“Only Prigozhin issued orders": Troll factory organizer speaks of attacks on media and bloggers
After the appeal to the police, a new source of Novaya Gazeta opened to journalists how he prepared provocations.
Andrey Mikhailov told Novaya Gazeta about his work for businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, for whom he prepared provocations against media and competitors, led the trolls and met the first informant of the edition Valery Amelchenko. According to Mikhailov, only Prigozhin issued orders.
“Everything comes from Prigozhin. He chose the premises for the troll factory; it is located in Lakhta, just on the way to his dacha,” Mikhailov said.
Trolls were supposed to post fakes, search for negative information on the Internet using keywords. There were divisions not only in Russia but also in Ukraine and the US.
Also, Mikhailov said that he had participated in masterminding provocations against Caramel Catering, opposition poet Dmitry Bykov, AIF, Forbes, and RIA Novosti publications, prepared DDoS attacks on Novaya Gazeta, Echo of Moscow, Moskovsky Komsomolets, Dozhd, Forbes and Fontanka in May 2013. The team allegedly received at least five million rubles for hacker attacks.
“Finance was managed by two people - Irina Mukhina and Yulia Kholodkova,” said Mikhailov.
According to the informant, at the end of 2013, Prigozhin's structures “registered in dozens non-profit organizations in Ukraine with relatives of Gladienko, Valery Amelchenko allegedly distributed money to Ukrainians for organizing rallies under the leadership of Andrey Pichushkin.
He mingled Amelchenko with the security service. According to the organizer of the troll factory, Amelchenko participated in the attack on Sochi blogger Anton Grishchenko in the summer of 2013, who “posted some wrong things.” After the attacker smashed his arm with a metal bar, he ceased writing.
Amelchenko, together with the security personnel of Prigozhin, repeatedly arranged several car accidents with unwanted persons. “The necessary car is driving; it was accompanied. The man was ready. At the right moment, he threw himself under the car,” says Mikhailov. In particular, the informant recalled Elena Cherevko, the owner of Denta-L LLC.
Mikhailov worked for Prigozhin from the end of spring of 2012 to the end of 2013. He allegedly met with the head of the restaurateur’s security service, Yevgeny Gulyaev, and also with Prigozhin.
In May 2017, Mikhailov applied with the police after unknown people took him to a forest, beat him, and forced to write a receipt for 3 million rubles and sell a share in the business, Novaya Gazeta writes. The kidnappers were allegedly supervised by a lawyer who was familiar with work for Prigozhin, whose name was not disclosed. Mikhailov provided documents, videotapes, and other materials to prove his words to journalists, the editorial staff claims.
Earlier Valery Amelchenko told the edition about his cooperation with the security service of Prigozhin. Shortly after that, he reported spying on him and disappeared for a while. The journalists raised Cain, but two days later Amelchenko came to the police and asked them to wiretap him.