MOSCOW—Russian domestic politics are being influenced by hacking tactics similar to ones Russia is accused of using to try to weaken its foreign opponents.
Documents found in email accounts hackers said are linked to Russian officials helped fuel recent protests across Russia against corruption. The documents were released by a shadowy group called Anonymous International—also known as “Shaltai Boltai,” which is Russian for Humpty Dumpty.
Alexei Navalny, an anticorruption activist who mobilized the protests, featured some of the documents in a video released beforehand alleging that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev used a network of friends to help hide his wealth and property.
Some of the tens of thousands of people who took part in the protests carried pairs of sneakers—an apparent reference to official photos shown in the video of Medvedev wearing what looked like Nike sneakers. The video showed an online order for similar sneakers from what the hackers had previously said was a Google
mail account linked to the prime minister. The order was in someone else’s name, a sign, the video alleged, that Medvedev relied on intermediaries.
The video has garnered over 20 million views on YouTube. Navalny—who said he was largely blinded in one eye when an attacker splashed him recently with antiseptic dye—is planning a new series of marches next month. The government is trying to discourage Russians from participating.
The Wall Street Journal hasn’t been able to verify the claims made by Navalny in the video. At least one individual named in the video has pursued legal action over it, and another has said he plans to.
An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com .
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