by Yulia James and Sophia Jones her purple eye sockets and swollen lips throbbing. Instead, the then-28-year-old journalist peeled herself off of the couch, dripping blood as she hobbled to the bathroom. In the white-walled calmness of Katya’s apartment in Moscow’s Red Square, just a few blocks from the Kremlin, the two women made a calculated choice: They weren’t going to let Mikhail get away with it.It had been two days since she woke up to her ex-boyfriend, Mikhail, pinning her down on the couch, his face twisted in rage. To the two women, writing about the attack felt like a professional duty—a chance to save lives using the only tool at their disposal: the internet. In Russia, at the highest levels of government and society, violence against women is tolerated and even defended.“It’s because the mindset of Russian engineers, trained to do their jobs and not ask too many questions, is still there.At the same time, the country’s communications modernized so quickly that it led to the surge of online community, and online activists.” Trolling plays a key role in Russian politics—both domestic and foreign—in order to humiliate political opponents, push certain legislation, and influence voters. Petersburg, also known as the Internet Research Agency, has become known for international feats such as meddling in US politics by organizing political rallies, posing as American activists online, and pumping out propaganda that is republished across the US.In publishing it, Anna joined the ranks of a small but growing club: the group of women facing down a spree of online abuse intended to drive them off the internet.All because they talked about rape and violence against women in Russia—the country with the most organized trolling culture in the world.on feminist issues, Anna was well-versed in Russia’s patriarchy.
Anna’s story became one of the most widely read articles ever published by W-O-S.
face so much abuse online, first you have to understand the Russian internet.
More Russians than ever are connected to the internet today: The rate of citizens with internet access has bloomed from three million daily users in 2003 to over 70 million in 2017, according to Public Opinion Foundation, a Russian market research company.
According to Damir Gainutdinov, a Russian lawyer with Agora International Human Rights Group specializing in internet issues, trolling is central to Russian state policy.
“When it became clear that the authorities failed to limit access to independent information completely, they set the task to clog it,” he says.