‘Young Guard’: Kremlin creating troll army with human face (ENG video)

Pro-Putin ‘young guards’ are set to take over the Internet: the movement is in search of authors to create and spread propaganda materials on the web. Why has the youth wing of the ruling party become more active online and what will they differ from Olgino trolls?

There will be more praises of those in power on VKontakte and Instagram soon: the United Russia’s Young Guards (Molodaya Gvardiya) are engaging people who will defend the Kremlin’s position in the network, the influential media outlet Kommersant reports citing its source in the organization. Officially, the goal is to ‘uphold the political position of the movement and the interests of young people on the Internet’. But experts believe that the Kremlin is seriously concerned about its losing popularity among young people.

“Naturally, they are trying to remedy the situation in some way, but they have nothing else to do but going online and telling how good Putin is there. They have not managed to raise every young scientist’s to $ 1,000, as Medvedev previously promised. There is no money for that. But they always have funds for propaganda,” political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin said.

The movement ‘Young Guard of United Russia’ is not new. Founded in 2005, it aimed at ‘instilling patriotism and pride in their country’ in the youth. But for 15 years of its existence, the organization has not been able to define its ideology.

“It is obvious that the Russian authorities failed to build a state in which there is some real ideological bent. But there is a pseudo-ideological one. Therefore, the Young Guard, like the United Russia, is seeking to shape an [ideological] idea, but still in vain,” Roman Zakharov, a representative of the Glasnost Defense Foundation, stressed.

The Young Guard once made headlines when its activists declared that they would take its units to streets and fight the opposition. But one can see on the Internet how young people were behaving during ‘junk protests’ or counter-rallies after introducing the pension reform.

From now on, pro-Kremlin activists will be fighting for influence on the Internet. But in contrast to trolls from Olgino, they are likely to act on behalf of real opinion leaders, not fake accounts.

“Without some kind of bait, they will not find real authors able to get people interested. I think they are well aware of the problem. Otherwise they would not look for persons who could infect others with an idea or explain their position. I do not see anything wrong, but the question is whether they really some position?” Roman Zakharov added.

Judging by their performance on the web, things are not going too well. The users’ involvement and interest in the Young Guard’s activity are low. The names of the authors who might assume the burden are not yet known. However, it is not ruled out that popular Russian blogger Konstantin Tkachenko, who was included in the leadership of the movement last week, will be in charge of the project.

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Denis Shpigov/MS, Belsat TV

Photo by ITAR-TASS / Grigory Sysoyev