Kremlin finds way to avoid leaks: Typewriters

Russia's inner workings have reportedly been spooked by the rise of WikiLeaks and the Snowden revelations. So the Kremlin has reverted to something less technical, but more secure.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Is this the future of national security? Conrad.com screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Dust off your Olivetti.

It might be the future. The future of national security, at least.

This quaint thought comes to mind as the result of news emerging from the inner bowels of the Kremlin. It seems the prospect of porousness created by WikiLeaks and current Russian resident Edward Snowden has become all too much for delicate Russian dispositions to bear.

So the Kremlin has started ordering typewriters. Lots of them. Indeed, the Telegraph, relying on sources at Russia's Federal Guard Service, says that about $15,000 is being spent to purchase new electronic typewriters.

What seems evident from the Russian government's procurement Web site is that some money had gone toward ribbons for Triumph Adler TWEN 180 typewriters.

You might think this is mere tantalizing frippery, designed to get other nations to drop their guards against Russia.

However, Russia's Izvestia newspaper claims a Federal Guard Service source revealed: "After scandals with the distribution of secret documents by WikiLeaks, the exposés 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."

I can just imagine the twisted underwear being suddenly experienced by the apparatchiks at Google. Could it be that real humans will begin to turn away from the Web, as that is the only way they can secure their privacy?

What a heart-lifting thought that this might presage the return of the love letter and the handwritten thank you note.

Clearly, the Kremlin won't be confirming that it's committed itself to an expansion of its typewriter stock, in order to preserve some semblance of national security.

However, I am today dispatching a carrier pigeon eastward -- with a note attached -- asking for confirmation that the Old World Order in secret communications is making a comeback.