Rammstein + World Leaders Targeted by Russian ‘Troll Factory’ With Pro-War Disinformation
Rammstein are reportedly among a list of political targets by what is being dubbed a Russian "troll factory" that is spreading pro-war disinformation on social media in a coordinated digital assault that has also impacted U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell.
Other musical artists that have allegedly been victims of the troll factory's attacks includes Daft Punk, Tiesto and David Guetta, according to a report by The Guardian, which states news of the disinformation targeting came via research that was financially backed by the U.K. government.
The troll factory is said to be located in a rented part of the St. Petersburg-based Arsenal Machine-building Factory, which produces artillery and other advanced mechanical equipment and technology.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, founder of the Internet Research Agency and suspected leader of Wagner Group (a paramilitary organization with a network of mercenaries that is believed to be monetarily supported by Russia and deployed to advance Russian military conflicts since its formation in 2014, including the current invasion of Ukraine) is rumored to be the one behind the troll factory's initiatives.
In 2018, under the Trump administration, The Internet Research Agency was accused of interfering with the 2016 presidential election in the United States and, in the summer of 2020, a Republican-led Senate committee concluded that Russia had indeed meddled in the 2016 election race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Also in 2018, the FBI issued a federal arrest warrant for Prigozhin (who is on the Bureau's "Most Wanted" list) after he was "charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States."
The efforts of the troll factory are intended to alter public opinion about the Russian invasion of Ukraine by asserting pro-war talking points in highly influential social media spaces with extra focus on TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Allegedly, the troll factory is doling out salaries to hired workers and is branding the job as "patriotic activity" in support of what Russian President Vladimir Putin has described as a "special military operation" in its neighboring country Ukraine.
Both British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries spoke out in condemnation of "the Kremlin and its shady troll farms" and the "insidious attempts by Putin and his propaganda machine to deceive the world about the brutality he's inflicting on the people of Ukraine."
In early March, one week after the Russian invasion on Ukraine began, Rammstein, who have since released their new album Zeit, issued a trilingual statement expressing support for Ukraine and called the military aggression a "shocking attack." View the complete statement below.