The Russian authorities could not disconnect Telegram, but they are quite capable of reaching the owners of the telegram channel they needed. Today it turned out that the FSB is behind the closure of one of the most popular channels in Russia, “Case from the Cello” - according to Baza, security forces searched its authors and seized the SIM card on which the channel was registered. The authors of the channel, included in the top 3 of the political Telegram, according to Baza, predictably turned out to be famous black PR managers.
The channel stopped updating on January 27th. Today, the Baza publication, citing sources, reported that FSB agents of the Economic Security Service are behind the broadcast stop. According to Baza, on January 27 they came home to a resident of Moscow, Alexander Gusov and his unknown colleague, searched and seized one of them a SIM card on which the “Case” was registered. After the poll, Gusov was released. Baza claims that all these actions were not procedurally formalized, the FSB was aroused by the complaint of a “high-ranking Russian official,” and Gusov was not threatened with criminal prosecution - the goal of the security forces was to gain control of the channel for which a SIM card is enough.
On January 29, the Varlamov.ru resource reported that the Cello Case was sold to unknown buyers for $ 2 million. On February 3, the publication, citing sources, specified that the sale was unplanned and the buyer’s goal was to close the channel. An anonymous representative of “Futlyar” told “Varlamov” that from January 26 to January 27 a certain state of emergency occurred. The source of The Bell, which participated in anonymous negotiations on the sale of the Cello Case in 2019, confirms that $ 2 million is exactly the price for which the channel’s administrators were ready to sell it.
The “Cello Case” channel is one of the largest in the Russian-language Telegram: 407 thousand users are subscribed to it. The main topic of the channel is incriminating evidence on officials and businessmen. According to the “Medialogy”, in 2019, “Case” was the sixth in the average number of views of one post (137.7 thousand) among all Russian telegram channels and the third among political channels.
Alexander Gusov himself denies the searches and his own connection with the “Cello Case”.
According to Baza, in addition to Gusov, "informed about the activities of" Case "" were his colleagues Alexander Krestnikov and Alexei Kozlov. Gusov and Krestnikov are people known in the Russian black PR market. A source of The Bell in this area, familiar with Gusov and Krestnikov, calls them "root people" in this market. “Most players are intermediaries of different sizes, and they are among the largest intermediaries, and they themselves own the resources where articles are posted,” says The Bell. - Their reputation, of course, is peculiar. Krestnikov drives a Cadillac Escalade with guards. But from the point of view of honesty with customers, there were never questions for him, he was responsible for the bazaar. ”
According to official figures, Gusov, among other things, owns a license for the Vek online publication, and until 2017, his Razvitie company was merged into the Art association together with Fourth Power JSC founded by Krestnikov. The latter owned a license for publications “Parliamentary News”, “Scandals.ru”, “General Newspaper” and others. All of them are known as a popular black PR tool for posting incriminating evidence. Their real audience is small, but everyone has a media license, which allows publications to get into and create stories in Yandex.News, makes them a formally legitimate source for quoting by other media and contributes to getting into the monitoring.
When you read insiders in anonymous telegram channels, it is worth remembering: most of the content that they publish did not arise on its own with Telegram, but flowed from Internet resources that you would hardly even open.