The following is a translation of an article by The Insider (@the_ins_ru). Commentary and notes from Impasse News are contained in blockquotes.

Yesterday, Ukrainian hackers published a full collection of correspondence from the inbox of Putin’s aide, Vladislav Surkov. The gray cardinal, once responsible for domestic policy, is now formally in charge of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and informally (and this is confirmed by the correspondence), also for Ukraine. The authenticity of the correspondence is not in doubt – and not just because forging a few thousand letters would be extremely difficult, but also because the correspondence contains a lot of personal data, including copies of the passports of Surkov and his family, and the mobile phone numbers of his colleagues. Today, The Insider presents the first part of the correspondence, revealing some details of the invasion of Ukraine and methods of controlling Abkhazia, as well as letting you discover some unexpected Surkov pen pals.

The core of the correspondence concerns (as would be expected from work correspondence) [territories] supervised by Surkov in Ukraine, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia, and a bit about Transnistria. For the most part, the email account was operated by Surkov’s aide, Maria Vinogradova. And while the correspondence probably does not give a complete picture of Surkov’s activities, it still reveals some interesting details. For example, it confirms the information that “Orthodox oligarch” Konstantin Malofeev, who has been accused of financial malfeasance, played an important organizational role in the early  invasion of Ukraine.

On May 13th (2014), Surkov receives the following email:


In the attachment, there is a list of candidates for the “government” of the so-called DNR.




The email is from – Malofeev’s company, Marshall Capital Partners. The list is as follows:

People on this list would indeed advance to the “government” of the so-called DNR. And though the head of Malofeev’s Security Service, Igor Girkin (Strelkov) proclaimed himself head of the armed forces of the DNR, on May 12th [2014] (that is, before the email was sent), Denis Pushilin became the head of the self-proclaimed republic (or, as they called this office, “The Chairman of the Presidium of the DNR Supreme Council”) only on May 15, that is, after the approval of Surkov. A number of other figures on Malofeev’s list also got promoted after this letter, including Zakharchenko, replaced another Malofeev protege – Alexander Borodai.

There was also a request for Surkov to find employment for promising fighters:


The above letter is from Georgiy BrusovPresident of the Wrestling Federation of Russia (FSBR). In 2015, Brusov was denied the right to enter the United States.

The same Georgiy Brusov advised Surkov on which Vkontake groups to shut down.


The letter show Brusov advising the closure of the ultraorange (which, according to Brusov, was a pro-Right Sector group targeting a Russian audience, and trying to recruit Azov fighters). By Brusov’s account, the group’s admin Andrey Kuznetsov ( was linked to the Right Sector and had fled to Ukraine, and the admin Yury Terekhov ( sometimes lives in Poland, sometimes in Hungary. Both accounts are still active

If you thought that Georgy Brusov could be a strategist and analyst of some think tank working for Surkov, you are wrong: Bruce was an athlete, first vice president of the Russian Wrestling Federation and assistant for MP Karelin, which amply demonstrates the professional level of Surkov’s circle. And to get a sense of Surkov’s volunteers as a group, it is sufficient to just look at this letter:

The usluzhlivyy-durak

The letter is from Russian MP Konstantin Zatulin, writing in his capacity as Director of the Institute of CIS Countries. It contains the phrase, “a servile fool is more dangerous than an enemy.”

You might suppose that Kontantin Zatulin sent Surkov a very audacious letter? But no, in fact, Zatulin did not call Surkov a servile fool; it’s simply that in each of his letters sent to Surkov (for some reason, he sends all Surkov his articles, speeches and statements on an almost daily basis), he sends a separate document with the signature. In this case, attached to the letter was a text in which Zatulin’s “obliging fool” was deputy Valery Rashkin, for offering to deport to Ukraine, corrupt politicians who fled from there after the revolution.

Ukraine – is not the only topic discussed in the correspondence. Much attention is dedicated to the unrecognized republics – Abkhazia and South Ossetia – Russia formally recognized them as “independent states”, but the extent of their independence can be perfectly observed in Surkov’s correspondence. For example, if Abkhazia wants to pass a law, it should run it by the Ministry of Justice of Russia:


Still, they try not to insult the Abkhazians, and they have agreements about politesse.


Some of Surkov’s former colleagues from the Presidential administration continue to coordinate their texts with him. For example, here is a November 1, 2014 letter from Alexey Chesnakov:



The letter contains an interview titled, “The Republics of Novorossiya Will Have to Proceed in a Putin-like Manner. Carefully.” In the text, Chesnakov discusses the shaky legal foundations of the DNR and LNR, and the economic implications thereof, giving due consideration to the military situation in the area. Chesnakov states that the impending transition of the DNR/LNR to the ruble has to be discussed with Russia, and when this happens, Russia will have taken on a great responsibility. Chesnakov mentions that the November 2nd “elections” will be critical for the legitimization of the “Republics,” and that they must receive a political mandate from the people of the region – should Zakharchenko receive such a mandate, it would be impossible for Ukraine, the United States, and the EU to ignore it. The “elections” were widely anticipated to be a farce, and this expectation would ultimately be fulfilled.

The text would be published not in prominent news media, but to a little-known propagandistic internet resource (Russkaya Vesna – Editor).


Note: Chesnakov’s interview can also be found at the Kremlin propaganda outlet Anna-News.

There are people other than propagandists among Surkov’s friends. Here, for example, businessman Yevgeny Chichvarkin sends an advance review of Surkov’s novel “Uncle Vanya”:


After some time, the review appears in the journal, “Pioneer.”


Since then, Chichvarkin has confirmed the authenticity of his correspondence with Surkov by phone and by Facebook post.

And here, for example, is correspondence with businessman Alexander Lebedev:


Lebedev writes:

  1. I thought that this might be of interest.
  2. A reminder about the meeting.

The attached text contains an articled titled, “Capital Controls,” with the header, “Can this be used as a new impetus for a halting economy?”


This may give the impression that a businessman simply wishes to share his thoughts with Surkov. But in reality it is a previously published article by economist Vladislav Inozemtsev – the most controversial of his articles, in which he offers no less than the prohibition of the export of capital for the payment of debts. This is a strange position for Inozemtsev, and for Lebedev, who usually defend the liberal economic position.