Earlier this week Anonymous International, the Russian hacker group, released the final batch of emails they poached from the office of Timur Prokopenko. Prokopenko, who rose to stardom as one of the leaders of the youth movement within Putin’s party, until recently served as head of Domestic Policy Department at the Kremlin, effectively in charge of spinning any media story the way Putin wanted it (and paying, or threatening, any media that refused to comply). As of January 2015, he was promoted in charge of Federal Issues and Elections.
The new batch of emails shows a sinister, vengeful side of the Kremlin. We see for instance that the Kremlin had regular access to the mailbox of opposition figure Navalny, and thus found out that he was getting information about high-level corruption from the CEO of Mikhail Friedman’s Alfa Group, Vlarimir Ashurkov. Putin, we find out, was not content with getting Ashurkov fired; we see that Propokenko’s office sent “tip-offs” to the police and prosecutors asking them to investigate him for various petty or non-crimes. (currently Ashurkov lives in the UK where he has asked for political asylum). We also see how the Kremlin kept track of emails accounts of opposition bloggers, spied on inconvenient media executives, and engineered the closure of TV Dozhd in early 2014. On the more surreal side, we read about the larger-than-life attempt by the Kremlin to turn Putin’s birthday into a global event, with the Kremlin commissioning graffiti artists to paint “thank you, Putin-the-peace-maker” arrangements in European capitals, as well as these toddlers in Poland to sing a happy birthday song. But all these deserve separate posts.
Some of the most disturbing emails, however, relate to the preparation work for the Crimean “Feferendum”. Not only did the Kremlin micro-manage the whole pre-referendum process – from commissioning and approving flyers and posters, to actually writing the statements of “local government” bodies, to deciding when the “exit poll data” must be released to the press (“after 22:00 hrs”). Top Kremlin officials actually planned false-flag election campaigns, aied at scare the Crimean population into voting away from a Ukraine, showcased as a country of blood-thirsty extremists.
On March 9th 2014, a week before the Referendum, an email was forwarded to Pyotr Sidorov, working in the office of Evgeny Grachev, Putin’s man in charge of “Relations with public organizations” . The original sender, emailing from an anonymous account late in the evening on March 8th, cannot be identified from the mail headers as the email was forwarded. The forwarded email contained the following text:
“This is the result of our joint efforts with ST.
The email contained also an attachment titled “Preparation for Ref”, authored – according to the doc properties – by a certain Dmitriy Mamontov. Like most of the names in the mail archive, this is a fake nomme-de-plume. However, through cross referencing it to other documents from the same “author” and Skype usernames , I have identified this person to be a certain Stanislav (thus the “St” in the email). This Stanislav, we see from many other emails, was often tasked to write Kremlin-inspired “assassination” articles against inconvenient political figures, which he wrote under the name Stanislav Nikolaev.
At any rate, here are a few direct quotes from the attachment to the email, authored by Stanislav:
“Negative PR activities
…To create a site/webpage in the internet on behalf of Ukrainian nationalists, directly appealing to vote for the region to remain within Ukraine. The web-page design should be in red-brown colors, reminiscent of the brown “plague”, to the fascist aesthetics. The site should include videos and photos of pogroms, violence, atrocities, and so forth, which the Ukrainian nationalists conduct against “unpatriotic” citizens of the Region.
..Walls of buildings should be covered with extremist slogans such as “Beat the Jews”, “The region belongs to Ukrainians”, “Tatars – get out of the Region”, as well as appeals to the self-awareness of Ukrainian patriots such as “We won’t give the Region to the Muscovites”.
…Implementation of staged local activities of provocative character, the results of which will be impediment of the residents to vote freely in cases where this may be necessary”
..Activists find batches of leaflets, containing direct appeals to boycott of the referendum, openly nationalistic slogans, and evidence that these were prepared by Ukrainian nationalists”.
…Representatives of the LGBT community will release an appeal to vote for remaining within Ukraine…A dispatch of LGBT activists will show up in cities of the Region and organize rallies in support of Kiev. Their speeches will include the theme in support of same-sex marriage, a part of the democratic doctrine of the EU, which has already been approved by the West and will be realized in the near term.
..In the press, articles will show up about new facts being discovered about the crimes perpetrated by S. Bandera against peaceful citizens. Bandera supporters have tortured inhumanely hundreds of innocent children.
..The press will publish articles about the fact, that by analogy to the activities of local government in Vinnitsa, where foreign investors were allowed to buy a plot with shale gas reserves, in this region also strange things are happening. There has been an agreement that one of the historical monuments – Swallow Nest – in case the nationalists do win, will be a residence of the US Ambassador.
Following the section on “Negative PR”, the proposal includes a lengthy “Positive PR” section, mostly focused on releasing public opinion surveys that indicate the majority of Crimean residents want to secede from Ukraine, and all the many splendors of life in Russia. The full text of the proposal can be read here, and in a rough Google-translation here.
There is no evidence if any of the proposals contained in this email were ever implemented. And indeed, they seem way too complex, and might have required more time to put into action than the week remaining afforded. And yes, they seem too sinister and, in a way, childish, even for the Kremlin.
However, even taking this email with the largest possible grain of salt, based on my analysis of the email headers and general coherence of these and other emails from the same source in this huge mail archive spanning 3 years, I must conclude that this was an actual, non-forged email, forwarded early in the morning on March 9th 2014 from a Moscow IP address, via a mobile-phone (Megaphone GPRS) connection. The probabalistic analysis of sender and recipient, as well as document author, confirms beyond any doubt that the author and recipients work for the Kremlin.
You can check the email header verification report here.
You can download the complete archive from this torrent.
To be continued