Leak and hack suspicion in the Kremlin: reconstruction plan for the Donbass excites Russia

Sergey Kiriyenko is considered a close confidante of Russian President Putin.

Leak and hack suspicion in the Kremlin: reconstruction plan for the Donbass excites Russia

Sergey Kiriyenko is considered a close confidante of Russian President Putin. Perhaps he should rebuild the Donbass. An alleged plan by Kiriyenko to make the Russians pay for it briefly circulated in the Russian media. But is the letter real?

In Russia, a leaked reconstruction plan for Donbass is causing heated debates, although its authenticity has not been confirmed and it may be the work of hackers. The reconstruction plan appeared briefly on Monday as an article on the website of the pro-government Russian newspaper Izvestia. It was written by Sergey Kiriyenko, the deputy head of Russia's presidential administration and an influential confidant of President Vladimir Putin.

In the article, Kiriyenko is supposed to prepare the Russian population for the painful cuts that the reconstruction of eastern Ukraine will entail. "Yes, it will cost several trillion rubles," he reportedly writes. "This money will be provided from the Russian budget - also at the expense of a temporary reduction in our country's standard of living."

According to Bavarian Radio, a lively debate "raged" on the Russian-language network. For example, it is questioned why it should pay the population for costs that were apparently caused by the "military special operation". Users also ask whether only their standard of living will fall or that of Kiriyenko as well. Others derided the plans simply as a "children's surprise".

However, "Izvestia" took the article offline again after just a few minutes. The newspaper itself spoke of a hack. The US think tank "Institute for the Study of War", on the other hand, drew parallels to an incident that occurred shortly after the start of the war: At the end of February, the Russian news agency RIA accidentally published an article in which the taking of Ukraine was in the past tense was discussed.

However, the independent Russian exile medium Medusa has doubts about the authenticity of the alleged plans. Like the BBC editor Andrei Sakharov, the Kremlin-critical platform points out numerous spelling mistakes in the article. According to Sakharov, the post was also published twice, forty minutes apart. The Russia expert suspects that the publication was "most likely a hack by an anonymous party."

According to Bayerischer Rundfunk, a power struggle in the Kremlin could be the reason for the publication. Kiriyenko is seen as a possible successor to Putin, who, according to Medusa, was tasked with turning Donbass into a new federal district of the Russian Federation.

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