Under siege from Putin’s private hackers

Andrei Soldatov on an unresolved threat from the cyber-spooks

The World Today
3 minute READ

Andrei Soldatov

Russian investigative journalist and co-author of ‘The Red Web: The Struggle between Russia’s Digital Dictators and the New Online Revolutionaries’ (Public Affairs)

In the summer of 2009, the UK’s deputy consul-general in Yekaterinburg, 37-year-old James Hudson, was forced to resign days after a video purportedly showing him having sex with two prostitutes appeared on the obscure Russian website Informacia.ru.

The video, titled ‘The Adventures of Mr Hudson in Russia’, was immediately picked up by the popular tabloid Komsomolskaya Pravda and the scandal-mongering website Life.ru. In Britain The Sun tabloid published a story on the day Hudson stepped down.

The collecting of compromising materials – known as kompromat in Russian – on diplomats has been common practice since the days of the KGB, but it was highly unusual to make the information public, let alone post it online.

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