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Yevgeny Prigozhin (IRA) 1/2
In today's #vatnik soup I'll be introducing a man behind both 🇷🇺's private war organization and its disinformation and propaganda machine: an oligarch and a businessman Yevgeni Prigozhin. This thread will be divided into 2 (or 3) parts since his "achievements" are plentiful. 1/10
Like many oligarchs, Yevgeni used to be a petty criminal and spent 9 years in prison in the 80's for robbery and fraud. After his release, he started various lucrative food businesses, eventually opening a restaurant in St. Petersburg called New Island.
It quickly became the most fashionable restaurant in St. Petersburg and Putin himself started dining there with people like Jacques Chirac and George W. Bush. By 2003, Prigozhin had become a confidante of Putin and people started calling him "Putin's chef".
In 2012 his company, Concord Catering, received a contract with the Russian military worth 1,2 billion USD. Allegedly some of this money was used to start his troll farm masterpiece, Internet Research Agency (IRA): fontanka.ru/2014/05/29/170/
IRA is a company conducting online propaganda and information operations on behalf of Russia. NYT wrote an extensive (and paywalled) article about the IRA already back in 2018: nytimes.com/2018/02/18/wor… At IRA, the employees spread Russian propaganda and disinfo 24/7.
The topics and themes were given each day, at first focusing on crushing the opposition, and after that on bashing Ukraine and the "decadent West". The group was allegedly led by Dzheykhun Aslanov, who's now wanted the by the FBI.
IRA is best known for its meddling with US elections in 2016. They were no doubt involved in 2020's election, too. On the 7th of Nov, 2022, Prigozhin finally admitted that "[...] we interfered, we interfere and we will interfere" in regards to elections in the US.
The troll factory has produced fake videos, such as the Dutch Terror Threat video. This video depicts six soldiers, supposedly from the Azov Battalion, speaking in Ukrainian before burning a Dutch flag. The video was proven to be fake by @bellingcat: bellingcat.com/news/uk-and-eu…
IRA has also organized and promoted several rallies in the 🇺🇸, usually provoking two opposing sides to each have their own. These rallies were very common during BLM: doi.org/10.36643/mjrl.… IRA has also outsourced some of its work to countries like Ghana and Nigeria.
It is also worth mentioning that West and Ukraine are not the only propaganda targets of IRA - research found out that they are conducting these campaigns around the globe, including in Africa and in India: gov.uk/government/new…