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.
Collapse of talks a blow to European balance of power as Kremlin sanctions trump historic trade deal
Twenty years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukraine is slipping back under Kremlin control. Ukraine’s shock decision to opt for Vladimir Putin’s Russia and pull out of EU talks on the eve of an historic deal is a dramatic upset to the European balance of power. It is the first major defeat for the EU in its eastward march since the fall of Communism. While the region’s geopolitics remain fluid, the upset may prove as fateful as the move by the Kossack chief Bohdan Khmelnytsky to turn his back on the West and accept Tsarist suzerainty in the 1640s.
“Ukraine’s government suddenly bowed deeply to the Kremlin. The politics of brutal pressure evidently work,” said Karl Bildt, Sweden’s Foreign Minister. Continue reading