Official website on constitutional amendments comes under DDoS attack from abroad – Russian Election Commission

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Russia’s Central Election Commission says that denial of service attacks were launched from the UK and Singapore on a website providing information on constitutional reform amid the national vote on the issue.

“Since the early morning, we have been detecting DDoS attacks on the website конституция [constitution2020.rf],” the commission said on its official Telegram account, adding that the attacks had apparently been launched from the UK and Singapore.

The officials did not provide further details on the issue. However, Russian cyber security specialists were apparently able to repel the cyberattack since the website has been easily accessible throughout the day.

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On Thursday, similar attacks were reported targeting the website of the Election Commission itself. The malicious actions failed to disrupt the work of the site at the time. The origin is not known. 

The site does not play any role in the voting procedure, but informs people about the nature of the constitutional amendments and various ways to cast their ballots, which could come in handy for those heading to the polls.

The attack came on the fourth day of the national vote on constitutional reform – a project involving major overhauls of certain sections of basic law. The proposed amendments include banning important officials from having foreign citizenship and restricting all future presidents to a total of two terms in office.

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The new constitution would also transfer more power to Russia’s two houses of parliament – the State Duma and the Federation Council. The amended constitution would also potentially allow incumbent President Vladimir Putin to run for the presidency two more times and possibly lead the country until 2036. The issue has sparked some criticism from the nation’s major opposition party – the Communist Party.

Other controversial amendments include defining marriage as an institution between a man and a woman, and the much-debated inclusion of God in the text of basic law.  

The amendments were swiftly approved by the federal legislative bodies and those of each Russian region, as well as the Constitutional Court in March. The public vote was initially scheduled for late April, but was postponed due to the Covid-19 epidemic. Eventually, the vote was rescheduled for an entire week, between June 25 and July 1.

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