Putin superstar

“I expect you in my lab.” To get into his “lab”, you need to go to the Northern suburbs of Moscow on the 14th floor of the 1970-ies near the road. 31-year-old Alexander Warski lives there with her mother and takes up the entire living room. He sits on the couch, surrounded by eight laptops and a huge screen on which the algorithms run. It grey vest, ear — ring, and the neck is a medallion with the symbol of Batman (the name of his hacker group). He is very thin and pale, sweaty hair stuck to his forehead and his eyes in constant motion. “He’s not eating and can sit three nights without sleep,” says his mother.

Alexander became acquainted with the Internet in 10 years, and then was educated in the Institute, which specializiruetsya on the security of transport. After graduating, he signed a pledge not to leave the territory of Russia.

“You want to ask, if I’m working for Putin?” — he’s looking right at us. “Answer: no. I like it because of this” and displays a video with the President, who on coming to power, urges generals to suppress the Chechen uprising.

Alexander opens a can of beer, runs pretty grim the music of Hans Zimmer (Hans Zimmer, composer of many Hollywood blockbusters, from “Batman” to “the Beginning”) and starts banging on the wireless keyboard. “I have studied your profile,” he says one of his companions.
Suddenly the visitor sees on the screen the passwords of all their accounts over the past ten years. And account wife. It becomes awkward. But Alexander had already changed the subject. He visits the site of Gosdepartamenta USA and shows a few thousand emails of Hillary Clinton. “Protected all as bad.” Bluff? Now he visit of marine Le Pen. He grabs five minutes to get her password from LinkedIn. Then he visits the site of “Republicans”, there is a photo of françois Fillon. “Their easy to hack,” he says, opening the window with lines of code. How long does it take to get to the correspondence of the leaders of the party? “20 hours. Don’t forget Putin, I don’t work”.

Maybe… In any case, the hacker has a connection. He admits that “friend” from the Kremlin invites him to “build a system”. “I’m interested in this area”. He continues the subject and shows videos of the detention of Evgeny Nikulin in Prague on 5 October: the FBI took him for hacking 167 million accounts. “This is my good friend. What was his crime?”

The red phone

Vladimir Putin can be happy. The army is “good friends” works great. She allowed him to interfere in the American elections and facilitate the victory of Moscow-backed candidate Donald trump. The CIA, FBI and NSA are convinced that the Russian leader was in charge of the operation to of hacking into the computers of the Democratic party during the campaign. The prospect of cyber attacks on election day, put on the ears of Washington. On October 31, a week before the vote, Barack Obama even called Putin on the red phone. Until the White house used this as a means of emergency communication only twice: during the September 11 attacks and the entry of the American troops in Baghdad. “It is an act of war,” — said the President of the United States. A message was received. “Next week all was quiet,” says the knowledgeable source.
Anyway, Putin could celebrate victory. In power for 16 years the former KGB officer now he dictates the rules. In cyberspace where the hackers two weeks ago broke the power of Kiev. In the East of Ukraine, where now there are 12 thousand Russian soldiers. In Syria, where his aircraft saves Bashar al-Assad in the background came to a screeching halt in the West. Putin is even going to be a “peacemaker” for the region, which for five years tortured bloody fire, and forcing the signing of the contract in Kazakhstan, your area of influence… Far from Brussels and Washington. “Putin is playing chess and Obama checkers,” laments Senator Ted Cruz (Ted Cruz) a former candidate in the primaries of the Republicans.

The President of Russia openly laughs over this. At a meeting held shortly before the New year press conference with the participation of 1 thousand 400 journalists the representative of The Wall Street Journal asked this question: “is it Possible that next year will hold early presidential elections?” “What country?” — Putin said to the laughter of the audience.

The most powerful man in the world, according to the latest Forbes ranking, supports the image. At the end of November in time devoted to geography, he gave the microphone a nine year old boy and asked him: “Where is the boundary for Russia?”. “The Russian border over the Bering Strait from the United States…” — started to answer that, however, the Russian leader stopped him, saying that “the Russian border never ends”… “Is a joke,” he added to thunderous applause. He recalls that during his rule, everything is possible, for example, the annexation of Crimea in February 2014. “For me important is not the territory and not the border, and the fate of the people”, — he said in an interview with German newspaper Bild in January 2016.

The hegemonic impulse

“It’s not the best solution, because it frightens the Europeans” — sorry Fyodor Lukyanov, head of the influential and close to the Kremlin Council on foreign and defense policy. For example? The Baltic States are in a panic because of the imminent deployment in the Kaliningrad region “Iskander” missiles with nuclear warheads. And anticipated spring deployment 3 000 — 4 000 NATO troops will not change anything. “Our army could invade in there for the day, but such an attack would be meaningless,” he continues. “At the same time I have concern the Balkans — said Lukyanov. — We have a flow, which favors the return to the region.” Serbia, Bulgaria, and Hungary and Slovakia… “Russia’s Presence there becomes chronic, and threatens the stability of countries”, — stated in the published in October the report of the Sofia Centre for studies of democracy. This is not to mention the Czech Republic, where the Russian Embassy three times more employees than their American or Austria, where the influential far-right fpö has recently signed a cooperation agreement with Moscow.

The hegemonic impulse now promotes the election of Donald trump, whose “tweets” without end praise the “mind” of the President of Russia. During the first telephone conversation, Putin stressed that he is ready to take it to the inauguration, but understands that until a lot of work. Anyway, his press Secretary Dmitry Peskov went on December 1 in new York. The official reason was called the support of the Russians, who fought with the Norwegian for the title of world chess champion. However, in between parties the emissary has established contacts with the environment of the American tycoon.

“Putin is coming to the first meeting with trump, as the recruiter, the KGB, says Vladimir Milov, who went into opposition to the former Minister of energy. — His team has prepared him a full psychological dossier.” The conversation promises to be straight. “Putin will say to him: “Leave us alone, human rights and the former Soviet Union. In response we will help you in trade relations with China and other issues,“ Milov continues. — You’ll see, trump immediately reach for a pen to sign it!” A good connection? Not really. “Despite the enthusiasm that at the beginning of the mandate, Obama, trump will eventually stand on the side of Congress and lobby”, — the expert believes Alexei Mukhin.


In any case, Putin can count on two Russophiles in the new administration. First of all, the national security Advisor, Michael Flynn (as Michael Flynn), who until recently was working for the channel Russia Today, one of the propaganda tools of the regime. On its tenth anniversary in December 2015, he sat two seats from Putin and applauded his speech standing up.

Next, is the former President of ExxonMobil Rex Tillerson (Rex Tillerson), who was appointed Secretary of state, despite the order of Friendship from Putin. He is the sworn enemy of sanctions imposed by the West after the annexation of Crimea. In 2015, he participated in St. Petersburg economic forum in spite of the recommendations of the American government. During a speech he called “friend” of Igor Sechin, head of Rosneft and a close ally of Putin.
Sanctions will be a test. “Putin does not care about the ban on his entourage, but he wants to achieve the lifting of financial sanctions,” — emphasizes the Director of radio “Echo of Moscow” Alexei Venediktov. The fact that the collapse in oil prices has seriously complicated the situation. One of the two reserve funds the country spent three years 87 billion. “Enterprises are experiencing an acute need for loans, says economist Kirill Rogov. In a year the situation will be disastrous.”

Among the opponents of sanctions, Putin can rely in Europe on a new ally françois Fillon, whose victory in the primaries right pleased Moscow. Because he wants to resume dialogue. “Russia is becoming dangerous, if you let it swerve out of the way,” he says. In addition, they get along well with each other. An example of this can be their conversation in 2013 at a meeting of the club “Valdai”, where the Russian authorities have invited foreign leaders. “Well, françois, tell me you will go to the presidential election?” he said with a cheerful tone. “I’ll tell you if you’ll tell me about their plans,” said a slightly flushed from the compliment Fillon. “I’m not ruling anything out”. “Me too.” The head of state she took his arm: “OK, I won’t bother you”. “Fillon was both embarrassed and flattered,” — says the representative of the French delegation. As if Tony was Francois and he was in the habit to joke. Including over the other. In particular, Angela Merkel. “I’m crazy about her, but she hates me”, — told Putin during a dinner with the candidate from “Republican”.

New Potsdam?

At the same time making new friends in the West for Putin creates a difficulty: it will be difficult to continue to shake the Scarecrow of uncle Sam. “How to explain to pensioners the impossibility of increasing pensions, if NATO is no longer on our borders?” — ironically, political analyst Alexander Konovalov. “Putin is a great tactician in regard to the maneuvers of Washington, but in the case of warming relations he will have to show more foresight,” said Fyodor Lukyanov.

While Putin enjoys the inertia of the United States. Even his foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has been in office for 12 years, seemed to have found a second youth. Before the intervention in Syria, he was obviously bored and wanted to resign and settle in new York. On 20 December he made no secret of jubilation surrounded by Turkish and Iranian colleagues, who were invited to Moscow to discuss the settlement of the Syrian conflict. “See what you’ve done? Who else is able to?” he said on the sidelines of the meeting. “I mean, this is a new Potsdam conference?” asked one participant. Lavrov did not deny anything and continued to talk about the division of Syria: “Then we will have access to the sea and our sector, here are the Turks and the Iranians…”, “He reshapes the world” — says an eyewitness.


Russia is drawn on the international stage. Anyway, Putin is reinforcing the authority and within the boundaries. He even took an unprecedented decision: to get rid of old comrades, including those with whom he worked in the KGB or in the city hall of Saint-Petersburg in 1990-ies. The reason for this was fatigue and loss of trust. “In his eyes as we he was tired,” said privately by a Minister. Under the distribution fell in particular the former head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin, whose son had the nerve to get a British passport. “If you cannot control family, you can’t run the state,” the authority said Putin.

Same touched and held until the summer as head of the presidential administration, former KGB officer Sergei Ivanov. “He later came to work and waited for him signing papers became more and more,” says the knowledgeable source. Sergei Naryshkin, Putin’s classmate in school of the KGB, was demoted from speaker of the Duma at the head of the RAF, the least prestigious of all the Russian special services. Lost their jobs and such old acquaintances as the head of the anti-drug service Viktor Ivanov, Director of the Federal security service Yevgeny Murov.

In addition, the heads fly and the fight against corruption. So, the FSB raided and searched the home to the head of the customs service Andrei Belyaninov (worked with Putin in the former GDR) and found it in boxes from under the Shoe of the order of 700 000 euros. All this in front of the cameras of Federal TV channels.

Trap “Darth Vader”

But the most notorious case occurred on 14 November. For the first time in three decades, was arrested acting Minister. Alexei Ulyukayev, headed the Ministry of economic development. Six months were being monitored, officials are caught in a trap one of the most influential members of the regime, the head of Rosneft Igor Sechin, nicknamed “Darth Vader”. “Come for gifts,” she offered him the phone. The speaker went to the office and got the metal case from the security officer. He got in the car, but the gate remains closed, despite signals from the driver. He took the phone, but the signal was not. Installed in government vehicles, secure communications are also not working. The group of FSB officers ordered him to get out of the car and found a suitcase with $ 2 million.
Since the Minister sits under house arrest awaiting trial. Who can blame him? That he was against partial privatization of Rosneft: the liberals from the government was dissatisfied with this vague operation. “To oppose Putin proposed the sale of state property was a great folly, — says Oleg Matveichev, a member of the presidential administration until 2010. Is a message for all who consider themselves untouchable.”

Helpful change

Putin does not need dissenting voices in the year before the presidential election. So next to him there are new figures: the head of administration Anton Vaino responsible for domestic policy Sergey Kirienko, President of Russian Railways Oleg Belozerov. Hardworking and flexible staff. “They were never with Putin and consider him a God,” says political scientist Alexei Mukhin. The new shift is ready to faithfully serve in the probable new mandate until 2024.

Moscow hacker Alexander will also offer their talents. He lays the keyboard and pulls out a plastic box from under the pile of publications in computer science. He opens it and runs a hand through his carefully styled hard disks. He lifts the red from lack of sleep eyes and says: “a strong state is gold…”