In a comical and possibly dangerous blunder, Russia’s government accidentally doxxed its own secret service, accidentally leaking its location to the public.
The disastrous mistake represents a huge breach of Russian national security.
“Russian authorities accidentally revealed the addresses of the country’s secret military buildings, institutions, and spy homes, in Moscow and in St. Petersburg, an investigative site found,” Newsweek reported.
The leak was discovered by the Dossier Center, a project that was launched by Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky. He was cagey enough to find them listed in a 434-page document titled “Special Group” that was published on the Moscow City Hall website. The document purportedly listed properties where there could be “no blackouts.”
❗️ Moscow authorities published the addresses of secret facilities of Russian security agencies
Investigators from the “Dossier” center found on the website of the Moscow City Hall a document with the title “List of consumers of electric power (capacity), the restriction of the… pic.twitter.com/75x5ggVOsW
— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) October 2, 2023
“The list reportedly included a range of top-secret government facilities, homes belonging to GRU (the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation) officers and President Vladimir Putin’s secret service, an ammunition depot, and more,” Newsweek went on to note.
Most of the listed properties do not have anything to do with the Ministry of Defense or intelligence agencies. However, it does include all military units and institutions of the Ministry of Defense located in Moscow, according to the Odessa Journal.
The Dossier Center noted, “Moreover, anyone can easily find out where employees of the most secret agencies live in Moscow, see which unremarkable buildings are actually special service facilities, and envy the lifestyle of the leaders of these special services.”
“The largest concentration of objects intended to ensure military security, protection against foreign espionage, and dangerous crime is not located deep within industrial zones or densely populated areas but in Serebryany Bor – there’s even a suspicion that it’s a cover for recreational areas for security personnel. ‘Dossier’ lists addresses of specific objects and publishes their photos. However, specific apartments are typically not mentioned,” the Odessa Journal reported.
“The largest number of objects in the list is affiliated with the Federal Security Service (FSO). This includes not only the Kremlin towers, Aleksandrovsky Sad, and similar places but also less obvious objects. For example, in one building along with the popular cafe ‘Jean-Jacques,’ several objects also belong to the Federal Penitentiary Service,” the outlet continued.
The lengthy document was signed by Vyacheslav Torsunov, who is the head of the housing and communal services department, and Andrey Kovalev, who is the director of Mosenergosbyt, which sells electric energy to users in the Moscow area. It was approved by the Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin. All of those people are potentially in the doghouse with Russian President Vladimir Putin… somewhere they definitely don’t want to be.
Blunders such as this have historically had severe consequences under Putin’s rule, including alleged assassinations that have involved many high-dives from buildings, accidents, and poisonings.
The news of the security breach comes as word trickles down that Russia may be prepping to test an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile with a range of up to 14,000 miles, according to The New York Times.
“The missile, known as the Burevestnik, has failed in its previous trials and once caused an accident that resulted in several deaths,” The Hill reported.
“But the Burevestnik, also known in the West as the RS-SSC-X-09 Skyfall, would give Russia an extremely long-range intercontinental ballistic missile if future tests are successful and the weapon enters Moscow’s arsenal,” the media outlet added.
Per the New York Times, satellite images of a base in the Russian Arctic show the movement of aircraft and vehicles consistent with previous tests. The Russians have also issued an aviation notice that is consistent with prior tests. It has been extended through Friday.
Thanks to @bellingcat, we have high res imagery of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile facilities at Pankovo, Novaya Zemlya, on September 20th.
— Thord Are Iversen (@The_Lookout_N) September 25, 2023
The New York Times reports that it is unknown if the missile has already been tested or not.
“The Burevestnik was introduced in 2018, part of a new array of nuclear arms designed to achieve longer flight and faster speeds. Little is known about the missile, including its design, as Russia has kept it closely under wraps,” The Hill noted.
“The experimental nuclear-powered missile has failed several times, including an August 2019 crash that killed five scientists. Part of the problem Russian engineers have encountered is activating a nuclear propulsion unit, which is supposed to trigger after solid fuel rocket boosters get the missile into the air,” the news outlet noted.
Putin has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons in the war with Ukraine.
Russia appears to be planning or has recently conducted another test of the Burevestnik nuclear-powered missile.
The current situation there mirrors preparations for previous tests of the Burevestnik or SSC-X-9 Skyfall in 2017 and 2018.
— John Krol (@JanuszRKing) October 2, 2023
“Putin earlier this year suspended the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, a pact between the U.S. and Russia to share information about nuclear arms testing and limit the number of warheads and bombs in their arsenals,” The Hill stated.