Kremlin Postscript

The Kremlin, bringing back antiques, one diktat at a time. Image Source: Wiki.

Like many, the Kremlin likes freedom of information only when it serves its own purposes. Russian officials have lately supported WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Edward Snowden because these men embarrassed US authorities. But Putin and "the ruling Russian ... siloviki, a powerful faction comprising former and present security servicemen," are less enthusiastic about local whistleblower and blogger Alexy Navalny. And now the Kremlin is worried about ... leaks.

Triumph Adler TWEN 180 typewriter. Image Source: The Telegraph.

Just when we thought old-fashioned typewriters were only good for making Steampunk sculptures, Russian authorities are returning to using typewriters as a secure method of preparing documents. The Telegraph:
A source at Russia's Federal Guard Service (FSO), which is in charge of safeguarding Kremlin communications and protecting President Vladimir Putin, claimed that the return to typewriters has been prompted by the publication of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website, as well as Edward Snowden, the fugitive US intelligence contractor.
The FSO is looking to spend 486,000 roubles – around £10,000 – on a number of electric typewriters, according to the site of state procurement agency, zakupki.gov.ru. The notice included ribbons for German-made Triumph Adle[r] TWEN 180 typewriters, although it was not clear if the typewriters themselves were this kind.
The service declined to comment on the notice, which was posted ... [in the first] week [of July 2013].
However an FSO source told Izvestiya newspaper: “After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposes by Edward Snowden, reports about Dmitry Medvedev being listened in on during his visit to the G20 summit in London, it has been decided to expand the practice of creating paper documents.”
Unlike printers, every typewriter has its own individual pattern of type so it is possible to link every document to a machine used to type it. ...

Nikolai Kovalev, the former director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, told Izvestiya: “From the point of view of security, any means of electronic communication is vulnerable. You can remove any information from a computer. There are means of defence, of course, but there’s no 100 per cent guarantee they will work. So from the point of view of preserving secrets the most primitive methods are preferable: a person’s hand and a pen, or a typewriter.
Below the jump, some of the nicer vintage typewriters currently on eBay. It's sad to see them lined up in this elephants' graveyard, some still with their silk ribbons, of interest only to collectors. How many of today's gadgets will still function in 100 years?
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