Posted on July 21, 2020 at 7:22 PM
The National Security Agency, the Cybersecurity Infrastructure Agency, and the Department of Homeland Security, are jointly accusing Russia of cyber espionage and hacking campaigns.
Apart from the US security agencies, United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Center as well as Canada’s Communications Security Establishment are also accusing Russia of the same hacking attempt.
This will likely mar the already strained relationship between Russia and the West.
Russia has been in the news lately, with reports the country has developed what may look to become the right vaccine for coronavirus. However, Oxford University and a partnering pharmaceutical company in the U.K have claimed Russia stole the prototype of that vaccine from the company.
Dominic Raab, UK’s foreign secretary said it is wrong for Russian Intelligence Services to target companies and institutions battling to develop vaccines against the pandemic.
Russia denies any involvement with hacker
Recently, Russia denied allegations that it was involved in hacking attempts against pharmaceutical and academic bodies in the west. Anton Sinluanov, France Finance Minister, stressed that the Russian government is not coordinating or working for the hacking group.
“There are no hackers working for the Russian government, so our government does not consider any actions by hackers, nor does it coordinate them,” he said yesterday. He further stated that no hacker was given a mandate by the Russian government to access the websites of pharmaceutical companies.
Anton said the country has no interest in the coronavirus vaccines of other countries, as Russia is developing its own. As a result, he doesn’t see any sense of hackers to be involved in such hacking activities.
Russia developing a coronavirus vaccine
On Friday, Russia announced that it will soon begin the mass production of a British coronavirus vaccine, being developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, as evidence to show Russia does not need to steal COVID-19 vaccine data.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Russia’s relationship with the West has strained even further, with the most recent accusations coming after Russia allegedly spread disinformation about the coronavirus. The same agencies are also accusing Russia of the wrong information. As before, Russia also denied the accusations saying it lacked common sense and has no basis.
Russia faces economic issues too
Apart from the diplomatic issues, Russia is dealing with some economic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, just as other nations are having similar issues. Its number of coronavirus cases is the fourth highest in the world, with close to 770,000 confirmed infections.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin gave his support for the extension of the completion date of the proposed national investment plan of $363 billion to 2030. This is a result of the recession that came along with the COVID-19 pandemic
And last month, the Central Bank of Russia sliced the key interest rate by 100 basis points to 4.5 percent, which is the lowest since 1991 during the fall of the Soviet Union.
Russia’s economic recovery will take time
Some economics have opined that among the developed nations fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and economic turmoil, Russia could be the slowest to recover. The Economist Intelligent Unit published a report last week, stating that the world economy would take up to two years to recover to the economic levels of the pre-coronavirus era. But Russia’s level could lag until 2024 since it has already lost 10 years of growth.
Finance Minister Siluanov was unfazed about the prospect of losing potential investors if Russia is seen as a bad actor following the hacking accusations.
He was rather confident of the economic policies the country is pursuing, stating that the country had already decided to plug the budget deficit and looking for domestic investors. He is, however, not sure whether borrowing money from outside will have a more positive impact.