When Lyudmila Savchuk heard about the assassination of Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov earlier this year she was shocked and saddened.
“I felt the bullets between my own shoulders,” she said, recalling how the Kremlin critic was gunned down near Moscow’s Red Square in February.
Yet within hours of Mr Nemtsov’s death, Ms Savchuk and her colleagues were going online to pour bile on the former deputy prime minister and claim he was killed by his own friends rather than by government hitmen, as many suspect.
Lyuda Savchuk, a single mother with two children, worked in the St. Petersburg “troll factory” until mid-March. The 34-year-old journalist said she had some idea of the Orwellian universe she was entering when she took the job, but underestimated its intensity and scope.”I knew it was something bad, but of course I never suspected that it was this horrible and this large-scale,” she said in an interview in her apartment, which has colorful drawings on the walls for her two preschool-age children.
She described how the trolls manage several social media accounts under different nicknames, such as koka-kola23, green_margo and Funornotfun. Those in her department had to bash out 160 blog posts during a 12-hour shift. Trolls in other departments flooded the Internet with doctored images and pro-Putin commentary on news stories that crop up on Russian and Western news portals. Continue reading
It’s unknown what has exactly happened since March 5, when he was last seen. It’s also unknown what tomorrow’s appearance by him might bring. If he’s to step down we might be looking at Medvedev taking charge again but in an interim capacity until elections come around. He’s a familiar face which won’t cause too much shock among the nation.
As the article states, it is plausible this has something to do with the assassination of outspoken Putin critic, Nemstov, two weeks ago. People now know who the killers are, but want the ‘contractors’ and the trail just might lead to Putin. Perhaps Putin’s already corrupt handlers in a nation ran by Soviet era KGB thugs think Putin overstepped his boundaries.
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin has been AWOL for more than a week, and reports now say that the 62-year-old president may have been deposed in a silent coup deep within the Kremlin. But Putin is scheduled to make a public appearance on Monday, so the mystery of his disappearance could be cleared up at that time — or it could grow even deeper if Putin pulls a no-show then, as he has at several announced meetings since March 5.