Russian Folk Art

Here is an amazing bit of “folk art” I just captured on Facebook. What’s amazing about it is that it turns on their head all the impossible contortions that Russian state and mainstream media, and segments of Russian social media have been going through, over the past week, to befuddle the Russian public as to who might have shot down Flight MH17 (as described here, for example, by the indispensable Peter Pomerantsev), attributing them instead to US State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki. In the past couple months, Psaki has been elevated by the “pro-Russian” crowd (meaning the same state/”grassroots” media synergy behind the contortionist act) into a Great Satan figure, emblematic of American stupidity and ignorance.
folk art

The missile that shot down the Boeing was launched from the cruiser Aurora, which, under the cover of night, and escorted by the FSB, arrived on the shores of Belarus. It launched the missile and just as quietly rowed back, via the Great Rostov Ridge, to Petersburg.

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On the so-called Psaking phenomenon:

Jen Psaki became one of the favorite targets of the Russian media. RG.ru published an article entitled “Jen Psaki found mountains in Rostov Oblast.” The article attributes direct quotes supposedly obtained by journalist Matt Lee about Ukrainian refugees to Russia, whom Psaki was said to have referred to as “tourists traveling to enjoy Rostov’ mountains.” Matt Lee promptly denied ever having such a conversation with Psaki, asserting that the claims in the article were false. In spite of Lee refuting claims in the article, the same allegations were regurgitated by Komsomolskaya Pravda and other news outlets, some of which attributed the fake quotes to Associated Press. Lenta.ru published an apology to Jen Psaki for re-printing the said false claims. None of the other outlets apologized, but instead went on to pontificate about Psaki’s prior commentary, continuing to attack her credibility.

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While society at large is complicit in this hysteria, to say the least, it cannot be stressed too many times how much of this “folk wisdom” about current affairs and “popular support” for whatever way the Putinist line is bending, has been generated either by state media outright or by covert paid commentators (i.e., Internet trolls), operating out of offices like this in the Petersburg suburb of Olgino:

Local reporters have infiltrated a covert organization that hired young people as “Internet operators” near St. Petersburg and discovered that the employees are being paid to write pro-Kremlin postings and comments on the Internet, smearing opposition leader Alexei Navalny and U.S. politics and culture.

Journalists from the MR7.ru website and the Novaya Gazeta newspaper have reacted to a posting by St. Petersburg local Natalya Lvova, who wrote on the Russian VKontakte social network about an interview she attended on Aug. 30 at what she described as a “posh cottage with glass walls” in Olgino, a village in St. Petersburg’s Kurortny District.

According to Lvova, the office occupying two rooms reminded her of an “internet club with lots of computers and people.” Employees in one room wrote blog posts for social networks, while those in the other room specialized in comments.

“To my question about a technical task — what exactly should be written in the comments — a young guy, a coordinator, told me, briefly and clearly, that they were having busy days at the moment and that yesterday they all wrote in support of [Moscow acting mayor Sergei] Sobyanin, while ‘today we shit on Navalny,’” she wrote on her VKontakte page.

According to Lvova, each commenter was to write no less than 100 comments a day, while people in the other room were to write four postings a day, which then went to the other employees whose job was to post them on social networks as widely as possible.

Employees at the company, located at 131 Lakhtinsky Prospekt, were paid 1,180 rubles ($36.50) for a full 8-hour day and received a free lunch, Lvova wrote.

source: St. Petersburg Times

 

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