When you think of Russia, what comes to mind? Snow, vodka...and cracking - that is, advanced forms of hacking. Pirate hacking software sells along with candy and newpapers, it is now a part of the culture just like hotdogs are to Americans. No surprise that Russia is the mother of all bank hacks and child porn. When they arrest a cracker comrade red handed, all they do with is ask him to work for the FSB (the new improved KGB). The better crackers are protected by the hiearchy - and vice versa. In March of 2000, just as Novaya Gazeta was about to run some articles on financial irregularities in the Putin campaign, the pages disappeared from their site.
Three guesses who did it, and no, it was not the CIA.