In The trolls are winning, says Russian troll hunter, Charles Maynes reports on the long – and sometimes inside – struggle against online Russian trolls:
The journalist and 33-year-old mother of two, [Lyudmila] Savchuk started noticing websites and social media accounts attacking local opposition activists in her hometown of Saint Petersburg with a frequency she hadn’t seen before.
“I wanted to get in there to see how it works, of course,” says Savchuk. “But the most important thing was to see if there was some way to stop it.”
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She was hired as a blogger and told to report to Savushkina 55, a nondescript four-story office building on the outskirts of town.
Once on the inside, Savchuk was stunned to see hundreds of mostly younger Russians working as paid trolls in rotating shifts.
In total, Savchuk spent just two and a half months at the IRA before she went public about the troll factory in a local newspaper.
Her conclusion: The troll farm was a Kremlin project, run by a shadowy local restaurateur named Evgeny Prigozhin.
While Prigozhin has denied those charges, his name may sound familiar to American audiences. Often called “Putin’s Chef” for his close ties to the Russian President, Prigozhin was placed under US sanctions in 2018 for what American officials say was a coordinated attempt to interfere with the US elections.