First video interview with an ex-employee of the foreign desk of the «troll factory»
Alan Baskaev spent six months with the American desk of the infamous «troll factory» HQ’d at 55 Savushkina str. In an exclusive video-interview to Dozhd, recorded in Thailand, Alan let us in on how we found a way around the «factory» KPI, on how to work from multiple accounts at once, and on who “the Kremlin Chef” Evgeny Prigozhin was to him. Evgeniia Kotliar asked the questions.
Alan Barkaev is hurrying home from work. The «troll factory» for him is a thing of the past: he now lives in Thailand teaching Russian to the locals. Two years ago he left the foreign desk of the «troll factory», HQ’d at 55 Savushkina str. He was there though the most heated times of the Internet wars, from November 2014 to April 2015. He wrote comments, created threads and posted messages on political forums. Alan is an ex-troll who agreed to talk about his experience to the American audience masks off.
«I called and told them I wanted to work for them. They asked me if I had any idea of what they were doing. I told them I did, I actually told them I had a better idea than they did. Just a trick I used. I got there. They asked me what I was counting on. I said I was counting on a job with English. The boss showed up, we chatted for about 15 minutes, and he told me I could start the next day».
«I needed the cash, don’t we all? I was getting a scholarship of about 1200 rubles (~$20), mum and dad chipped in a little, but that would only cover my food. At 21-22, you don’t just want to eat, you want to party, you want to have a good time. And these guys, they were offering 50,000 rubles for nothing. All you had to do was show up, do something almost effortless, and get the 50k. I decided it was a great deal, no morals involved».