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Russian MP E-mail Hack Reveals Info War Plans Against Ukraine

Russian MP E-mail Hack Reveals Info War Plans Against Ukraine

Author: Timur Vorona August 5, 2014

Hackers from the group Anonymous International, that recently uploaded Russian military correspondence, have now hacked the e-mail of Russian Parliament Member Robert Shlegel. According to the leaked correspondence the MP coordinated the work of trolls on Ukrainian and foreign forums, coordinated planting of information and aided the separatists in various ways. For instance, in a letter he orders his aide to print ballots for a “people’s referendum” about the federalization of Ukraine. In another he writes to Russian social network CEO Pavel Durov demanding that the accounts of Pravy Sektor, a Ukrainian radical nationalist group, be blocked.

Shlegel’s headquarters operated on a much smaller budget than the previous “troll factory”:  only $3,000 were allocated to the propaganda workers. Instead, the MP’s HQ preferred to work with those ready to hail Putin and bash the US for free. The correspondence contains a video of how great it is that Crimea joined Russia, a draft blog post about heroic guys from the Ukrainian riot police unit “Berkut”, known for atrocities during the Maidan protests, op-eds by pro-Kremlin opinion journalists and many other materials on Ukraine.

A blogger nicknamed “ntv” posted a thorough analysis of the correspondence on his Livejournal blog. AIN.UA has picked several interesting materials illustrating the MP’s work on the “Ukrainian issue”. Thus, in one of the letters the MP asks his aide to make ballots in support of the separatists.

“We need to make a ballot.

Can you do it promptly on your own?

Regards, Robert Shlegel”

And made they were. Soon after that they were delivered to Eastern Ukraine.

“People’s Referendum

  1. Do you support the federalization of Ukraine? Yes/No
  2. Do you support the creation of a federal district of Novorossiya within Ukraine consisting of Mykolaiv, Odesa and Kherson? Yes/No”

The Russian MP also asked CEO to block groups of Pravyi Sector for “extremist and russophobic references”. He used alleged people’s requests to the Russian Parliament as the basis for his request.

A letter from Shlegel to, urging them to block several Ukrainian nationalist groups, providing specific links and citing “people’s pleas”. Shlegel also urges VK to ban “other similar groups”.

This is how the information campaign plan against Ukraine and the West looked like:

The main goal of the HQ is to transform its activities from a reactive information policy on the Internet to one which is proactive; from defending against negative content to spreading own positive content.


  1. Current activities
  2. Monitoring and analysis of the Internet.
  3. Creating and spreading own information content (infographics, texts, demotivational posters, etc.)
  4. Control of existing loyal and disloyal communities, opinion leaders and speakers (supplying pro and contra content)
  5. Creating new themed accounts, pages and groups on social networks and their maintenance
  6. Prompt reaction to the news agenda and newsworthy events
  7. Project activities
  8. Creating and spreading unique art content (images or video)

Premises, Internet connection and office appliances are available.

Staff schedule of current activities:

– Management and content creation – 30 thous. rub. per month

– Monitoring and prompt response – 1 person – 25 thous. rub. per month

– Prompt reaction and spreading – 1 person – 25 thous. rub. per month

– SMM (social networks) – 1 person – 15 thous. rub. per month

– Content distribution – 1 person – 20 thous. rub. per month

For project activities for different tasks and for a separate cost estimate staff may be increased by employing non-staff employees (the so-called “freelancers”). The cost will depend on the cost of producing the most expensive and professional content (site, video, images, distribution, etc.).

Total for current activities: 105 thous. rub. ($3,000) per month.

In late June this year Russia demanded the removal from the file deposit an archive with correspondence of a certain Igor Osadchyi, since providing free access to correspondence violated Russian law. Russia also demanded that the user who uploaded the archive be blocked. The media believe Osadchyi to be connected with Concord, a company belonging Evegeniy Prigozhin, as well as with a certain “Internet Research Agency”.

According to information provided by hackers, this agency coordinates the activities of the so-called Kremlin Trolls – people who respond on pages critical of Russian government policy with mocking, critical and abusive comments including on websites belonging to foreign media.


Translated by Kirill Mikhailov, edited by Myron Spolsky

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