Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting of the Security Council in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 29, 2015. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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Deep inside a four-story marble building in St. Petersburg, hundreds of workers tap away at computers on the front lines of an information war, say those who have been inside. Known as "Kremlin trolls," the men and women work 12-hour shifts around the clock, flooding the Internet with propaganda aimed at stamping President Vladimir Putin's world vision on Russia, and the world. The Kremlin has always dabbled in propaganda, but in the past year its troll campaign has gone into overdrive, adding hundreds of online operatives to help counter Western pressure over its role in the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. St. Petersburg journalist Andrei Soshnikov, who was one of the first to report on the "troll factory," said about 400 people work in the building.In Serbia, trolls are recruited through several small right-wing parties that are both financially and politically supported by Russia, media analysts say."Likes" went into the hundreds, while comments such as "Putin is responsible" received widespread ridicule.Serbs receive most of their information about Russia from Moscow-backed media, and the trolls reinforce the Kremlin line.
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