The fact that the times ran with this story despite the headline meaning very little just shows how hollow so much journalism is.
> To get behind it and back it now is going to put people at an advantage, either politically or economically.
That's pretty much politician catnip. "Yes, please. We'd like some of that." And that's how the people being discussed in the article are looking at "blockchain" (I'm using quotes intentionally here) rather than a technical-oriented perspective. The article isn't about a blockchain implementation. Think of the people in the article as similar to a stereotype of investors talking about the latest buzz-worth startup. They're excited about X, have some ideas on what X could mean, but don't necessarily have a deep understanding of X itself or how it's implemented. That's how some nation states are looking at future blockchain possibilities. The quoted Russians are basically saying "America won the internet, but we'll win the future (i.e., "the blockchain").
The statement makes so little sense that either it 1) makes clear the spy does not understand the Internet, America, or Russia as the entities that they are in the real world, or 2) he is merely trying to make Russia sound good.
The internet does not belong to the Americans. If anything, the way the Russians have used the internet to subvert democracy and wage a new kind of war, I would say that if the internet belonged to anyone at the moment it belongs to the Russians! (using similar terminology as 'owned boxes' from the old hacker/cracker/scripts cultures)
And second, there is not one blockchain. If he means the entire branch of computer science and mathematics that makes up the workings of a blockchain, he's obviously a madman anyway.
I'll go with assuming the statement is meaningless grandstanding meant to achieve nothing but make Russia sound good to people who don't know anything about the topics discussed.
I think they already have, though, and that is my point. I think Russia has done something far more damaging to the internet (and by extension our society) than anything you listed above. Everything you listed above are technical issues that any major player could overcome.
Russia has created false realities on the internet, something far more dangerous than rerouting or shutting down technical services.