The Russia connectionRussia’s troll factory expands office to 12,000 square meters

Published 16 January 2018

Russian government disinformation and hacking specialists had good eighteen months: they were successful in their campaigns to bolster far-right, nationalist, anti-European political parties and leaders in France (Marine Le Pen), Germany (AfD), and the Netherlands (Geert Wilders); they were successful in raising the profile of populist causes which would weaken European institutions (Brexit, Catalonian independence, Scottish separatism, and Italy’s referendum); and they succeeded in helping Donald Trump, a polarizing, divisive leader who is more responsive to Russian interests and outlook, become president of the United States. Russia’s infamous troll factory in St. Petersburg, which played a major role in the Russian government’s disinformation campaigns on social media, is expanding its office to 12,000 square meters, three times bigger than its previous work space.


When the employees of the famous “troll factory” in St. Petersburg return to their desks after the Russian holidays, they will be writing comments and posts on social media in much more spacious offices. As the city’s leading business daily Delovoy Peterburg reports in an investigative article published just before New Year, the 4,000 square meters of their previous address on 55 Savushkina Street have been replaced by 12,000 square meters in St Petersburg’s Lakhta business district.

The impressive threefold increase of work space is testimony to the success of the “factory.” As Russian RBC Daily’s investigation in April 2017 showed, the trolling activities have now branched out into a conglomerate of at least sixteen different online outlets, all of which voice strong support for Kremlin’s policies, while systematically linking to each other’s products. At the same time, they carry little or no advertisement.

The owner of the “troll factory,” businessman and billionaire Yevgeny Prigozhin, has also become known as “Putin’s chef” because of his success in providing catering services for, among other clients, the Kremlin and other branches of the Russian government. Mr. Prigozhin has been sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department for providing financial support for Russia’s military occupation of Ukraine. Delovoy Peterburg’s investigation also reveals that the owners of the new premises are contributors to President Putin’s election campaign.

This article is reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty