The interference began yesterday (Apr 12) with the number of votes cast jumping to more than 80,000, and continually climbing.
The poll has been closed.
The Phuket News has confirmed that no internal data sources were directly accessed. The hack was carried out by a script designed to subvert the poll results form on the website.
At the last reliable report, when the poll had only 722 responses, the most telling result was that just over 60% of Thai nationals who voted in the poll had voted in support of the fourth option on the poll: “Yes, let Russian tourists come without restrictions as they are not the ones committing the invasion, and Thailand should think first about their own people’s struggle and help Ukraine in other ways.”
The attack came on the same day that the Russian Consulate in Phuket publicly posted a declaration denouncing The Phuket News for promoting anti-Russian sentiment.
The statement was posted in the Russian Consulate’s official Telegram channel (click here).
The statement was not shared on the consulate’s official Facebook page, which it uses to inform Russian nationals of essential advice, such as urgent travel arrangements and how to extend their visa to continue their stay in Phuket.
The statement was posted in Russian language only.
“We note the growth in recent months of publications of a Russophobic nature on these information resources,” the statement began.
“At the beginning of this year, biased information was posted regarding non-compliance with anti-covid rules of conduct on the island exclusively by Russian tourists. “Refusing to wear face masks and endlessly escaping from quarantine” Russians have been unjustifiably positioned as the only nation to blame for the post-New Year coronavirus outbreak in Phuket. However, the information received by the Consulate General from official sources, according to which not only our compatriots “sinned” in this way, refuted these accusations,” the statement continued.
“The newspaper also allowed itself to point out to the Consulate General in a moralizing tone the order of its work,” the statement said, despite The Phuket News not being in communication with the Russian Consulate since the invasion began on Feb 24.
The statement continued with its pro-Kremlin rhetoric, devolving into more a direct personal approach: “Perhaps this kind of mentoring and biased reporting is commonplace in the work of a foreign executive and editors of The Phuket News, carried out in a brazen manner characteristic of Western media.”
“With the start of a special military operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, the Russophobic rhetoric in The Phuket News publications has intensified many times over. Obviously, such attacks against our country, accompanied by various falsifications and distortion of facts, are carried out in line with the anti-Russian campaign launched in the countries of the “collective West”,” the statement said.
The statement was not attributed to any person at the consulate.
The Consul General of the Russian Federation for Phuket Province is Vladimir V. Sosnov, who took up the post in May 2020.
As Russian consul for Phuket and other province in Southern Thailand, Mr Sosnov is the representative of the Russian Government on the island.