LONDON. Another “troll factory”, aka Russian disinformation, in St. Petersburg, targeting the British government, European leaders and even music stars like Daft Punk and David Guetta. It would not be the infamous “Internet Research Agency”, but another platform in support of the propaganda of Vladimir Putin. At the head there would always be his “personal cook”, that is the very trusted collaborator of the Russian president, Yevgeniy Prigozhinwhich according to some would also be linked to the recruitment of mercenaries of Wagner in war in Ukraine. For the British government, which funded this investigation published today, the Russian propaganda machine would be located in an old arms factory in the Russian president’s hometown.
According to London, this is a well-honed new “troll factory” to manipulate Russian and world public opinion. The business is mostly online, from Twitter to Facebook, YouTube and TikTok, where some influencers would be paid to amplify the Kremlin’s propaganda. Or these trolls “manipulate some Western media polls.” But also, for example, they orchestrate opinion comments in the mainstream media. Common goal: to discredit Western media and politicians, or to overwhelm them with constructed criticism, as the German Chancellor’s accounts would have recently Olaf Scholz and the head of foreign policy of the European Union, the Spaniard Josep Borrell.
The UK government promises to release more details in the coming hours. Among the objectives of Russian propaganda, and for now it is not clear why, there are also music stars such as Daft Punk, David Guetta, Tiesto and Rammstein. A central catalyst role, according to the British government, would be a Telegram channel called “Cyber Front Z”, which is active and has about 95,000 subscribers, with the Z standing for the controversial symbol of Russian propaganda, war and of the invasion decided by Putin.
The headquarters of this troll factory, as reported by the Press Association, would be in some premises rented by the company Arsenal Machine-building in St. Petersburg, which produces military equipment and high-tech material. Their propaganda and troll techniques, according to the British government, would have been refined on the model of the American ultra-conspiracy group “QAnon” but also of the Islamic terrorists of Isis. As it would seem to read the posts of the Telegram channel “Cyber Front Z”, unlike in the past, the recruitment of online propagandists would now be in the open, as this is defined as a “patriotic activity, given the special military operation in Ukraine “.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, who is said to be the head of this troll factory, is also called “Putin’s cook” for a very simple reason: when the young tsar was an anonymous member of the KGB, he always went to eat at his restaurant in St. Petersburg. Prigozhin was later arrested for brutal assaults and robberies, including a woman. He was convicted and incarcerated. But as soon as he got out of prison he became one of Putin’s closest and most trusted men, officially today he takes care of all the catering of the president and the Kremlin, and is a strange figure who oscillates between a millionaire oligarch and the waiter, when there is the tsar .
“We cannot allow the Kremlin and its trolls to invade our online spaces with their lies about Putin’s illegal war,” said the British Foreign Minister. Liz Truss and that of Cultural Heritage Nadine Dorries“the London government has alerted international partners and we will continue to work closely with allies and media platforms to limit Russian propaganda operations.”
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UK: “Russian troll factory spreads disinformation”
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