back to article Russia stares admiringly at itself, flexes internet muscles

The Russian government has again intimated that it is prepared to cut itself off from the global internet, with a presidential aide telling a Russian news network that it is "ready for anything." Russian presidential aide on the internet, German Klimenko, took an unusual tack: he suggested that Western nations would be the …

Anonymous Coward

Cutting off Russia from the Internet

If really done, would certainly make the rest of the world safer. Especially eastern Europe.

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Re: Cutting off Russia from the Internet

I think you'd find all the putinbots suddenly start coming from Ukrainian ISP's (in pro-Russian territory). Russia isn't stupid.

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The policy is not exactly isolationist

This is more complex.

Britain, USA, etc have had both legacies and companies interested in keeping these legacies alive. Compared to that the destruction of the Soviet union and the Eastern block as a whole buldozed a lot of that. As a result they have been using the net extensively across the board in cases where we have still stuck with private lines, private networks and god forbid copper and modems.

So, for them, the Internet is truly a piece of critical infrastructure on par with the grid. That is their viewpoint and they have put all the measures necessary for it to function if we decide to mess with it.

In theory, we should do the same. We even have the minister of defence and the chiefs of staff advocating for it and threatening us with the consequences if we do not. In practice, all the fear-mongering by Gavin Williamson and Sir Stewart Peach is rather pointless. UK's economy depends on the links - without them the financial services are as good as dead.

That is different from the Russian economy which is significantly less dependent on external connectivity.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

That is different from the Russian economy which is significantly less dependent on external connectivity.

I beg to differ. Crime needs an economy to derive its parasitic existence from. Selling cabbages grown by Russian peasant Vlad to Russian peasant Dmitiri doesn't generate the excess economic value for much crime.

Absent gas revenues, the Russian state is bankrupt. But I must confess a sneaking admiration for the way Vlad Putin plays the shameless baddy, happily murdering people in other countries because he thinks there will be no reprisals. Then I look at Theresa May, and I too think "there will be no reprisals".

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Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

Absent gas revenues, the Russian state is bankrupt.

Correct. You could have quoted Medvedev on that. The quote is quite good. If you actually knew what you were talking about.

Then I look at Theresa May, and I too think "there will be no reprisals".

Correct again. She cannot admit it though. She is scared shitless to disclose the full info on what looks like an attack with stuff similar to the stuff used in the Moscow Theater siege, because:

1. The only provable Russian link in that case is that this class of nerve agents are a Russian invention and the victim is a Russian which got paid 100k by the UK state (documented) and somehow bought a house with cash (no mortgage) worth 260k (according to land registry), a BMW and brought wife, daughter and son to the UK. That by itself needs no further comment.

2. Trying to demonstrate any proof beyond 1 means showing the "recipe" of the stuff used in the Moscow Theatre siege - you have to show chemical analysis proof and "signatures". Here comes the scary part - It looks like it can be mixed using components available from your local dope dealer and your local vet as well as readily available solvents. I doubt that you can show any proof based on chemical analysis alone. However, let's assume for a second that she can.

If she starts showing enough proof to prove a credible Russian government connection, the information on what is in Kolokol class which is now limited to several hundred "security" people standing behind "businessmen" living in the beautiful city of Londongrad will become public and available to the bearded idiots who usually mix up acetone peroxide. That is a genie which WILL one day get out of the bottle, but prior to that date no politician will risk opening the Pandora's box. So do not expect her to.

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Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

> "But I must confess a sneaking admiration for the way Vlad Putin plays the shameless baddy, happily murdering people in other countries because he thinks there will be no reprisals."

This is and has been how Russian governance has operated for a very long time. They take vengeance on any person they feel has personally betrayed their trust, regardless of any possible reprisals. Nothing new here.

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Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

Then I look at Theresa May, and I too think "there will be no reprisals".

May as "victim" or "perpetrator"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

This is and has been how Russian governance

Who told you it is "governance". The entire Slavic part of Europe (Polish are even more extreme than Russians on it) rates Betrayal as a deadly sin and towards the top of the rankings.

In any case, it is similar to the previous case to a large extent.

In the previous case, the government found a character called Jeff Steele to do the following:

1. Carefully avoid investigating the business relationship between Litvinenko and Berezovski and other esteemed inhabitants of Londongrad.

2. Carefully avoid investigating the multiple business deals and investment Litvinenko put a hatchet into by writing reports with interesting contents. The ones that have leaked since describe some scenes of orgies which are very similar to some infamous Steele work of late (the golden shower with hookers bit).

3. Carefully avoid the fact that there are hundreds people around the UK which can testify about the lively black/grey market in radioactive materials which existed in the ex-Soviet block from the fall of the wall till ~ mid-2000s.

4. Draw a conjecture that "because it used a radioactive isotope only a state can do it".

As a result UK now has to f*** up its foreign policy and interfere in internal American affairs immediately vouching for anything Jeff Steele does so that people do not have a look at his previous hatchet job and its credibility.

That is something that is sorely lacking in his current work too. The Trump dossier he published contained a whole list of meetings which could not be done without participants leaving a trail of stamps in their passports one mile wide as well as records at border crossings.

Any news on that? None. And that is for a reason - this work of his is as credible and as supported by actual facts as his Litvinenko inquiry.

What we see now is a repeat of that and the mandarin in charge of this inquiry will also go through the revolving door to run a private eye same as Mr Steele and UK state will be vouching for his work for decades. Just in case - so noone looks at his prior record.

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Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

"similar to the stuff used in the Moscow Theater siege"

What? The theatre gas was a large area quick-knockout agent pumped in by the Russians. The point of using it was not to kill the civilians, which it didn't (unless their heads nodded off in the wrong direction blocking their airway so they quickly suffocated...).

It sounds exactly not like the Salisbury chemical.

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Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

"Absent gas revenues, the Russian state is bankrupt".

Apart from being the world's largest exporter of wheat, second-largest exporter of arms, and major constructor of nuclear power stations. Among literally dozens of other things.

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Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

"...........what looks like an attack with stuff similar to the stuff used in the Moscow Theater siege.........."

Wrong. That incident used a BZ-type chemical agent, based on quinuclidine chemistry. Nothing like the organophosphorous nerve agents

What else have you got wrong?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The policy is not exactly isolationist

"Absent gas revenues, the Russian state is bankrupt".......Apart from being the world's largest exporter of wheat, second-largest exporter of arms, and major constructor of nuclear power stations. Among literally dozens of other things.

Wheat I'll give you, although that's not always been the case. Being the busiest constructor of its own designs of dodgy unsafe nuclear power stations, largely for domestic use....you think that's a good thing? FFS. And then "world's second largest exporter of arms". Wow. Well done. I'm so impressed that Russia exports death in kit form for other people, in addition to exporting death directly to people who piss it off.

Lets look at the the list of "countries friendly to Russia". At the top, there's Syria, and the Good 'Ole Boy, Assad. Well done Russia, you've got such great friends who buy your weapons. I am of course enjoying Russia's love-hate relationship between Putin and Erdogan. The Turks and their allies kill Russian pilots, and in return Russia sells Turkey weapons. And so it goes on. I'll say it again, since you obvious didn't get it, Russia is dependent upon foreign energy sales. Without that income, Russia's rusty fleet would finally sink, its threadbare aviation sector would disappear. I suppose Kaspersky's a fine software export....oh, no, maybe not. Bwahahahahahahahaa.

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At that Canadian conference, the main US government representative, Assistant Secretary of Commerce David Redl, used a significant part of his speech to criticize China and Russia.

"In some countries, governments are responding with restrictive and isolationist policies," he said. "These include censorship, blocking, demanding a 'right to be forgotten,' and requiring localized data storage. These policies seek to maintain the perception that our borderless, open Internet can be managed, bounded, and conformed to fit with local laws."

How do we know that this was meant as criticism of China and Russia - the description could easily apply to the UK as well.

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How do we know that this was meant as criticism of China and Russia - the description could easily apply to the UK as well.

Re-reading this part this is pretty much the rest of the world. The "right to be forgotten" is much more continental than British.

In fact, specifically including it in the rant gives the best possible perspective on the viewpoint of the author of the rant as well as who paid him to provide it. The only answer this rant deserves is "f*ck off and comply with the local laws".

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Laws are good for us/you

"These policies seek to maintain the perception that our borderless, open Internet can be managed, bounded, and conformed to fit with local laws."

What a typical US contempt for the laws of sovereign states except for themselves. Airlines are a world-wide business but have to respect local laws, as do shipping lines and even motorists driving about the world. The same should apply to the Internet. OK, there are problems; but that is what techies are for, to solve problems, not to just give up.

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Are you in or are you out?

I wonder if the senior management of Kaspersky have strongly caught the fitness craze and are now taking frequent random walks through city parks and trails, just chatting together, y'kno?

Surely that bug hunting security firm has a bug out plan for their own security!

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Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Putin.

I cut off Russia about a year after they were "officially" connected to the rest of the planet. There was entirely too much noise from that direction ... A couple decades later, and I still can't detect any loss of signal.

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Re: Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Putin.

I guess people who think all russians are evil dont get many emails from the outside world anyway?

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Re: Don't let the door hit you in the ass, Putin.

I wouldn't know, tovarishch.

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Country of BubbleNet

We talk.. we share.. but I matter first, so whatever you're doing needs my approval.

Feel free to do my will.

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So Kremvax wasn't real after all?

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kremvax was very real.

Dead as of 2016 ...Memorial page hanging off of DEMOS, IP address 194.87.0.20 at the moment ... Some Russians are/were whitelisted here.

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Anonymous Coward

No shit, Sherlock

Russia is also going to cut itself off from the well-known and vibrant global community of those who manufacture chemical warfare agents outlawed by the Geneva Convention and deploy them in foreign countries with no regard for citizens' safety.

(signed) Santa Claus

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Re: No shit, Sherlock

chemical warfare agents outlawed by the Geneva Convention

Here is some news for you. Even if they manufactured the stuff used in Salisbury (the components are available from your friendly vet and dope dealer), it is NOT OUTLAWED by the Geneva convention.

The international community has failed to outlaw fentanyl and the other bits which have been detected by German and other labs on the victims of the Moscow Theater siege are legit veterinary sedatives. In fact, till recently you could buy fentanyl mail order from China off AliBaba. That is the level to which it is "outlawed".

Now, why it is that and not VX/Sarin/Soman/Tabun. Multiple reasons:

1. The issues the police and the army are having deactivating the scenery. Fentanyl and other opioids do not have an easy deactivation procedure. You cannot take a garden sprayer, fill it with even a weak base solution (f.e diluted NaOH) and be done with it the way you can deal with the VX group.

2. The amount of time things stay contaminated. VX group would have evaporated or undergone decomposition with the moisture from the air long ago (decomposition rate depends - from very high for tabun to moderate for sarin and VX). Fentanyl and Co stay.

3. The two "headline victims" are still alive. You do not survive a VX gas dose which has rendered you unconscious. Atropine has to be administered before that. At the same time, the standard procedure for paramedics if they find a couple unconscious on a bench is to suspect a drug overdose and stuff some narkan into them. That worked in Moscow a decade ago, probably worked here.

Now, if they outlaw fentanil and friends as a result and apply anti-terror legislation to the dope dealers and their paymasters living in mansions in Chelsea and Kent we are up to some fun. Popcorn anyone?

In any case - it is not outlawed by the Geneva conventions. Yet. IMHO it should, but it is not. This is to some extent our (the West) fault. We should have moved in to outlaw it right after the Moscow Theatre incident. We did not.

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Re: No shit, Sherlock

Actually, so far the only violation of Geneva convention is on UK side.

Convention has a well defined procedure for blaming the other side. Samples on the table and 10 days to answer.

UK so far is openly violating it and refusing to comply. Why I am not surprised...

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Re: No shit, Sherlock

To take some of Volands comments

1) " Even if they manufactured the stuff used in Salisbury (the components are available from your friendly vet and dope dealer...............)

Total rubbish. The nerve agent used is a damned sight more sophisticated than that

2) "The international community has failed to outlaw fentanyl and the other bits which have been detected by German and other labs on the victims of the Moscow Theater siege are legit veterinary sedatives"

More rubbish. The active molecule at the theatre seige was a derivative of BZ - see

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3-Quinuclidinyl_benzilate

The Russians like that one a lot. Nothing to do with fentanyl

3) Decontamination. The agents used are more resistant to chemical breakdown than VX and the classic nerve gases. They stay active longer and are harder to decontaminate - hence the delays

4) The victims are probably alive because the agent was delivered in powder form, probably as an aerosol. It looks like the Russians fucked up on the delivery method

5) Chemical weapons are banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention, nothing to do with the Geneva Conventions

https://www.opcw.org/chemical-weapons-convention/

At the moment you're sounding like Putin's right hand, not Voland's

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No shit, Sherlock

At the moment you're sounding like Putin's right hand, not Voland's

At the moment? Every fucking post more like.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: No shit, Sherlock

Voland's Right Hand: In any case - it is not outlawed by the Geneva conventions. Yet. IMHO it should, but it is not. This is to some extent our (the West) fault.

You score a technical point for being correct that it is not outlawed, on the other hand you lose two for saying "in any case". The fuckers used nerve agents to kill somebody outside their jurisdiction, it is really immaterial whether Geneva Fucking Convention applies or not. And you lose five more points for "our (the West) fault", since the "our" is entirely negated by the fact that you seem to be far too enthusiastically arguing for Russia.

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Anonymous Coward

some countries, governments are responding with restrictive and isolationist policies,

censorship, blocking... he's not talking about UK now, is he? I mean, I know it's a sign of Russian trolling, when you point out that we're like them (or "you're no better than us"), but then, whenever you point Western hypocrisy, you end up a Russian troll... Of course, it's always been the case, that "they" train terrorists, while we train "freedom fighters", and vice versa, but I wish both sides stopped claiming to be a Virgin Mary, quite contrary (ah yes, Russian trolling again :/

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Facepalm

But when Internet terminates you ...

... there be no more horrorshow groodies! Who you gonna tolchock in the yarbles if you can't get yer glazzfilly? Glasnost! Perestroika!

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Devil

the Ruskies still mostly use Wally Wundus

If they didn't expose themselves to the mackas attackas then they would be a lot safer.

i am surprised that Russia hasn't done as China once did, China produced a National (Red Flag) Linux, before returning to Microsoft Windows {Snicker, snicker}.

Russia could produce their own robust operating system to keep the country under the oligarch’s thumb perhaps, perhaps it would include many developments beyond the soft and lazy old west tripe, and that could keep the Russian virtual world of connections safe and sure and above board.

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The statements are somewhat imprecise.

The 'local data storage policy' most probably refers to Federal Law 152 ("On personal data"), which requires any entity processing personal data of Russian citizens to keep the primary DB containing those data on Russian territory.

The above requirement is absurd from viewpoint of any right-minded IT specialist; if the law is enforced, the absolute majority of Internet services will face a choice of either keeping Russian citizens data in Russia, or simply stopping servicing Russian citizens. The latter is most probable, since the actual goal of that requirement is allowing government services simpler access to anyone's personal data.

It should also be noted that the above restrictive and isolationist laws have been written by people having no real understanding how Internet and networking in general work; hence such laws that will not benefit anyone but those lawmakers and those lobbying such laws. So the above "Internet muscles play" doesn't reflect the opinions and/or needs of actual IT experts from Russia and majority of Internet users.

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Read their laws. In the original. I wish we could poach whoever did the technical part. Definitely knew what they are doing. Light years ahead of our numpties.

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WMDs

Russia has just used a nerve agent: a "weapon of mass destruction" in the UK. For many years the UK has had a military policy which places all WMDs into the same category: as we have no chemical weapons, we would retaliate to such an attack with a nuclear strike.

I guess we're unlikely to nuke Russia just for one old spy, but cutting them off from the internet does sound justifiable retaliation - and would cripple their economy

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Re: WMDs

"...as we [the UK] have no chemical weapons..."

What on earth makes you think that? Have you forgotten that the UK was a world leader in the development of nerve agents?

And how do you think that the agent used in Salisbury was identified? Hint, it was not by looking it up in the Observer's book of nerve agents. No, it is only possible to identify something when you have enough detailed information about it to enable an identification, so how was that detailed knowledge obtained? Well, I think we can discount the possibility that the UK simply asked Russia for some samples and Russia said "sure, here you go - we've got loads".

It is a certainty that both the U.K. and the U.S, along with China, N. Korea, and quite a few other countries will have had not only the wherewithal to make this stuff themselves but would have had a pressing need to make it, to be able to study it to, in turn, be able to counter it. Failure to do so would be negligent.

PM May's assertion that the only way that some of it could have turned up in Salisbury is if it were either supplied by the Russian government or that the Russian government had lost control of it is clearly and knowingly untrue.

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Russia Off the Internet

I have no problem with Russia coming off the internet as long as they do it soon!

Russia will be in dire straights if it cannot export it's oil and gas. The west needs to obtain it's oil and gas from elsewhere. It CAN be done. An unhappy population will then turn on its' leader.

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Anonymous Coward

The US government is helping Russia's case...

... by insisting they have full jurisdiction on all servers owned by US companies, wherever they are in the world, with total contempt for local justice rules.

If that Microsoft Ireland case goes in their favour, Russia will have its vindication.

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OH, wrong country.

When I read the subhead on the article, I thought it was the Russian aide in the WH.

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"Someone will face connection troubles."

Hello,

Reading between the lines of state media outlet RT.COM, I have to wonder if G. Klimenko's comment is more of a veiled warning that Russia will retaliate against being cut-off from the internet by attacking computers outside its borders.

Given the problems of threat attribution for such cyber-attacks, it seems likely that if such events were to occur, Russia would be responding immediately with claims that they are (1) uninvolved; (2) being unfairly blamed for the attacks, all the while attempting to conduct more damaging attacks against critical infrastructure.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

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