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With political trolls the Kremlin will try to “unmask” the court

С политических троллей Кремля попытаются "сорвать маску" в суде

The Agency paid Pro-Kremlin commentators in the Internet for the second time in its history will act as a defendant at the suit of a former employee.

During the three years of its existence St. Petersburg “Fabrika online trolls managed to move from the area of Holguin to a New Village, to become the subject of many journalistic investigations, it was related to three legal entities, one of which has lost resonance, the court of the former employee. The concept of “Olginsky” separated from its prototype and has entered Internet folklore.

For an organization that continues to conceal its existence and purpose, the factory is studied in great detail. Or only think so?

In March 2016 the Russian service Bi-bi-si has contacted the 24-year-old Olga Maltseva, at that time an employee of OOO “Tech” (another associated with the factory is a legal entity). Olga introduced us to the last rough copies of the organization a list of IP addresses on which trolls can be calculated online, and other materials.

This prompted us to investigate a video in which a dark-skinned man dressed like an American soldier shoots the Koran. It turned out that the hero of the video hasn’t been used by the U.S. army, he supposedly works as a bartender in St. Petersburg and is friends with the employee “Troll factory”. The video was published on 3 September 2015, 27 days before the Russian military operation in Syria.

In June 2016 bi-Bi-si and the St. Petersburg edition of “Fontanka” independently from each other found that the “Troll factory” may be involved in the creation of the website for anonymous denunciations. People from the “black list” of this site have beaten or set fire to their car.

In addition, journalists of “Fontanka” through social networks tried to find out personal details of their colleagues Denis Korotkov, author of several articles on businessman Eugene Prigogine.

Related to Prigogine the company in accordance with the plum group cyberactivists “Anonymous international”, Finance “trolley factory” (bi-Bi-si failed to achieve Prigogine reviews on this subject). Korotkov claims that found the relationship of these companies with force in the Ukraine and Syria armed group, known as PMCs Wagner.

IP, which was managed website for denunciations and interested Korotkov, according to “Fontanka” rented “trolls”.

Indeed, 20 Feb Olga Maltseva photographed at the work site with the IP, all 11 digits are the same.

Olga became the seventh in the list of ex-employees who decided to talk about their experiences publicly (the previous stories: 1, 2-3, 4, 5, 6).

Our first conversation took place a few days before Olga went to the headquarters of the trolls on Savushkina 55 for the February salary (40 thousand rubles). She has already worked my last shift in this place.

The reason for the break Olga factory after 19 months of work – the refusal to formalize its work and to pay her maternity leave in the labour code. Two months later, Olga was expecting a baby.

Olga from ol’gino

“I treated this as a job, I didn’t care what I write, – the girl tells. I suppose the state needs it to raise the rating for PR. Nevertheless, we can idealize the situation. About problems also need to talk. And the need to better treat their employees.”

The attitude of “Troll factory” staff says a lot of angry posts on sites with reviews on employers. Olga is my experience: she “liked the first three months, then not much…”, and after she learned about the difficulties of registration for work and receiving benefits, she “actually got sick something to do.”

After talking with the personnel Department, Olga wrote to Lyudmila Savchuk – the activist who worked in the Department of the blogs under cover from January to March 2015, but was calculated by factory security service. About your experience Savchuk told in the media, providing extensive evidence of the activities of the factory.

With the help of human rights “Team 29” Lyudmila sued from factory salaries for 1.5 months, this did not prevent the lack of records in the workbook. The entire amount – 70 thousand roubles, – Lyudmila gave to charity.

According to Olga, at the meetings in the “factory of the trolls said that the court Lyudmila lost, and all the media, follow an open process lying. Supposedly Savchuk received moral compensation in the amount of one ruble, but not the salary. Knowing that really happened is exactly the opposite, Olga also decided to sue.

The conspiracy and the escape

Olga and Lyudmila agreed to meet in the food court of a Mall. The place was too public: according to Olga, she accidentally made eye contact with a colleague sitting at the next table. Olga believes that the employee YouTube commentators especially have not followed zagovorami, and spent time with relatives.

Despite the dangerous contacts, Olga went to work the next shift. As at the time of Lyudmila, she began to collect evidence of work at the factory: video of the offices where “always stuffy as cannot open window”, a lengthy technical specifications for comments and posts screenshots of the work done… the evidence Maltsev and Savchuk decided to publish on the Internet.

After a couple of days Olga was summoned to mandatory for all employees check on the lie detector, but she refused, citing her pregnancy.

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The plans mixed up when the morning of March 4 after contact Olga with Bi-bi-si – she was unexpectedly called by the Deputy head of the forums and asked to appear on Savushkina 55 for a salary.

“I guessed at once that something was wrong, for the salary too early,” says Olga. But I decided to go and money is needed. Fortunately, next to me was a man, one I would not go”.

On entering Olga discovered that her magnetic pass does not work anymore. The card was taken away, and the girl was taken to the personnel Department.

“<url> has proposed to sign the documents of resignation, – says Olga. I say, “First the money, then quit”. We have long argued. In the end, I got to get paid, and she stood next to a piece of paper and a pen. I got the money and hurried out, and kadrovichka is this: “where are You going?” I replied that I was on sick leave and is not going to resign”.

Olga recalls how, after leaving the office, heard next: “Stop her, stole the money!” She ran down the stairs, pushed a young man who tried to stop her, but the ground floor is buried in the guard.

Security took Olga with her husband to his office and reported that a security camera recorded as she shoots video inside the object. What is happening there is allegedly a trade secret. Moreover, the publication of the footage has already announced Lyudmila Savchuk – for security, it became obvious that they were in contact.

“We began to wonder why I contacted Savchuk, – continues Olga. – To do so is bad, you understand that we have substituted <url>… keep coming with their papers, but the guard sent her away. Reason began to tell stories of his youth. At the factory there was a rumor that one of the guilty employee forcibly kept in the basement… the Guard was “reassured” that the only thing he was doing in the basement, this young “girls pinched”… Apparently to wrap it as a joke”.

In the ill-fated building, Olga was already about an hour, and the stories from the young guard was not the end.

“Obviously, they needed my retirement, not to pay vacation pay, there was no reason for the court. We just stopped the conversation has stopped responding. Let us go and we left”, – says Olga light weight.

The next day she went to the doctor, as written in the medical record, “complaining of the deterioration of the perturbations of the [fetus] after stress 4 March (copy of record is available bi-Bi-si).

A few days later Olga called Oleg Vasiliev, known in the media as the de facto leader of “Troll factory”. Olga refused to talk, Vasiliev called her husband Sergei.

Vasiliev offered to the family to compensate for the fact that history will not be imposed in the public space. He also hinted that Olga should be wary of “Ukrainian nationalists” (a recording of the conversation is at the disposal of bi-Bi-si).

According to Olga, these negotiations came to nothing lead.

Calls and messages bi-Bi-si Vasilyev did not answer.

Retro trolling

All these years the main product of the “Troll factory” are the posts and comments. They are produced around the clock, without weekends and holidays and leave everywhere in the Russian segment of the Internet, where technically possible, as well as some Western areas.

Top-down officialdom broadcast from a non-existent entity Housewives, informal, business that creates the illusion of aggressive, cheering the authorities of the majority. For such virtual characters are not so numerous, but the real people who thus earn a living.

At the factory she worked for schedule”. Shift lasted 12 hours. In the Department of the blogs we had to write 15 comments and the first 10 and then 15 posts a day.

Political positions, which lowered the requirements specification from another Department was required to dilute the abstract themes. So the trolls “Live journal” so I like to wish its readers (mostly the same trolls) “good morning” accompanied by the beautiful pictures from photobanks, as if it was the mid-2000s.

“Posts policy had to be linked to some events from his personal life, – says Olga. – That is, the post began with the fact that I went with friends to walk and ended with what Putin has done, roughly speaking”.

In the “factory trolley” still has a section of forums, where Olga and I worked most of the time.

Tree discussion site where registered users can create “topics” and leave the comments under them, appeared almost simultaneously with the Internet in the 1970s and has been popular at the turn of XX-XXI centuries.

The life of a Troll on the forum is complicated by the fact that it is controlled by an administrator, often independent. To tell that “Putin is good”, there should reasonably.

Trolls convey to the users of the forums – mostly urban and military subjects – notes the Pro-Kremlin news agencies and the media, flavoring their “point of view” from Temnikov. Holguín, the rate was four political post and one abstract for change in different forums.

In discussions Troll performs a rate review, so Olga had to leave 50 per shift. The norm increases in “emergency mode”.

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“Let’s say the President delivered a message to the Federal Assembly, – continues Olga. – If you do not do the extra job – it will be fine. We were constantly afraid of fines. Didn’t know that may be imposed another fine.”

Olga was once paid 1,000 rubles for allegedly laughed, and her colleague 1000 rubles – for the fact that “amused”.

Another colleague paid the fine because he slept in the workplace, although, according to Olga, he was awake. This was confirmed by the “team leader” – so the factory call people who follow the discipline of employees.

“Regular users of the forums in the result did not change his opinion, and tried to refute what we wrote. Called us “kremlebotami” and all sorts of other words,” reflects Olga.

The vanguard

There’s the factory and offices, keeping up with the times.

“On the first floor are the commentators on YouTube – describes Olga. Second is a control Department and some administrative departments. On the third bloggers, commentators in social networks (Facebook, Vkontakte and others) and my ex-Department forums. On the fourth departments in foreign languages, and those who fills butovskie accounts in social networks”.

Details about these departments Olga knows: between the employees of the factory almost do not communicate, and more recently to get to a certain floor can only be an employee of the Department located there.

“In this office you need to go, but if you have a problem with money, but consider this as a profession for life – I wouldn’t” – sums up Olga.

13 may 2016 Olga Maltseva gave birth to a daughter.

On 15 August she, along with lawyers “Team 29” has filed a lawsuit against OOO “Internet research” and “Tech” with the requirement to formalize it to work and to pay benefits for pregnancy and childbirth. The amount of claim is more than 300 thousand rubles. The time and place of trial is not yet assigned.


About the prospects of a trial of Bi-bi-si has spoken to the defender Olga Maltseva, head of “Team 29” by Ivan Pavlov.

Bi-bi-si: the failure of the employer to pay maternity leave to make the employee – it is rather common in Russia. Why “Team 29” is closely monitoring the observance of laws in OOO “Tech”?

Ivan Pavlov: We will use all legal means and methods in order to defend freedom of information. If this goal can serve as the Arsenal, which gives us the Labor code, we will use this Arsenal.

In our interest here not only represent the interests of the plaintiff, but also the withdrawal of the organization in the legal field. We’re trying to rip off this mask of anonymity – so people know exactly who is responsible for this activity and attacks in the Internet, trolling.

Now it seems that they are virtually invulnerable. It is not, and we prove, prove that a vulnerability exists that can bring them to justice. Maybe not for what they do online, but for other offences.

Nefarious activity is usually manifested in different forms. Rarely it happens that on the Internet, they are nasty, but otherwise clean. While a justice on the Internet baddies to be found, and we will do – including using the Labour code.

Bi-bi-si: whether the polygraph and fines in the absence of the labor contract legal methods of influence on employees?

I. P.: Fines, in the absence of an employment contract, are not legal methods of influence on employees.

Polygraph test – this is a controversial issue. If it is done in good faith employees, it does not violate their rights.

If this binding, for example by threatening dismissal, it is illegal and not provided for in any legislation, moreover, is a direct violation of human rights.

But even obtaining consent does not mean the legality of such measures: the polygraph test is, in fact, the implementation of operative-search activities.

And to engage in investigative activities, we have the right only to law enforcement agencies. A private entity has no such right, therefore, in my view, this practice is illegal in any case.

Bi-bi-si: If the “factory of the trolls” would have adhered to all the rules of the TC, would it make a difference that she is engaged in lawful activities in General?

I. P.: We are not ready to assess the activities of “Troll factory”, but we see that many of the comments of the authors are controversial from the point of view of existing legislation, particularly in the area of extremism.

We are not fans of anti-extremist legislation, but sometimes individual comments cross the line through which to navigate even in completely information free country, absolutely indecent. It is not even a law, but in the hatred that trying to stimulate with these reviews.

But we do not attract and do not require bringing those people to justice. We Express our civil position, are intended to compensate for this activity that these people understand that there are methods of dealing with them with comments that cause hatred and enmity.

This method is not only criminal liability – even rules in the Labor code allow us to fight this war and win it.

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