Dispute over Extradition of Russian Cybersecurity Manager Adds Strain to Relations Between US, Russia, and Kazakhstan

A dispute has arisen between the US and Russia over the extradition of Nikita Kislitsin, a top manager at the FACCT cybersecurity company [6], from Kazakhstan [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6].


Kislitsin [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6], previously the editor-in-chief of Hacker magazine [6], was detained in Kazakhstan on June 22 at the request of the United States [6]. The US Ministry of Justice had accused Kislitsin of conspiring to sell data stolen from the Formspring social network in 2012 [6]. Both the US and Russia have filed extradition requests, and Kazakhstan has approved Russia’s request [3]. However, Kazakhstan has not yet decided on where to extradite Kislitsin. The case could further strain the already tense relations between Kazakhstan and Russia due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It is unclear whether Kislitsin will be tried if extradited to Russia [1], as the country often protects individuals who target unfriendly states [1]. Kislitsin hopes to avoid the fate of Ilya Sachkov [1], the founder of FACCT [6], who was recently sentenced to 14 years in prison for treason in Russia [1]. Additionally, Kazakhstan’s refusal to support Russia’s military operation in Ukraine has also angered Russia. Kislytsin [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6], who was the director of network security at FACCT [4], has expressed his determination to return to Russia and has no plans to seek asylum in Kazakhstan [4]. Russia has also issued an arrest warrant for Kislytsin and plans to seek his extradition from Kazakhstan [4]. This case is the latest dispute between Moscow and Washington over accused Russian cybercriminals and spies held in other countries at the request of US authorities [4]. Kazakhstan is still deciding on the extradition destination after further studying the case [5].


The dispute over Kislitsin’s extradition has significant implications. It not only adds strain to the already tense relations between Kazakhstan and Russia due to the Ukraine conflict but also highlights the ongoing disputes between Moscow and Washington over accused Russian cybercriminals and spies. The outcome of this case will have an impact on future extradition requests and could potentially affect the cooperation between countries in addressing cybercrime.


[1] https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/russian-cybersecurity-exec-wanted/
[2] https://www.reuters.com/world/kazakhstan-denies-plans-hand-over-russian-cyber-expert-moscow-2023-08-01/
[3] https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2023/08/01/kazakhstan-rebuffs-us-extradition-request-for-russian-cybersecurity-expert-a82022
[4] https://tekdeeps.com/at-the-request-of-the-us-kazakhstan-arrested-and-then-refused-to-extradite-a-russian-cyber-security-expert/
[5] https://srnnews.com/kazakhstan-denies-plans-to-hand-over-russian-cyber-expert-to-moscow/
[6] https://ukrainedailynews.com/the-court-in-kazakhstan-did-not-extradite-the-former-editor-in-chief-of-the-magazine-hacker-to-the-usa/