Revealed: Putin’s army of pro-Kremlin bloggers

Hundreds of workers are paid around £500 a month and required to write at least 135 comments per day – or face immediate dismissal

St Petersburg blogger Marat Burkhard lifted the lid on the 24/7 life in an unassuming four-storey modern building he compared to the Ministry of Truth from George Orwell’s 1984. Hundreds of workers are paid above-average salaries of around £500 a month and required to write at least 135 comments per day – or face immediate dismissal. The repressive system’s strict rules and regulations include no laughing and fines for being a minute late. Friendship is frowned upon.

The structure is simple. Once a story has been published on a local news forum the troll army goes to work by dividing into teams of three: one plays the ‘villain’ criticising the authorities with the other two debate with him and support government officials. One of the pro-Kremlin pair needs to provide a graphic or image that fits in the context and the other posts a link to some content that supports his argument.

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Report: Germany classified list of companies that helped build Syria’s CW stockpile

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The weekly Der Spiegel said Berlin received the list from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that was assigned the destruction of the CW stockpile and facilities of President Bashar Assad in 2013. About 1,400 Syrians were said to have been killed in Assad’s CW attacks.

“Berlin immediately classified the list and has since kept it under lock and key,” Der Spiegel said. “The government says that releasing the names would ‘significantly impair foreign policy interests and thus the welfare of the Federal Republic of Germany.’” Continue reading