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12 March 2009, 07:51

Russian youth movement claims to have carried out cyber attacks on Estonia

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An operative of the now largely defunct Nashe ("Ours") Russian youth movement has told the Financial Times (FT) Moscow correspondent that he was instrumental in the cyber attacks on Estonia in April 2007. During a conflict with Moscow about a memorial for soldiers of the Red Army in the former Soviet Republic, large-scale DDoS attacks were used to bring Estonia's IT infrastructure to an almost complete standstill. "I wouldn't have called it a cyber attack – it was cyber defence," Nashe operative Konstantin Goloskokov was quoted to have said to the Financial Times.

"We taught the Estonian regime the lesson that if they act illegally, we will respond in an adequate way," boasted Goloskokov in the FT interview. They didn't do anything illegal, he said. "We just visited the various internet sites, over and over, and they stopped working." The Estonians' plight was caused by their own technological limitations in handling the traffic volume, he explained. During the attacks on the Estonian IT infrastructure two years ago, the country was largely cut off from the global internet, and domestic government and banking sites became inaccessible.

There were no orders from the Russian government, Goloskokov assured the newspaper. "We did everything based on our own initiative." The Nashe youth movement was established in 2005 with support from the Russian government. Its aim was to support the political course of President Dmitry Medvedev's and Head of Government Vladimir Putin's United Russia party. Nashe was actively involved, for example, in the latest Duma and presidential elections; during the conflict with Estonia, its members picketed the Estonian embassy in Moscow. Last year, however, the movement's financial support was drastically reduced. Nashe's aggressively nationalist behaviour also received an increasing amount of domestic criticism, as it put a strain on Russia's relationship to the West.

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