Additionally, Nazario said the botnets used in both sets of attacks represent the cutting-edge of the increasingly popular and sophisticated malware sub-genre.
Rather than using IRC relays to communicate with each other like most traditional botnets, the politically driven threats utilized Web-based requests to speak to each other -- a much harder form of traffic to differentiate from legitimate network throughput, Nazario said.
The same advanced botnets are currently being used to distribute malware and spam, but the systems also appear to have been specifically designed to help their controllers carry out different types of distributed DOS attacks, he said.
Nazario said the botnets being used in Russia and the Ukraine closely resembled the zombie PC armies that have been used in years past to attack anti-spam efforts such as Spamhaus and CastleCops -- both of which have previously been targeted successfully and had their sites temporarily taken offline.
The activity could also suggest that the systems are being rented out by their creators to other people for the purpose of executing their own threats -- or being built through botnet toolkit technologies being developed in the region, the expert said.
Whether or not botnet activism will wash ashore in the U.S. any time soon remains unclear, but it seems apparent the trend is taking off across the pond.
Nazario said it remains hard to tell if the botnet campaign tactic has become a weapon of official political entities, or merely a tool of groups acting independently to promote some cause or belief, but lean towards the latter scenario.
"We don't know who is behind any of this activity, and we don't want to speculate, but you have to ask yourself, is this directed by someone higher in the political organizations, or is it merely somebody who is acting as a lone vigilante?" Nazario said. "It could be that this is something that is being carried out by a handful of individuals that have some sort of belief or disagreement to promote, or it could of course represent something bigger."