Leaked Kremlin memos reveal plan to destabilize Ukraine


The Kiberkhunta hacker group has dumped 2,000 messages from Putin aide Vladislav Surkov's email, including two documents related to the Kremlin's plans to consolidate their annexation of Ukraine: "Priority Action Plan to Destabilize the Social-Political Situation in Ukraine," and "Concrete Action Plan on the Promotion of the Federal Status of Zakarpattia Oblast." Read the rest

Left-wing activists across the former USSR launch "September," to rally opposition to far-right movements


September is a new website launched by left-wing groups in Ukraine, Belarus, and other former Soviet states, devoted to finding common cause among activists across the region (the name is a bit of an inside joke about the October, 1917 revolution, embodied in the site's strapline, "It’s not October yet, but it’s close"). Read the rest

Wolf-themed Russian biker gang is exactly as you expect

It's like something out of Mad Max: a Russian biker gang-cum-militia wearing wolfy helmets, operating in the ruins of Eastern Ukraine. They are "fiercely loyal" to Vladimir Putin and to Christ, but not to families they left behind. Read the rest

Steampunk diving mask

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Tie your shoes the Ukrainian way

The "Ukrainian lacing" method puts a pair of loops in both sets of top eyelets, cross-laces to the bottom, and anchors the laces with a pair of hidden knots, so that you can slip your foot into a "tied" shoe, then tighten it and tie a perfect bow with no loose ends. Read the rest

Caterpillar cosplay/cyberpunk braces

From Ukrainian leatherworker/fetishwear-purveyor/steampunk/fashion designer Bob Basset, a pair of "Caterpillar" arm braces made from "Natural leather, steel furniture." Read the rest

Anatomical bags and accessories from Konstantin Kofta

Kiev-based Konstantin Kofta makes leather bags and accessories that mimic human anatomy, sometimes making it look like there are hands clutching at the wearer, sometimes looking like the wearer's skin has been flayed and used to make the bags. Read the rest

Claims of looting at MH17 crash-site

An article in The Wire, citing mostly tabloid and Ukrainian government sources, claims that locals and separatists looted the wreckage of MH17, creating difficulties for forensic investigators. Read the rest

Rebels seize MH17 plane crash black boxes and bodies, human remains shipped on train to unknown site

Xeni Jardin recaps the latest news from Ukraine, where securing the crash site of Flight MH17 remains an open question

Twitterbot catches Russian State Media anonymously editing MH17 Wikipedia entry

A bot that monitors Wikipedia for edits from Russian government IPs recorded a change to the MH17 entry, assigning blame to "Ukrainian soldiers" (a previous edit had blamed it on "terrorists of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic with Buk system missiles, which the terrorists received from the Russian Federation"). Read the rest

Ukrainian science fiction subgenre predicted current conflict

For years, Ukrainian science fiction writers have been producing novels about a Russian takeover of Ukraine. Read the rest

Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 reported shot down in Ukraine near Russian border

Around 11:00AM ET today, Interfax, CNN, and other news agencies began reporting that Malaysia Airlines flight 17, heading from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, crashed in eastern Ukraine.

Some 280 passengers and at least 15 crew members, a total of 295 lives, are believed to have been on board the Boeing 777 passenger jet. This is the second crash involving Malaysia Airlines within the past few months.

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Cops bust cybercrook who sent heroin to Brian Krebs

Sergei "Fly" Vovnenko, a Russo-Ukrainian cybercrook who stalked and harassed security journalist Brian Krebs -- at one point conspiring to get him arrested by sending him heroin via the Silk Road -- has been arrested. According to Krebs, Vovnenko was a prolific credit-card crook, specializing in dumps of stolen Italian credit-card numbers, and faces charges in Italy and the USA. Krebs documents how Vovnenko's identity came to light because he installed a keylogger on his own wife's computer, which subsequently leaked her real name, which led to him. Read the rest

We visited Ukraine's Palace of Corruption

Jasmina Tesanovic ventures into the "Palace of Corruption" where deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych partied and gloried in graft while the #Euromaidan raged on his doorstep. Tesanovic was in Serbia when Milosevic was deposed, and she reflects on the careers of post-Soviet dictators.

Armed, masked Russian separatists seize "decadent" hackspace in Donetsk, Ukraine

The Izolyatsia makerspace in Donetsk, Ukraine, has been seized by armed, masked Russian separatists from the Donetsk People's Republic, who denounced it as "decadent" and accused it of being "an American-funded anti-Russian organisation which supports fascism and develops decadent kind of arts." Izolyatsia is the first hackerspace to be occupied by an armed militia. Read the rest

Photos from the mansion of deposed Ukrainian president Yanukovych

Bruce Sterling's in Kiev, where he toured deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych's lavish, notorious palace, camera in hand: he's posted his photoset capturing everything from the gardens to the private boxing-ring. Read the rest

Russia's army of paid astroturfers message-bomb western coverage of Ukraine

A set of documents leaked by a group identifying itself as Russian hackers purports to be training materials for Russian psyops agents who were paid to make favorable comments about Russia's position in Ukraine on western media websites. The group of fake commenters, called the Internet Research Agency, is based in Saint Petersburg, and its operatives were ordered to maintain multiple commenter identities based on certain archetypes, and to post a minimum quota of pro-Russia messages every day. Included in the documents are per-site strategy notes for preventing moderators from erasing messages (for example, on Worldnetdaily, do not use "vulgar reactions to the political work of Barack Obama.")

These tactics are familiar ones. Rebecca MacKinnon's indispensable book Consent of the Networked describes the Chinese government's "Fifty Cent Army," each paid 0.5RMB per message pro-government postings. And of course, the 2011 HB Gary leak revealed the existence of a US Air Force RFP seeking "persona management" software that would let US psyops operatives maintain up to 20 fake identities from which to post pro-US messages on Arab-world websites. Read the rest

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