Russian liberals accuse government of cyber attack

MOSCOW Fri Nov 9, 2007 2:26pm GMT

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MOSCOW (Reuters) - A leading Russian opposition party accused the government on Friday of being behind a hacker attack on its Web site and the police seizure a day earlier of millions of leaflets across the country.

Union of Right Forces (SPS) leader Nikita Belykh said a hacker attack from 400 points around the world hit the party's Web site (www.sps.ru) with 5-6,000 requests per second, forcing it off line.

"The character and size of the attack shows this is part of an operation against the Union of Right Forces that has been going on since the beginning of the election campaign by plan of the administration of the president," Belykh wrote on his personal website (www.belyh.ru).

Calls by Reuters to the Russian Federal Agency for Government Communications and Information, via the press office of the Federal Security Bureau, were unanswered.

On Thursday, Belykh said police had confiscated 10 million copies of the SPS newspaper and stopped another 4 million copies at the printer in raids as far afield as Krasnoyarsk in eastern Siberia, the Volga region of Udmurtia, and Moscow.

A police spokesman did not confirm the newspaper raids, but SPS's charges have raised fears among opposition groups that the Kremlin's allies are using the state apparatus to crack down on its political opponents.

Belykh said party member Internet diaries continued to work, while specialists were working to transfer the SPS files to another internet service provider.

Analysts and opinion polls agree the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, personally supported by President Vladimir Putin, will win the December 2 polls and maintain its dominance of the State Duma (lower house of parliament).

Polls show the weak and fractured liberal SPS are unlikely to pass the 7 percent threshold needed to win Duma seats. Two liberal parties won seats in elections eight years ago, but they have been dwarfed during Putin's time in office.

(Reporting by Chris Baldwin; Editing by Michael Winfrey)

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