Russia Wins Extradition Battle: Kazakhstan Hands Over Cyber Expert, Snubbing U.S. Request

Written by Jeppe W

Dec.22 - 2023 10:28 AM CET


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In a move that has geopolitical implications, Kazakhstan has decided to extradite Russian cybersecurity expert Nikita Kislitsin to Russia, rejecting an earlier extradition request from the United States, according to the Moscow Times.

Kislitsin, a key figure in the cybersecurity world, was detained in Kazakhstan following the U.S. request, which stemmed from accusations related to a 2012 hack of the social media website Formspring.

Kazakhstan's decision to hand over Kislitsin to Russian authorities rather than the U.S. underscores the complex international dynamics surrounding cybersecurity and data breaches.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office confirmed the decision, highlighting the strong cooperation between Kazakhstan and Russia in this matter.

Kislitsin, who works for the Russian cybersecurity firm F.A.C.C.T. (formerly Group-IB), faces serious charges in his home country. He is accused of both hacking and extortion, with allegations of demanding a substantial sum in cryptocurrency to prevent the leaking of a business's server data.

His extradition to Russia could lead to a prison sentence of up to five years for hacking and an additional seven years for extortion.

This extradition case not only raises questions about international law and cybersecurity but also points to the delicate balance of power and influence between Russia, the U.S., and Central Asian countries like Kazakhstan.

The timing of Kislitsin's transfer to Russia remains unspecified, but it is clear that this case will have significant repercussions in the world of international cybersecurity and diplomacy.