Game of trolls: the hip digi-kids helping Putin’s fight for online supremacy

Kremlin trolls somehow get idealized by the media. Other trolls are just trolls. Thoughts on that in the comments please. Here’s the latest Guardian Kremlin troll profile:

The job ads give little away. They ask only for “content managers” or “production editors” in a nondescript part of St Petersburg, and offer an above-average salary.

But for successful applicants, a thriving business offering rich opportunities for creativity and professional growth awaits. You can hone your writing skills subtly weaving patriotic sentiments into blog posts about beauty tips, fortune-telling, fishing or photography. You can revile the United States and Ukraine, posting news links and funny photo memes to local forums. If your English and political loyalty is flawless, you may even get the chance to insert angry comments on major western news sites.

kremlin troll

If you’re really at the cutting edge, you can make viral videos about superheroes and breast implants, then drop in an insult about Barack Obama once in a while.

It’s all in a day’s work for a pro-Kremlin “troll”, a growth industry in an economy sliding towards recession, offering hundreds of young people up to £600 a month, with bonuses on top, and a two-days on, two-days off work schedule.

The inner workings of St Petersburg’s infamous “troll factory” have been exposed by Lyudmila Savchuk, a former employee, who was awarded symbolic damages of one rouble by a Russian court yesterday after suing her ex-boss for unfair dismissal.

Savchuk, a local activist who took a job at the factory for two months to expose the trolling operation, sued the company in charge, Internet Research, over back wages and the lack of employment documentation, forcing it out of the shadows and into court.

“I am very happy with this victory,” she said after the ruling. “I achieved my aim, which was to bring the internet trolls out of the shade. We have managed to prove that the trolls exist, which was the main goal.”

[continues at the Guardian]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)