I have noticed that in Russia cyber criminals are rarely brought to justice or extradite (even non Russian citizens) except if their wrongdoing affects Russian citizens or some former USSR countries.

What is the point of this ? Which laws are used to prosecute cyber criminals which "disturbs" Russia and why this is not used against other ones?

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    Do you have any statistics that support the claim that Russia prosecutes computer crime less than other countries?
    – Dale M
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 1:19
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    Russia's secret service benefits from these criminals (read, they buy the tools without needing to develop them youtu.be/wP2J9aYM6Oo [long video, various mentions along it], or they use the botnets they create, read for example here: wired.com/?p=2171700 ), the only (unofficial) requirement is that they don't hack/steal in Russia. That's why for example lots of malware checks that the computer is not running with Russian as the default language, or otherwise it shuts off before compromising the machine.
    – Federico
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 13:18
  • @Federico You're right. I agree with your comment 100% and I think WBT's answer is 100% spot on too. I'll delete mine for it's inaccuracies and half-truths.
    – userLTK
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 13:31
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    To shorten/restate my deleted comment above, I'm quite sure Russia applies the law good and hard to anyone who hacks Russian companies or Putin. As others have said, they turn a blind eye to their citizens hacking other countries. Hek, after oil and natural gas, Hacking might be their #3 source of national revenue. ;-)
    – userLTK
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 13:34
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    If a "cybercriminals" actions don't affect anyone in Russia, is that illegal in Russian law?
    – blues
    Commented Jul 26, 2021 at 9:59

2 Answers 2


Please provide data for your assertion that Russia prosecutes computer crime less than other countries. That is, we have no reason to believe that what you assert is, if fact, true.

As to extradition, Article 61 of the Russian constitution specifically forbids the extradition of Russian nationals. Further Article 62 states:

The extradition of persons persecuted for their political views or any actions (or inaction), which are not qualified as criminal by the law of the Russian Federation, to other states shall not be allowed in the Russian Federation. The extradition of persons charged with crimes and also the hand-over of convicts for serving time in other countries shall be effected on the basis of the federal law or international treaty of the Russian Federation.

So, even for foreign nationals, extradition must be on the basis of a law that a) makes the act a crime and b) allows extradition or is with a country with whom Russia has an extradition treaty.

I cannot find a list of countries with which Russia has such treaties but I know the USA isn't one. Given the any such extradition treaty would be effectively one way (i.e. from the foreign state to Russia but not the other way); there is little incentive for any state to sign one with Russia.

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    "provide data for your assertion that Russia prosecutes computer crime less than other countries" well, they are known for using criminal botnets for espionage and related activities ( wired.com/?p=2171700 ) but if you want specific numbers, I guess you will have to wait a while, this kind of things usually are not public until well after they are no more relevant.
    – Federico
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 13:21
  • "but I know the USA isn't one". The U.S State Department found that out too when they cancelled Snowden's passport when he was in transit in Moscow. Commented Apr 9, 2017 at 18:19
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    @Federico Its conjecture based on the fact that one particular russian cyber criminal used ibtelligemce based search terms. No solid proof. Also it does nothing to say that Russia prosecutes cyber crime any more or less. It is quite common for police and intelligence to let some criminals go in exchange for demanding their services occasionally Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 22:35
  • "Given the any such extradition treaty would be effectively one way" That the act must be a crime in the state from whom extradition is requested is a common condition. That there are various restrictions does not make it one-way. Commented Jul 26, 2018 at 21:23
  • @Acccumulation the fact that Russia will never extradite Russians is what makes it effectively one way.
    – Dale M
    Commented Aug 18, 2021 at 2:40

If Russian leadership allows cyber criminals cover to ply their trade, it can more easily occasionally call on them for favors to do something the government wants done while maintaining plausible deniability.

This answer is from certain US national security officials, including Michael Hayden, who is quoted publicly here:

"Don Vladimir has allowed the criminal gangs to survive and flourish without legal interference as long as they go outward," Hayden said. "And from time to time the Don then has need of their services."

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    In all fairness, quoting IS intelligence official - sans any evidentiary support - about motives of Russian government is about as biased as quoting an official in Putin's cabinet about motives of US government
    – user4012
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 13:41
  • @user4012 assuming he isn't admitting to paying them as their motive....
    – user9389
    Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 17:06
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    @user4012 but these are the US officials whose job it is to know these things, and that's far better than asking random strangers on the Internet. The US officials also have more freedom to call it like they see it while people closer to the story don't. As a side note, I think it'd be very interesting to hear Putin's cabinet explain the motives of US government decisions...I'd regard that as a useful source of information.
    – WBT
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 3:30
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    @WBT - the problem is, in either case you have zero guarantee that you are hearing truth. Fallacy of authority
    – user4012
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 3:32
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    @user4012 Sure, there are no guarantees of hearing truth, but there's at least a little better chance of it coming from someone who's spent years studying it than from some random stranger on the Internet. There are also no guarantees of hearing true explanations of US government actions/motives when those explanations come from the US President.
    – WBT
    Commented Apr 7, 2017 at 3:34

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