Consider joining me with a small pledge to Emma Best’s Patreon, she’s a journalist and transparency activist taking on Wikileaks and Putin’s Russian authoritarian state, which takes tremendous courage.
In Huge Trove of Leaked Russian Documents Is Published by Transparency Advocates, the New York Times described her group’s latest document drop:
Most of the material, which sheds light on Russia’s war in Ukraine as well as ties between the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church, the business dealings of oligarchs and much more, had been released in Russia, Ukraine and elsewhere, sometimes on obscure websites. There were no immediate reports of new bombshells from the collection.
But the sheer volume of the material — 175 gigabytes — and the technical challenges of searching it meant that its full impact may not be felt for some time. The volume is many times greater than the total known material stolen by Russian military intelligence from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign nearly three years ago.
The core files from the new collection, called “The Dark Side of the Kremlin,” included “hundreds of thousands of messages and files from Russian politicians, journalists, oligarchs, religious figures, and nationalists/terrorists in Ukraine,” said the group that posted it, Distributed Denial of Secrets, or DDoSecrets. The name is a play on the term for a common cyberattack known as a distributed denial of service.
Emma Best, a journalist and transparency advocate in Boston who helped organize Distributed Denial of Secrets late last year, said the Russian collection was not posted explicitly as payback for Russia’s 2016 hacks and leaks, though she acknowledged “it does add some appreciable irony.”
“Our motive is to collect and make available materials for a subject that was very underexplored — Russian power circles, how they interconnect, their influence operations,” Ms. Best said. “People have a cursory understanding of that, but outside of a few experts it hasn’t been looked at in detail and contextualized.”
Corruption is the key problem in the United States fueling the Republican party and it is central to Putin’s authoritarian rule. It’s also the reason Republican’s aren’t fighting Russia but instead repealing sanctions against Oleg Deripaska, (Steve Mnuchin Briefed Congress on Why He Dropped Sanctions on Russian Companies. It Didn’t Go Well, Mother Jones.)
Often to undo legalized corruption, such as the right wing effort behind Citizens United and voter suppression, we have to expose illegal corruption.
Best’s efforts to expose Russia’s inner workings are perhaps a hint of broader exposures to come. As Nancy Pelosi asked today:
The better the Russian people understand the corruption at the heart of Putin’s “government,” the more likely their activists are to succeed in turning the population against him. And, the more Americans know about Russian funding of the NRA and Republican leaders such as Mitch McConnell, the sooner we can flush them down the sewers of history reserved for America’s darker past.