http://www.visiontimes.com/?p=80284

Is the Life of a Pro-Kremlin Internet Troll Really Fun?

If you read a lot of news online about Russian affairs, then for sure you’ve probably unknowingly come across paid trolls who post either pro-Kremlin or anti-Western comments. 
(Remko van Dokkum/Flickr)
If you read a lot of news online about Russian affairs, then for sure you’ve probably unknowingly come across paid trolls who post either pro-Kremlin or anti-Western comments. (Remko van Dokkum/Flickr)

Since the escalation of the Ukraine crisis, paid Russian trolls have been increasingly making their presence felt on the comment sections of various news sites and blogs, as well as on social media platforms.

They even manage to make the comment sections of some news sites so toxic with fake outrage that the publishers close them down.

Mission accomplished for the trolls.

Indeed, there are netizens who post anti-West or pro-Kremlin rants out of their personal interests, but there are those, such as Lyudmila Savchuk, who were part of an orchestrated effort.

Savchuk worked in a secretive “troll factory” called Internet Research for two months in St Petersburg. And it didn’t sound like much fun.

“We had to say Putin was a fine fellow and a great figure, that Russia’s opponents were bad, and Obama was an idiot,” Savchuk told the UK’s Sunday Telegraph.

To further expose the troll army’s activities, Savchuk copied documents and took a video of the “troll factory” that you can see below:

Savchuk said she worked 12 hours a day praising Putin’s rule and attacking the Ukraine and the West, most notably America.

Savchuk said she was placed in a Special Projects department that utilized a LiveJournal blogging platform. Here, she said “people pretending to be individual bloggers—a fortune teller, a soldier, a Ukrainian man—had to, between posts about daily life or interesting facts, insert political reflections.”

The trolls were micro managed, she said, and their emails were subject to being checked. Those trolls who were unable to meet their quotas were fined, as were those who wrote low quality posts. She and others were also required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

“I want to get it closed down,” Savchuk explained. “These people are using propaganda to destroy objectivity and make people doubt the motives of any civil protest. Worst of all, they’re doing it by pretending to be us, the citizens of Russia.”

See more on the Russian troll issue on this episode of Young Turks below:

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