Saturday, March 21, 2015

Ukraine conflict: Inside Russia's 'Kremlin troll army'

Leaving comments about murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was described as a "technical task"

By Olga Bugorkova BBC Monitoring

Over the past year, Russia has seen an unprecedented rise in the activity of "Kremlin trolls" - bloggers allegedly paid by the state to criticise Ukraine and the West on social media and post favourable comments about the leadership in Moscow.

Though the existence and even whereabouts of the alleged "cyber army" are no secret, recent media reports appear to have revealed some details of how one of the tools of Russian propaganda operates on an everyday basis.

"Troll den" The Internet Research Agency ("Agentstvo Internet Issledovaniya") employs at least 400 people and occupies an unremarkable office in one of the residential areas in St Petersburg.

Behind the plain facade, however, there is a Kremlin "troll den", an investigative report by independent local newspaper Moy Rayon ("My District") suggests.

The organisation, which the paper ties to Yevgeny Prigozhin, a restaurateur with close links to President Vladimir Putin who allegedly pays bloggers to produce hundreds of comments on top news websites and manage multiple accounts on Twitter, LiveJournal and other social media platforms.

(More here.)


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