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Prigozhin's media group remains open, trolls remain active – FT

Saturday, 15 July 2023, 21:35
Prigozhin's media group remains open, trolls remain active – FT
YEVGENY PRIGOZHIN, PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

The Patriot media group of Yevgeny Prigozhin, the financier of the Wagner Group, has announced the termination of its work after the recent failed rebellion initiated by Prigozhin's mercenaries, but its fate is not finally decided, and Prigozhin's troll accounts continue to be active on the Internet.

Source: Financial Times

Details: A few hours after Wagner's march to Moscow, Russian special services raided the headquarters of Prigozhin's media empire and the troll farm, which is united under the Patriot umbrella company.

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Patriot announced its closure on social media. But, according to informed sources, its final fate has not yet been decided, the newspaper reports.

Alexander Ionov, who was sanctioned by the United States and accused of cooperating with Prigozhin and the Russian special services to undermine the US elections, told the newspaper that "the group ('Patriot') was suspended, not closed, because there are more urgent matters at the moment". He added that commercial buyers may be interested in the "very large patriotic audience" of the holding.

At the same time, Alexander Krasnobaev, head of the Neva News website owned by the Patriot, told the Financial Times that he had "suspended editorial work" but hopes to resume it.

Answering the question of why a message about its closure appeared on the site's social media pages, Krasnobaev suggested that this was done in order to "preserve the intrigue."

Adding to the mystery is the legion of anonymous Prigozhin's accounts that continue to post as before.

Quote: "The mutiny did not stop the trolls for a second," said one of the activists, who identified himself as an Antibot. But, he added, the appearance of a new owner may only be a matter of time.

"A [bot] farm is a rare commodity... If Prigozhin loses control over it, it will quickly move to another structure close to the Kremlin," he believes.

The newspaper notes that by 2017, Prigozhin's media group had reached millions of users, creating a network of dozens of distinctly pro-Kremlin news sites covering lifestyle, business, city news and politics.

Quote: "Even after being blocked for most of last month, the sites under the Patriot umbrella still attract more than 20 million users – an audience comparable to that of major state media outlets such as Russia's RT, according to LiveInternet data," the newspaper says.

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