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I picked a girl from the AOL personals who called herself " [email protected] Her profile was nice and she appeared to be a sincere woman. and I started to correspond with a women in the Ukraine, I did however run across your site after the first letter and was a lot wiser after that.But, after speaking with Russian journalists and opposition members, I quickly learned that pro-government trolling operations were not very effective at pushing a specific pro-Kremlin message—say, that the murdered opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was actually killed by his allies, in order to garner sympathy.The trolls were too obvious, too nasty, and too coördinated to maintain the illusion that these were everyday Russians.The aim is to promote an atmosphere of uncertainty and paranoia, heightening divisions among its adversaries.“Having realized it is unlikely to make any real or lasting friends, Moscow has instead turned its efforts into paralyzing and demoralizing its enemies,” Galeotti writes.
Trolling has become a key tool in a comprehensive effort by Russian authorities to rein in a previously freewheeling Internet culture, after huge anti-Putin protests in 2011 were organized largely over social media.
Since the article appeared, last summer, the Internet Research Agency appears to have quieted down significantly. But some continued, and toward the end of last year I noticed something interesting: many had begun to promote right-wing news outlets, portraying themselves as conservative voters who were, increasingly, fans of Donald Trump.
Exposure to even small amounts of Russian politics can induce severe bouts of paranoia and conspiracy-minded thinking, and it seemed logical to me that this new pro-Trump bent might well be an attempt by the agency to undermine the U. by helping to elect a racist reality-show star as our Commander-in-Chief. The agency was a well-funded but often hapless operation—it created a cartoon character that was a giant buttocks to spread anti-Obama propaganda, for example—and this seemed like another of its far-fetched schemes to poison the Internet.
This week, the idea that Putin is trying to get Trump elected exploded very seriously into the mainstream, after Wiki Leaks published thousands of e-mails from the Democratic National Committee, believed by intelligence agencies and security researchers to have been stolen by hackers connected to the Russian government.
The hack comes after weeks of increased scrutiny of Trump’s connections with Putin—what the Washington _Post _called a “bromance.” The narrative draws mostly on three points of confluence: a public record of mutually admiring comments between the two (Putin on Trump: “Undoubtedly a very colorful, talented person”; Trump on Putin: “He's a strong leader”); Trump’s ambivalence toward U. participation in , which Putin has long denounced as a tool of Western aggression; and Trump and his advisers’ financial connections to Russia and its allies, especially those of his campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, who previously consulted for Viktor Yanukovych, the former Russia-backed leader of Ukraine. leak, perfectly timed to disrupt the Democratic National Convention, sowing discord between supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton and generally making things more difficult for Clinton, appeared to put a bow on the Trump-Putin axis of evil. At a press conference, he referred to Hillary Clinton’s use of an unauthorized e-mail server and, speaking directly to the camera, said, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand e-mails that are missing."Yet, like most things having to do with Russia, the connection between Trump and Putin is far from straightforward.