See all those languages up there? We translate Global Voices stories to make the world's citizen media available to everyone.

Learn more about Lingua Translation  »

Hackers Publish Kremlin Aide's E-Mails, Allege Plan to Destabilize Ukraine

Vladislav Surkov. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Vladislav Surkov. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

On Tuesday, the Ukrainian hacking collective “Kiberkhunta” (CyberJunta) leaked more than 2,000 e-mails from the inbox of Vladislav Surkov, an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin who is often cited as a key advisor on the Kremlin’s Ukraine policy. The leaked e-mails, which are dated between September 24, 2013, and November 25, 2014, suggest an unprecedented hack into a top Kremlin official's private accounts.

The leak follows Monday's leak of two documents allegedly sent to Surkov that describe a Kremlin initiative to destabilize Ukraine between November 2016 and March 2017. The documents, also released by Kiberkhunta, include an e-mail to Surkov on August 26, 2016, from his assistant, Pavel Karpov (who Kiberkhunta says signed documents under the name “Nikolai Nikolaievich Pavlov”) titled “Priority Action Plan to Destabilize the Social-Political Situation in Ukraine,” and “Concrete Action Plan on the Promotion of the Federal Status of Zakarpattia Oblast.”

The first document details “Crankshaft,” an operation aimed at destabilizing Ukraine by working with opposition parties including Opposition Bloc (the successor to former President Viktor Yanykovych's Party of Regions), Batkivshchyna (a party led by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko), and Radical Party (a party led by populist Oleh Lyashko) to organize “nationwide protests” in the second half of November 2016.

As reported by Gordonua.com, in order to “swing public opinion,” the document calls for spreading fake video and audio clips, and screenshots of correspondence between Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and his allies that details corruption at the highest levels of Ukrainian politics. It suggests “secretly using” parliament deputies Mustafa Nayyem, Sergei Leshchenko, Svetlana Zalishchuk, and Olga Chervokava, who have become famous for their anti-corruption investigations.

The second document details a plan to give Zakarpattia Oblast “autonomous, federal status within the territory of Ukraine,” for which it proposes supporting local Ruthenian organizations.

RuNet Echo has not been able to verify the authenticity of the documents, though the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) has confirmed they are real: in an interview on TV station “112” on Tuesday, Aleksandr Tkachuk, the SBU head's chief of staff, said that “the majority of the documents” had been confirmed by the SBU.

Ukrainian lawmaker Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the minister of internal affairs, wrote on Facebook yesterday: “The hack of Vladislav Surkov's e-mailit's true. The documents published by Kiberkhunta are authentic.”

Screenshot of Surkov's Leaked E-Mails

On Tuesday, the hackers also published scans of passports belonging to Surkov and his wife and children, which they claim reinforces the authenticity of the leak:

Kiberkhunta has posted scans of the passports of Surkov and his wife, confirming the hack of his e-mail.

Like the leaked e-mails, the passport scans do not prove that the documents are real; Kiberkhunta could, for example, have hacked Surkov's e-mail to get the passport photos and then fabricated the plans to destabilize Ukraine.
On Tuesday, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov responded to the hackers’ claims:

Знаю Суркова больше десяти лет, ему все время что-то приписывается то ли нашими хакерами, то ли зарубежными хакерами. Он очень талантливый человек, и поэтому, естественно, все стремятся ему что-то приписывать. Чаще всего это не соответствует действительности

I've known Surkov for more than ten years, and domestic and international hackers are always trying to ascribe something to him. He's a very talented person, and therefore, naturally, everyone tries to ascribe something to him. More often than not, it doesn't correspond to reality.

  • George Knight

    What a pity Wikileaks wasn’t the source of this revelations. How come?

    • Mikronos

      Because it came from a trustworthy source in the Kyiv Ministry of Real Propaganda. Honest!

    • Maria Al-Masani

      Because Wikileaks is run by the Kremlin. This is a rival hacker group

  • EmpressU

    So you don’t actually have any evidence the plans are fake, you’re just saying they could be? This is as pathetic as Clinton’s propaganda. What’s good for the goose, yadda yadda.

    • Tritro29

      Just look at the title. Only in Hollywood you have a plan to “destabilize” Ukraine written on the header. Even the damn Nazis found an alluding name for their Holocaust.

  • Victor Victory

    F u ruSSia

  • Lev Havryliv

    Let’s not have any more talk about a “civil war” in Ukraine. It is Russian aggression.

    • Tom Goldrup

      It definitely is Russian aggression…No question about it. They tried to disrupt America’s election…They interfere in Georgia’s election…and they want all of Ukraine. The world needs to wake up to the fact that Putin has already laid the groundwork for World War III.

      • Mikronos

        It’s not over yet. On November 8th Putin will ‘hack’ DonTrump into the oval orifice and Hilary will “accept” that outcome as the will of the people, just like she promised. So will Trump.

  • Greg

    all of Putn’s lies will come undone, he cannot hide forever! well done

  • Donovan

    People accuse Hillary Clinton of wanting to start World War 3. Uh… Putin’s already there.

  • Mikronos

    That’s some ‘maskirovka’ – making the Heroes of the Maidan think they’re tossing a gang of corrupt opportunists when what they’re really doing is dumping Ukrainia back into the gulags! So when State security really opens fire on the protestors this time we’ll know it’s all Putin’s fault, again. Those passports 5 and 6 years old respectivlely. Those folk probably have been to Ukraine a few times. Or was Ukraine still letting the pussy rub up on passports to ensure they weren’t bogus before the ‘dignity’ – the Kyiv Cat Scan?

  • Pingback: MILNEWS.ca #UKR Update as of 260130UTC October 2016 | MILNEWS.ca Blog()

  • Pingback: Seltene Einblicke in den Kreml: Aktivisten hacken Mailaccount von Putins Chefberater | Aktuelle Nachrichten()

  • Pingback: Leaked Kremlin memos reveal plan to destabilize Ukraine()

Our work building bridges across cultures, languages and perspectives is more urgent than ever before.

Learn more about Global Voices »

Donate now

Close