Transparency group targets Kremlin secrets, releases cache of documents

In a significant revelation published online on Friday, Jan. 25, a global transparency group has released a repository of information gleaned from the electronic vaults of Russian officials, lawmakers, businesspersons and journalists.

The group, Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDoS), uploaded the material on its website in a massive 175 gigabyte hoard named “The Dark Side of the Kremlin”.

The documents and emails include enlightening details over the inner world of the Russian government, arms manufacturers and messages demonstrating connections between Moscow and a Russian separatist group in Ukraine.

In a statement issued the day after releasing the documents, group co-founder Emma Best explained the rationale for the disclosure:

“Our motive is to collect and make available materials for a subject that was very underexplored—Russian power circles, how they interconnect, their influence operations.  People have a cursory understanding of that, but outside of a few experts it hasn’t been looked at in detail and contextualized.”

Established in 2018, DDoS, which is run by less than 20 largely anonymous individuals around the world, from has already carefully cultivated a small warehouse of Russian documents, and it is growing.

Shortly after its founding, the group uploaded documents obtained from cyberhackings into North Korea and the government of Azerbaijan.  Documents pertaining to North Korea showed evidence of Pyongyang’s hacking efforts against Sony in 2014.

From documents derived from the Azerbaijan government, information shed light on to the mechanics of its secret services.

Included in its growing archive are said to be documents whistleblowing platform WikiLeaks refused to publish.

In a separate media statement, Best described the material published from Kremlin sources as demonstrating “how the Russian power system is interconnected, and documents influence operations in real time—from those separatists/terrorists backed by Russia to those in the Orthodox and business worlds.”

 

[New York Times] [Foreign Policy] [Photo courtesy RFE/RL]

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