The Ukraine government has accused Vladimir Putin and the Russian security services of being responsible for recent cyber attacks targeting Ukraine. Russia has also been accused of providing equipment and personnel to the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Since I, and most people, could never hope to understand the intricacies of investigating who was responsible for a cyber attack, this just devolves into a he-said she-said situation. And based on the current situation in Ukraine, as well as the Russian government’s penchant for hacking, I’d say these are some pretty legit allegations.
Of course, Russia is denying this as it denies any involvement in the eastern Ukraine conflict, or any ambitions to expand Russia’s territory/sphere of influence in eastern Europe. But Ukraine’s hypothesis that the real reason behind this attack was to disrupt major business and government operations makes a lot of sense, especially since Russia seems to have succeeded in that aim.
So the Russians and Ukrainians will have there opinions. But the opinions that matter here is the opinion of the international community, particularly the EU and US. If the evidence of Russian guilt in this attack is compelling enough to the US, for example, Trump may have to abandon his quest to abandon the sanctions on Russia, perhaps opening the door to new sanctions in the future. This might have a very significant effect on Putin’s course of action, but we don’t really know how bad the political situation is over there.
We do know that Putin arrested Alexei Navalny, the leader of the Russian opposition, while he was on the way to an anti-corruption protest that he organized, which is suspicious to say the least. On the one hand, that could be a show of strength on Putin’s part because he’s basically saying that he can arrest anybody anytime, since the official reasons for Navalny’s arrest are so obviously bullshit. On the other hand, it could be a sign of desperation, since Putin wouldn’t bother arresting him (in the most ironic way possible, I might add) if he weren’t actually somewhat of a problem for the government.
The fact that they carried out this cyber attack may indicate that taking Ukraine is important to impressing/distracting the people from all the corruption allegations stemming from those protests. This would also mean, of course, that Putin is down with basically being an enemy of the West, assuming he ever puts official Russian boots on the ground in eastern Ukraine.
So, we’re gonna have to wait this out, but if this gets recognized by the international community things will certainly be accelerated. If one thing is clear, it’s that Putin is only getting bolder and bolder (I suspect he’ll be a regular fixture on Bold Moves Weekly) and he’s certainly not concerned if he’s the world’s bad guy.