Europe

Ex-Russian 'troll' wins lawsuit against propaganda 'factory'

  • 18 August 2015
  • From the section Europe
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Lyudmila Savchuk speaks in an interview in her apartment in St Petersburg, Russia, on 15 April 2015. Image copyright AP
Image caption Since leaving the agency, Ms Savchuk has been organising a public movement against online trolling

A former Russian internet "troll" has been awarded one rouble ($0.01) in damages after she sued her ex-employer to expose it as a propaganda "factory".

Lyudmila Savchuk says she and hundreds of colleagues at Internet Research in St Petersburg flooded websites with pro-Putin commentary.

A Russian court ordered the secretive agency to pay her symbolic damages.

An agency representative said it did market research and he was not aware of "trolling" activities, reports say.

Ms Savchuk, 34, sued the secretive company for alleged moral damages, non-payment of wages and for failing to give workers proper contracts.

She said she worked for the network for two months for a salary of about 40,000 roubles a month, but was fired in March after speaking to the media about her employer.

Happy with the result

Petrogradsky district court on Monday set the damages at one rouble following an agreement between the parties.

Ms Savchuk said she was happy with the result because she had succeeded in exposing the work of Russia's internet "trolls".

Russian media quoted a spokesman for Internet Research denying the accusations.

The Kremlin says it has no links to Internet Research's operations.

Since leaving the agency, Ms Savchuk has been organising a public movement against online trolling.

Over the past year, Russia has seen an unprecedented rise in the activity of bloggers allegedly paid by the Russian state to criticise the West on social media over the conflict in eastern Ukraine and post favourable comments about the leadership in Moscow.

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