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.
The original article is in German but for translation purposes a rough version courtesy of Google will remain here in its entirety.
What the Russians have in response is yet to be seen. But one thing is clear, the Russians do not warn, they act, which can make things quite dangerous when poking a big bear in the eye with a tiny stick.
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The US Senate has passed a law that sanctions against Russia should be tightened. At the same time, the US government is to supply Ukraine with military equipment worth 350 million dollars. Russia summarizes the law as a provocation and has announced a reaction if the law comes into force. President Obama has for the time being denied the law his signature.
All signs point to confrontation when the diplomacy can not prevail: US Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov will meet on 15 December in Rome. One of the Agenda items will form the Ukraine conflict.
Between the US and Russia worsened again the sound: The US Senate has decided arms supplies and sanctions against Gazprom. Even US President Barack Obama denied the law his signature. But it should come, Russia will show a reaction, notify the State channel Russia Today. Continue reading
While the market, and America’s media, was focusing over the passage of the Cromnibus, and whether Wall Street would dump a few hundred trillion in derivatives on the laps of US taxpayers once again (it did), quietly and unanimously both houses passed The Ukraine Freedom Support Act of 2014, which authorizes “providing lethal assistance to Ukraine’s military” as well as sweeping sanctions on Russia’s energy sector.
The measure mandates sanctions against Rosoboronexport, the state agency that promotes Russia’s defense exports and arms trade. It also would require sanctions on OAO Gazprom (GAZP), the world’s largest extractor of natural gas, if the state-controlled company withholds supplies to other European nations (yes, the US is now in the pre-emptive punishment business, and is enforcing sanctions on a “what if” basis). Continue reading
As the Vilnius summit of EU’s Eastern Partnership draws nearer, at which several former Soviet states are expected to sign association agreements with the EU, Russia appears to have stepped up efforts to pull those same former Soviet states closer and into its own Customs Union, with mixed results.
On the surface, it appears to be a simple choice between which free trade agreement would offer those countries a better economic incentive – but where the EU can wield the carrot of foreign aid, Russia leans on the stick of threatening to withhold energy resources (and, unlike the EU, could not care less about asking for lasting reforms).
In the long run, Russian president Vladimir Putin sees the Customs Union as the building block of the Eurasian Economic Union – outlining its key institutions in an article he penned for Russia’s newspaper of record, Izvestia, in October 2011. Continue reading
Even if the intent is good-willed, one shouldn’t be complacent in thinking that over time the overall message or tone of propaganda can’t be used upon citizens and against the country. Anything can be infiltrated and re-directed.
For decades, a so-called anti-propaganda law prevented the U.S. government’s mammoth broadcasting arm from delivering programming to American audiences. But on July 2, that came silently to an end with the implementation of a new reform passed in January. The result: an unleashing of thousands of hours per week of government-funded radio and TV programs for domestic U.S. consumption in a reform initially criticized as a green light for U.S. domestic propaganda efforts. So what just happened?
The restriction of these broadcasts was due to the Smith-Mundt Act, a long standing piece of legislation that has been amended numerous times over the years, perhaps most consequentially by Arkansas Senator J. William Fulbright. In the 70s, Fulbright was no friend of VOA and Radio Free Europe, and moved to restrict them from domestic distribution, saying they “should be given the opportunity to take their rightful place in the graveyard of Cold War relics.” Fulbright’s amendment to Smith-Mundt was bolstered in 1985 by Nebraska Senator Edward Zorinsky who argued that such “propaganda” should be kept out of America as to distinguish the U.S. “from the Soviet Union where domestic propaganda is a principal government activity.” Continue reading