Vladimir Putin’s youth group, Nashi, has been involved in a complex scheme to try to shift Russian opinion on the Internet.
The Russian youth group Nashi has paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to a vast network of bloggers, journalists and internet trolls to create flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and discredit his political rivals, according to a haul of thousands of emails allegedly sent to and from the group that have been released by Russian hackers.
• Price lists for pro-Putin bloggers and commenters which indicate that some are paid as much as 600,000 roubles (£12,694) for leaving hundreds of comments on negative stories about Putin.
• Plans to pay more than 10m roubles (£211,557) to buy a series of articles about Nashi’s annual Seliger summer camp in two popular Russian tabloids.
• Calls for paid Nashi activists to “dislike” anti-regime videos posted on YouTube.
• Ideas for smear campaigns against what one activist calls the “fascist” Russian opposition leader, Alexey Navalny, such as a cartoon video likening him to Hitler and a suggestion someone dress up like the blogger to beg for alms in front of the US embassy.