Russia has garnered one of its biggest enemies yet in its current invasion of Ukraine – Anonymous, which is claiming that it hijacked Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regularly scheduled television propaganda programming. The notorious international activist-hacking group is taking responsibility for the mass disruption of multiple Russian television broadcasts on a couple of popular streaming services and state media channels this past weekend.
Anonymous, which has been involved in high-profile leaks throughout its nearly 20-year history, aired real war footage from Ukraine on the Russian streaming services and state media channels, instead of the news programs that were scheduled to be playing. The reports and videos that were shown on the networks that were hacked appear to show Anonymous. As a result, Russian citizens were able to see real footage of Ukrainian civilians being bombed and forced to flee their homes.
Anonymous reported about its alleged hacking of the Russian networks on Twitter on Sunday:
Anonymous’ hacking of the networks is significant because it showed Russians what’s really happening in Ukraine. Many Russians don’t even believe there’s a war happening, or that their country is being aggressive towards Ukraine, due to the programming Putin has approved to air on the networks.
Reportedly, 70 percent of Russians support the invasion of Ukraine. That opinion has created in part because the country’s television networks have been spinning the narrative of the invasion to say that their country is fighting Nazism and saving Ukraine.
So, to stop that way of thinking, Anonymous shared with the Russian people the information they’re not being told by their government. But despite the new information they’re receiving, Russians face stiff penalties for supporting those facts and protesting the war, including years of jail time.
Anonymous’ hacking of the country’s networks comes after they sent a message to Putin late last month that threatened action like the hacking, and the group is claiming that it followed through. However, Russian officials are denying Anonymous has done anything to derail their plans.