In north St. Petersburg on Savushkini street in a four story marble building more than 200 workers on two 12 hour daily shifts are fighting the info war for Russia. Their assignment is straightforward: to praise Russia and Vladimir Putin on the internet; disparage the government in Kiev; and prove that guilty of the Ukrainian crisis is the USA.
Alexei Kuznetsov is quoted in the Helsingin Sanomat: “Trolls are ordinary individuals involved in boring work who write what they are ordered. My friend worked for two months as a commentator. He supports Putin, but praising him for twelve hours straight can become very tedious.” A break in the work rarely happens.
All focussed on the war in Ukraine, the thousands of fake accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LiveJournal and vKontakte, originate from Russia’s most notorious Internet Research centre – a.k.a. the “troll factory”.
Kuznetsov’s commentary provides a perspective which guides the reader to understand the news from the proper viewpoint. The trolls’ objective is political by provoking active internet debates. About one year ago, an internal document was leaked which showed that the trolls’ activities have been divided into various areas of focus: monitoring social media, tracking the many media channels themselves, monitoring search engines, targeting blogs, responding to comments anywhere etc.
Wages are partially distributed in cash and in St. Petersburg terms are very good – about 40,000 rubles per month or 680 euros.
The trolls’ centre on Savushkini street houses more than an information warfare group. Amongst other organizations, a Ukrainian language web newspaper publishes news strictly adhering to Moscow’s political stance. (Pikemalt Eesti Elu 5. juuni paberlehes)
Russian trolls Estonian Life (1)