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Kremlin Kids: We Launched the Estonian Cyber War

Kremlin Kids: We Launched the Estonian Cyber War
Kremlin Kids: We Launched the Estonian Cyber War

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By Noah Shachtman 
Danger Room
March 11, 2009

Like the online strikes against Georgia, the origins of the 2007 cyber 
attacks on Estonia remain hazy. Everybody suspects the Russian 
government was somehow behind the assaults; no one has been able to 
prove it. At least so far. A pro-Kremlin youth group has taken 
responsibility for the network attacks. And that group has a track 
record of conducting operations on Moscow's behalf.

Nashi ("Ours") is the "largest of a handful of youth movements created 
by Mr. Putin=E2=80=99s Kremlin to fight for the hearts and minds of Russia=E2=80=99s 
young people in schools, on the airwaves and, if necessary, on the 
streets," according to the New York Times.

Yesterday, one of the group's "commissars," Konstantin Goloskokov 
(pictured), told the Financial Times that he and some associates had 
launched the strikes. "I wouldn't have called it a cyber attack; it was 
cyber defense," he said. "We taught the Estonian regime the lesson that 
if they act illegally, we will respond in an adequate way." He made 
similar claims, in 2007.

If true, it would be only one in a long string of propaganda drives the 
group has waged in support of the Kremlin. Not only has Nashi waged 
intimidation campaigns against the British and Estonian ambassadors to 
Moscow, and staged big pro-Putin protests. Not only has been it been 
accused of launching denial-of-service attacks against unfriendly 
newspapers. Last month, Nashi activist Anna Bukovskaya acknowledged that 
the group was paid by Moscow to spy on other youth movements. The 
project, for which she was paid about $1100 per month, included 
obtaining "videos and photos to compromise the opposition, data from 
their computers; and, as a separate track, the dispatch of 
provocateurs," she told a Russian television channel.


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