the protest movement. The “Young lawyers” tend to protect such muddle-heads from themselves. This idea was approved but not implemented.
The other part of the e-mails was dedicated to the Dmitry Medvedev and young bloggers meeting: every participant sent Yakimenko a question for the president asking for the approval and a short project presentation. The meeting took place on the 9th of November and was broadcast by the central TV channels http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWUDm5HkZz0.
Besides, there are many e-mails requesting money in Yakimenko’s inbox. Everyone is asking for money: a pregnant staff member, regional activists, commissioners, organizers of the summer educational forum “Seligher” as well as the architects who are going to build some premises there, the pensionary pro-Kremlin movement coordinators. Bloggers are active in discussing the cost sheets of millions of rubles that are sent to Yakimenko by the chiefs of the projects which are under his jurisdiction.
Yakimenko himself, as well as his Press Service, says nothing. The other state authorities like public prosecution, a special police office fighting against extremism on the Internet, Kremlin administration representatives don’t comment on it either. And indeed bloggers say that they didn’t learn anything new but the verification of their guesses. They also offer to rename the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs into the Committee against Opposition.