Russian Websites Come Under DDoS Attack on Election Day

By: Qichen Zhang on 7 December 2011

Several Russian websites came under DDoS attack during the country's national elections beginning last week. On December 1, a few political websites were taken down, and in the days following, prominent news portals including and the Russian News Service were also targeted.

Two prominent websites that went down include LiveJournal and Golos, an independent election violation monitoring site. As of December 7, LiveJournal is still displaying a message that says "currently up, but still under a DDoS attack." Golos director Liliya Shibanova confirmed that not only has the website been effectively shut down but the organization's telephone lines have been obstructed as well. Many bloggers claim the government is behind the takedowns in order to prevent people from discussing the election.

Despite the hacks on news websites, the Internet has enabled protest to continue. Anti-Putin demonstrators have voiced their opposition to the ruling regime with social media. According to Reuters, 5,000 protesters that took to Moscow's streets last Sunday used VKontakte and Facebook to encourage each other to "continue the revolution." Russian journalist Sergei Parkhomenko commented, "It's absolutely a Facebook story. It's not as if there is some kind of organizer of this, some kind of villain."

Undoubtedly, the collective discontent at the election results many contest to be fixed was fueled. Global Voices stressed the instrumental role Internet and mobile technologies played in the "delegitimization" of the election results. What demonstrator Alexey Navalny referred to as the "net hamster revolution" has moved from the Internet onto the streets.