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The Daily Vertical: Russia's Cyber-Jujitsu (Transcript)

  • Brian Whitmore

The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL.

A good rule of thumb if you want to know what Russia is doing is to pay close attention to what it is accusing the West of doing.

Russia's new cybersecurity doctrine, which was approved by Vladimir Putin on December 6, is a good case in point.

According to the document, Western countries are increasing their cybercapacities to attack Russian infrastructure and achieve military and political objectives.

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Now if that sounds familiar, it should.

Because this is exactly what Russia has been doing in recent years with Russian hackers blamed for cyberattacks on targets including the Polish stock market, a French television station, and a German steelmaker.

Russia's cybersecurity doctrine also claims the West is also seeking to use hacking attacks to exert psychological influence on Russia and destabilize it.

And if that sounds familiar too, well, it should.

Because this is exactly what Moscow did with allegations of hacks on targets including the Bundestag, the White House, the U.S. House of Representatives, and the U.S. State Department.

And it is exactly what Russia did when -- according to U.S. intelligence agencies -- it intervened in the U.S. election by hacking the Democratic National Committee's email server and leaked the data.

Russia has been hacking the West with impunity for years.

And the new cybersecurity doctrine is an indication that Putin understands that the West has woken up to this -- and it is about to be payback time.

The Kremlin is bracing itself to get a taste of its own medicine.

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