Russia’s Agency for Internet Studies also known as the “troll factory” was accused of committing various labor violations by its employee. The secretive agency is responsible for hiring people who write pro-Kremlin propaganda.
Lyudmila Savchuk, an employee of Russia’s troll factory, filed a lawsuit alleging that the secretive agency underpaid workers and violated labor laws. The agency hired Savchuk to write comments supporting the policies of President Vladimir Putin online.
Russia’s troll factory settles charges to prevent public scrutiny
It was the first time for Russia’s troll factory to be exposed in public. The agency is willing to compensate Savchuk to prevent further public scrutiny. Yekatetiona Nazarova, the lawyer representing the agency informed the Petrogradsky District Court that they are ready to settle with Savchuk. The agency is will to pay Savchuk’s demand for 10,000 roubles.
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“I suppose the defendant considers it a lesser evil to recognise the lawsuit and pay compensation,” said Ivan Pavlov, the lawyer representing Savchuk. According to him, he did not expect the result of their second hearing. He suggested that the troll factory wanted to prevent public attention.
Pavlov added that the next step in their case would be a meeting with Savchuk at the headquarters of the agency in July. He said the meeting would be “another chance to make their activities transparent”.
On the other hand, Savchuk commented, “I am very pleased. They pretended they didn’t exist at all, and now they have come out of the shadows for the first time – we saw their representative. But I will feel that I won only after the troll factory closes completely.”
According to her, she worked for the Russia’s troll factory for two months but decided to quit his job and expose its operations.
Russia has hundreds of online trolls
Russia’s troll factory is located in St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia. The agency has hundreds of professional online trolls working on 12-hour shifts around the clock, and they manage multiple social media accounts using different usernames. They joined that troll factory because it offers a monthly salary of around $800 to $1,000.
Observers believed that the agency does dirty tricks for Kremlin on the internet such as spreading provocative comments on different news websites and blocking anti-Putin bloggers on social networks.
Russia’s troll factory intensified its activities amid the Ukraine crisis. According to reports, the agency expanded its propaganda efforts in different languages, used pictures and videos, and even operated its news websites.
Last March, Marat Burkhard, another professional Russian troll described that typical day and assignments given to him at the agency. He described Russia’s Agency for Internet Studies as a real troll factory because it implements production quotas. According to him, the quota was 135 comments per 12-hour shift.