Somebody Took Down These Official Russian Websites With a ‘Teapot’ Prank

February 25, 2022Noelle Wiehe
teapot website prank

Within hours of Russian military forces invading Ukraine, somebody pulled a “teapot” prank on major Russian military and government websites. Composite by Marty Skovlund Jr./Coffee or Die Magazine.

Within hours of Russian military forces invading Ukraine, major Russian military and government websites went down, and whoever was responsible wanted the Russians to know it. 

Official Russian websites and began returning error messages midmorning Thursday, Feb. 24, hours after the Russian invasion began. is the official press website of the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, featuring news releases and archived speeches. The pages would not load in a wide range of computer and mobile browsers attempted by Coffee or Die Magazine, and reports of the outage were widespread on social media.

Whoever was responsible set the Russian systems to return a so-called teapot error message, a reference to an arcane practical joke in the cyber world, in which an attacked system is said to be reduced to the level of an automated teapot. 

Russia’s military website,, was returning the error message “418 I’m a Teapot.”

According to a Mozilla developer website, the error response code indicates that the server “is, permanently, a teapot.”

The identity of the attacker or attackers was unclear, though the teapot reference suggests they were civilians steeped in cyber culture rather than government-sponsored hackers bent on damage.

Eventually, the Russians got the site restarted but only by blocking users outside of Russia.

A loophole shared by Bulgarian journalist Christo Grozev allows access to the Kremlin site. Problems were also found in accessing the State Duma site, the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia.

According to The Independent, the downed Russian sites mirrored incidents over recent days when Ukrainian sites experienced outages. 

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“Hours before Russia began its invasion, the official websites of the Ukrainian parliament, government and foreign ministry were knocked offline in what the country said was a cyber attack,” The Independent reported Thursday. 

Read Next: Russia Attacks Ukraine, Targets Key Military Sites as Ground Forces Move In

Noelle Wiehe
Noelle Wiehe

Noelle is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die through a fellowship from Military Veterans in Journalism. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and interned with the US Army Cadet Command. Noelle also worked as a civilian journalist covering several units, including the 75th Ranger Regiment on Fort Benning, before she joined the military as a public affairs specialist.

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