Saturday, April 04, 2015

Russian Trolls' Vast Library Of Insulting Images

Screen grab of Russian troll graphic database вштабе.рф
April 04, 2015, RFERL

Ever wonder where the droves of Russian-language Internet trolls get those satirical graphics they deploy to smear Western and Ukrainian leaders? Turns out there's a website with a vast archive of images helping them pepper their posts with visual invective.

Britain's Guardian newspaper reported on April 2 that the website with the Cyrillic address вштабе.рф ("в штабе" translates from Russian as "in the headquarters") hosts thousands of these ready-made images for use by hundreds of paid trolls working for a secretive organization in St. Petersburg.

The images -- mainly crude mash-ups or regular photographs touched up with sarcastic and juvenile captions -- are largely aimed at heaping abuse on Western and Ukrainian officials or portraying Russian President Vladimir Putin as a suave alpha male of the international scene.

Many have racist overtones, like those that portray U.S. President Barack Obama as a monkey (bananas are a consistent motif in these images). Others show Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko dressed in women's clothing or wielding sex toys.

One image uploaded on April 2 shows Poroshenko dressed in women's lingerie and sitting in front of a computer monitor beaming Obama's image, suggesting an erotic video chat.

(More here.)

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