Artyom Baranov, who worked at one in all Project Lakhta’s affiliates from 2018 to 2020, concluded that his co-workers were, for essentially the most part, individuals who needed the cash, indifferent to the themes they were asked to jot down on.
“In the event that they were assigned to jot down text about fridges, they might write about fridges, or, say, nails, they might write about nails,” said Mr. Baranov, one in all a handful of former trolls who’ve spoken on the record about their activities. But as a substitute of fridges and nails, it was “Putin, Putin, then Putin, after which about Navalny,” referring to Aleksei Navalny, the jailed opposition leader.
The job was to not recommend arguments, but to prompt a visceral, emotional response, ideally one in all “indignation,” said Mr. Baranov, a psychoanalyst by training, who was assigned to jot down posts on Russian politics. “The duty is to make a form of explosion, to cause controversy,” he said.
When a post succeeded at enraging a reader, he said, a co-worker would sometimes remark, with satisfaction, Liberala razorvala. A liberal was torn apart. “It wasn’t on the extent of discussing facts or giving recent arguments,” he said. “It’s at all times a way of digging into dirty laundry.”
Feminism was an obvious goal, since it was viewed as a “Western agenda,” and hostile to the normal values that Russia represented, said Mr. Baranov, who spoke about his work in hopes of warning the general public to be more skeptical of fabric online. Already, for months, Russian accounts purporting to belong to Black women had been drilling down on racial rifts inside American feminism:
“White feminism appears to be essentially the most silly 2k16 trend”
“Watch Muhammad Ali shut down a white feminist criticizing his arrogance”
“Aint got time in your white feminist bullshit”
“Why black feminists don’t owe Hillary Clinton their support”