Is British Politics Crumbling Because of Russian Spies?


The Russian federal security service is allegedly using cyber interference to target politically connected people, says a British Foreign Office minister Leo Docherty. He told the House of Commons that Russian spies have been targeting British MPs, peers, civil servants, journalists and others, since 2015, with cyber-hacking.

Docherty claimed that Russians were behind the 2018 hack on the Institute for Statecraft, and two individuals have been designated under the cyber sanctions regime. A group called “Star Blizzard” has been highlighted for being a subordinate of an FSB cyber unit. It selectively leaked information obtained through its operations and amplified the release in line with Russian confrontation goals, including to undermine trust in politics in the United Kingdom and likeminded states.

David Cameron, the UK Foreign Secretary, described these attempts to interfere in UK politics as completely unacceptable, seeking to threaten the country’s democratic process. He said despite their repeated efforts, they have failed.

Russian Spies Go to Any Extent

Richard Dearlove, former head of MI6, said Putin’s Russia would do anything to undermine critical infrastructure, national security, and attack any of the UK’s institutions that are not pro-Russian. “I have been through many more dramatic and worse things than being hacked. I was not particularly concerned about it. It is spot on from the government to stand up to it. We are in state of grey warfare with the Russians, short of open aggression and conflict.”

David Lammy, Labor’s shadow foreign secretary, said this is an attack on British democracy. “It comes as we approach 2024, the year of elections in the US, India and the EU…Is the minister confident they have uncovered the full extent of this cyber attack?

“And has there been any specific action to respond to the cyber attack on parliamentarians he has revealed today and if not, why not? As we approach the election, what steps is the government taking to ensure the integrity of the democratic process?”

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Russian Spies from Center 18

Docherty said Center 18, a unit within Russia’s FSB, has been involved in a range of cyber espionage operations targeting the UK. “Star Blizzard, a cyber group the National Cyber Security Center assesses is almost certainly subordinate to Center 18, is responsible for a range of malign activities targeting British parliamentarians from multiple parties.” He added that the group selectively leaked and amplified the release of sensitive information in service of Russia’s goals of confrontation.

The minister said specific action has been taken to improve preventive measures against cyber-targeting.



Ahmed Kane is an entertainment reporter who loves to cover the latest news in the world. He's passionate about bringing people the latest and greatest in entertainment.

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