New Anti-Putin Trolls Spring Up in Russia

  • A new campaign has emerged in Russia: "Nyet!"
  • The campaign remains weak, and has not gained the traction it needs to deter voters from voting yes.
  • The operation appears to have employed a trolling strategy.

On July 1st, Russian citizens will go to vote on the amendments to the Russian Constitution proposed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. The ballot will include only yes or no questions. However, the details of the changes are not provided for the voters on the day of the vote.

The current Constitution of the Russian Federation was adopted by national referendum on December 12, 1993. In March 2020, President Vladimir Putin submitted changes to enshrine God and heterosexuality in the constitution.

The amendments were proposed back in January. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the voting had to be postponed for the safety of everyone.  Currently, there are over 9.4 million infected, and over 480,000 deaths around the globe.

Since then, a new campaign has emerged in Russia: “Nyet!” Say a firm “NO!” to the amendments in order to regain hope for a better future and the right to determine the country’s path, reads the text on the website of the “NO” campaign. It was created by natives of Open Russia.

The campaign remains weak, and has not gained the traction it needs to deter voters from voting yes.  According the No website, they plan to release close to 20 videos of Putin’s failures over 20 years within next 24 hours.

The main topics of the videos are:

  1. Putin’s famous speech in Munich in 2007.
  2. The Georgia crisis in 2008.
  3. Magnitsky’s murder and the Magnitsky Act.
  4. Moscow’s allegedly falsified elections in 2010.
  5. The arrest of Pussy Riot in Moscow.

The war between Russia and Georgia started in 2008, during the period of worsening relations between Russia and Georgia, and pertaining Russian backing of the South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian accountant who was tortured in a Moscow jail and denied medical treatment in 2009. He was targeted by the Kremlin due to being a whistle blower into Russian government corruption and fraud. His murder resulted in the Magnitsky Act being passed.

Under President Obama in 2012, the US Congress passed the Magnitsky Act into law, imposing sanctions on certain Russian officials (who were believed to be responsible for the human rights violations) by freezing their US assets and barring them from entering the US. The EU also started working on its version of the Magnitsky Act at the end of last year.

The band Pussy Riot was disrespectful toward the Russian Orthodox Church, engaging in many classless acts. The band was absolutely morally bankrupt on every level.

Sergei Magnitsky was a Russian tax advisor. His arrest in 2008 and subsequent death after eleven months in police custody generated international media attention and triggered both official and unofficial inquiries into allegations of fraud, theft and human rights violations in Russia.

These are the main topics, but there are many less significant topics the group plans to release via new videos. Furthermore, even though the topics are legit and very important, the operation itself is more of another troll farm setting.

The Trolling Operation: 

  1. The group intends to post caricatures of Vladimir Puitn all over Russian and Western social media.
  2. Online civil disobedience of cartoon banners against amendments.
  3. The site offers online users to print and share flyers with caricatures, stickers and troll online.

Russia is blaming the West for the campaign organization. None of it is proven or corroborated at the time. The alleged leader of the campaign is Julia Galiamova. There is even a document posted pertaining her plausible involvement. The document has not been authenticated at this time.

The irony is that Russia continuously utilizes trolls to create unrest and social engineering propaganda in the West. Yet, so quickly, they point the finger at the West.

It is highly unlikely this campaign is from the West, it is more than likely just disgruntled younger people in Russia, or just another paid troll farm. It is even possibly from Ukraine. As of late, it has been revealed Ukraine has been a hotbed for housing troll farms.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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