Kommersant FM, a leading Russian radio station, was hacked and used for broadcasts of, among other things, the Ukrainian national anthem on Wednesday.
Francis Scarr, a journalist with BBC Monitoring who says in his Twitter bio that he’s “watching Russian state TV so you don’t have to,” was among the sources for revelations about what happened. “Russian radio station Kommersant FM has been hacked and is currently playing Ukrainian and anti-war songs,” he said early Wednesday. Alexey Vorobyov, who works as editor-in-chief at Kommersant FM, told TASS — a news agency owned by the Russian government — what happened. “We were really hacked. Technical specialists are now finding out the origin of this attack, trying to do something with the internet stream,” Vorobyov remarked.
“I Don’t Need A War” by the Russian rock band Nogu Svelo was also broadcast on the radio station while those outside interests had control of it, as was a patriotic Ukrainian song known in English as “Oh, the Red Viburnum in the Meadow.” The station, which is connected to a newspaper with the same name, is apparently owned by Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov.
A mega-yacht linked to Usmanov and worth up to $735 million was seized by German officials earlier this year in tandem with worldwide efforts to hold Putin and his allies financially accountable for the violence in Ukraine. German police indicated in March that “through extensive investigations despite offshore concealment” authorities were able to determine that the vessel, called the Dilbar, was owned by Gulbakhor Ismailova, who’s Usmanov’s sister. The yacht was earlier reported to have been brought under the control of the German government, but authorities in the country disputed initial reports, which emerged in March. Usmanov is “known to be close” to figures including Putin, U.S. authorities have said.
Around the world, attempts to stop the free flow of profits in Putin’s circles are continuing. The U.S. seizure of two high-dollar airplanes worth a combined total of over $400 million — and under the control of Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich — was recently approved by a judge, although it doesn’t appear as though those seizures have actually occurred yet. Any “U.S.-origin aircraft or foreign aircraft that includes more than 25% controlled U.S.-origin content, and that is registered in, owned, or controlled by, or under charter or lease by Russia or a national of Russia, is subject to a license requirement before it can be exported or reexported to Russia,” a Commerce Department document says — and the two planes connected to Abramovich were reexported (meaning flown back) to Russia without apparently required special permission.
There have been numerous expressions inside Russia of opposition to the war in Ukraine, although there have also been thousands and thousands of arrests associated with such expressions. Inside Ukraine, partisans in territory occupied by Russian troops have also kept the fight going. Yevgeny Balitsky, who’s currently the Russian-backed leader of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, was apparently targeted by a recent explosion in Melitopol that figures on Russia’s side blamed on Ukrainian partisans. Russian-backed local authorities credited the blast to a car bomb that went off outside Balitsky’s office in Melitopol.