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Leonid Bershidsky

Russia Expects a Taste of Its Own Cyber Medicine

The Kremlin understands meddling with Western elections is a high-risk game.
Live by the sword...

Live by the sword...

Photographer: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Russia, demonized as the biggest cyber-villain in the world in the wake of the U.S. election campaign, must now take special care of its own information security. Its adversaries don't just possess powerful cyber-spying and offensive capabilities -- they suspect Russian involvement in every incident, and that makes Russia vulnerable to all kinds of retaliation. 

After it was accused of trying to influence the U.S. presidential race, Russia faces the same charges in Germany. Given Chancellor Angela Merkel's support of anti-Russian sanctions and her deep-seated support of a close partnership with the U.S., Russian President Vladimir Putin has strong motives to undermine her. Last week, WikiLeaks, which appeared to closely coordinate its U.S. election-related publications with Russian propaganda outlets such as the RT channel and Sputnik network of websites, published material from a German parliamentary inquiry into the cooperation between Germany's BND intelligence service and the U.S. National Security Agency. The issue is politically sensitive to privacy-minded Germans, who do not appreciate their country's collaboration with the intrusive U.S. service. The Russian propaganda organizations were on it immediately.