You, My Fine Sucker, Have Been Hacked and Trolled by the Best

After responding to an advertisement in the popular HeadHunter job-search website, [Tatiana] became a Kremlin-paid Internet troll. Tatiana — who, like others interviewed for this story, asked that her last name not be used — worked out of a 2,500-square-meter warehouse in the suburbs of St. Petersburg. __ Radio Free Europe

If it looks like Kremlin shit, smells like Kremlin shit, and tastes like Kremlin shit too — then it’s Kremlin shit __ Max Seddon

What if someone would pay you a good wage just to splash cookie-cut opinions “in the comments sections of Fox News, Huffington Post, The Blaze, Politico, and WorldNetDaily?”

documents show instructions provided to the commenters that detail the workload expected of them. On an average working day, the Russians are to post on news articles 50 times. Each blogger is to maintain six Facebook accounts publishing at least three posts a day and discussing the news in groups at least twice a day. By the end of the first month, they are expected to have won 500 subscribers and get at least five posts on each item a day. On Twitter, the bloggers are expected to manage 10 accounts with up to 2,000 followers and tweet 50 times a day.

They are to post messages along themes called “American Dream” and “I Love Russia.” The archetypes for the accounts are called Handkerchief, Gay Turtle, The Ghost of Marius the Giraffe, Left Breast, Black Breast, and Ass, for reasons that are not immediately clear.

… “What, you think crazy Russians all learned English en masse and went off to comment on articles?” said Leonid Bershidsky, a media executive and Bloomberg View columnist. “If it looks like Kremlin shit, smells like Kremlin shit, and tastes like Kremlin shit too — then it’s Kremlin shit.” __ Kremlin Shit

Yes, Virginia, Kremlin trolls do exist — in droves.

After responding to an advertisement in the popular HeadHunter job-search website, she became a Kremlin-paid Internet troll. Tatiana — who, like others interviewed for this story, asked that her last name not be used — worked out of a 2,500-square-meter warehouse in the suburbs of St. Petersburg.

The job paid 40,000 rubles a month, significantly more than the 25,000-30,000 most journalists make.

… “You could be [posing as] a housewife who bakes dumplings and suddenly decides: ‘I have an opinion about what Putin said! And this action by Vladimir Vladimirovich saves Russia.”

The roughly 400 employees work 12-hour shifts and are split into various departments. Some focus on writing up themes and assignments, others concentrate on commenting, and others work on graphics for social media. __ Radio Free Europe

…the Russian government employed propagandists, who are paid per story, in an attempt to spread misinformation among the Western audiences. It’s not a secret to say that the Kremlin has established a mutually profitable partnership with Russian civilian hackers in order to satisfy its geopolitical ambitions and goals.

… On September 11, [Russian] hackers shared the story of a supposed terrorist attack on a chemical plant in Centerville, Louisiana. They even created a Wikipedia page especially for this fake event, while using Wikipedia editor identities that had been developed over quite some time. Furthermore, crafty Russian hackers released a video on YouTube in which Islamic State militants supposedly claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack, and a Facebook page for a non-existent news organization called ‘Louisiana News’, which covered this story. __ Hacks and Trolls

Traditional Russian hackers steal online passwords, money from bank accounts, and steal government and industrial secrets from supposedly secure databases in Europe and the Anglosphere. But other hackers are paid to comment on news sites, forums, facebook pages, and popular blogs. It’s a living.

Ukraine has found itself at a vast disadvantage on the information and propaganda front. Russia has even created “counterfeit television stations” to spread counterfeit news to Russian speakers in east Ukraine. The KGB cum FSB has always been good at propaganda.

Ukraine wants to learn how to counteract the disinformation and agitprop. But anyone attempting to match propaganda with propaganda against Russia will find themselves at a significant disadvantage. Russia is known as “Propaganda Nation,” or “Potemkin Nation,” by anyone who has observed the lying bear attempting to shape the information battlefield. But still, they keep trying.

Dokukin also hacked the servers of the Russian Ministry of the Interior, and unearthed documents with precise details of monies paid out to separatist fighters in the East. That information was passed along to the Ukrainian government to help buttress its argument about direct Russian involvement in the conflict.

Meanwhile, Dokunin’s group has also taken over 200 CCTV cameras in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which are now monitored by his group of volunteers for signs of enemy troop movements, and evidence of Russian soldiers fighting alongside the separatists.

“We compare images of fighters from our CCTV cameras with those from Russian social networking sites to identity the soldiers,” he explains. _Ukraine Struggles to Defend Itself

Russia is a sucker’s market. That is true not only for investors and foreign politicians, it is also true for information consumers. Trusting information coming from “propaganda nation” is in invitation to delusion.

Westerners who believed Kremlin propaganda from RT, Kremlin trolls, Russia Insider, fellow-traveling grad students, or other outlets for agitprop, are due for increasing levels of cognitive dissonance. All the parasitic garbage they have swallowed whole, is wreaking havoc on the sensitive tensegrity network that holds their egos together.

Putin doesn’t see the need to hide the role of Russian special forces in Crimea anymore. Putin takes perverse pride in revealing the details of the secret mission to bring Crimea “home”—from rescuing Yanukovych to buzzing a U.S. warship in the Black Sea. He gloats in the big lie that his soldiers weren’t involved and invites all Russians to join him. Last month he designated Feb. 27 “Special Forces Day,” the anniversary of the deployment.

It’s almost comical how Putin instructs Kondrashov that there was nothing illegal about the sneaky takeover of Crimea. Under an agreement with Ukraine on Russia’s Black Sea Fleet base, 20,000 Russian troops were allowed to be stationed on the peninsula. “Strictly speaking, we didn’t violate anything,” Putin explains. Less strictly speaking, that agreement certainly didn’t provide for those troops to wander off base en masse, seize airports, besiege Ukrainian military units, and cut off Crimea from the rest of Ukraine. As for the Kremlin’s puppet government that was voted into power after Russian special forces seized the Crimean parliament building? “Everything was observed according to Ukrainian law.”

It’s always hard to tell how much of his own Kool-Aid Putin has imbibed. But Crimea: The Way Home presents a scary vision of where Russia is headed. Besides Putin, a whole rogues’ gallery of characters play their bit roles in the film: soldiers, rebels, bikers, an ex-gangster—exactly the same people Putin has surrounded himself with and considers the pillars of his regime. The students, entrepreneurs, intellectuals, and civic activists who drive social change in healthy societies—and spearheaded the Maidan protest—are completely absent.
___ Slate

Putin’s giddy madness is contagious to the average Russian redneck, saturated with cheap vodka. Everything he tells them makes perfect sense, particularly if the vodka supply never runs low.

Even at best, there is no easy path to “the truth” — drunk or sober. Westerners are too often caught in their own bubble milieu. And the direction that “the system” is taking — for all but the extremely rich and well-connected — is not encouraging. In fact, if you are like most westerners, “everything you think you know, just ain’t so.”

What can you do to keep from being a sucker to well-paid propagandists of any stripe? First you have to understand the mind-prison you indubitably find yourself in. Most people will never achieve that first, simple step. They fight and cry and struggle so as not to have to let go of cherished delusions.

Fine. This is not for them. Most were born suckers and will die suckers. This is for the extraordinary few who wish to break the chokehold, and escape the bubble milieu.

It is never too late to have a dangerous childhood.

The shills and suckers reveal themselves by what they say, how they say it, and by what they choose not to say. Doomers, conspiracists, faux-libertarians, faux anti-war writers, faux environmentalists, fellow-traveling grad students, and other opportunists have lined up behind Putin’s false smile and forked tongue.

You, My Fine Suckers, Have Been Hacked and Trolled By the Best!

Putin’s popularity has been based on his ability to deliver economic growth and prosperity. But as Russian growth has declined in recent years, he has shifted his strategy, seeking to emphasize a brand of traditional Russian values (not unlike those promoted under Nicholas I in the first half of the 19th century, a leader whose rule coincidentally ended with his death during the disastrous Crimean War in 1855) and a highly chauvinistic version of Russian nationalism. __ Propaganda Works Until It Doesn’t

Nicholas II also marched to war (in WWI) to loud acclaim and soaring popularity. Russia’s collapse following its failure in that war led to the Tsar’s overthrow and death.

Putin has driven Russia’s economy back down to 1990’s levels. Looking beyond the smoke screens of the hackers, trolls, and industrial-scale Kremlin propaganda, Putin can only blame himself along with the easily deluded vodka-drinkers of the motherland.

Crimea has become a veritable utopia since being annexed a second time by Russia — both times illegally.

Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, saw a tremendous growth in Russian visitors, 178.5% up on the past year. This was largely thanks to the Russian Government’s special vacation support given to public workers and their families for visits to Simferopol. __ Don’t Cry for Me, Crimea

Euphoria Fades, 1 Year After

Crimea and the fall of the USSR — and the ultimate fall of Putin’s Russia…

As “Big Brother” discovered in Orwell’s 1984, if you control information flows, you can control past, present, and future — if you can turn the population into a quivering crowd of suckers first.

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2 Responses to You, My Fine Sucker, Have Been Hacked and Trolled by the Best

  1. swampie says:

    Hunh. I never know if I’m being trolled by Russian agents or DNC employees. The propaganda is pretty much identical.

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