Theresa May did not attempt to mask her discomfort while shaking hands with Vladimir Putin. Photograph: Reuters
Theresa May did not attempt to mask her discomfort while shaking hands with Vladimir Putin/CRIMSON TAZVINZWA//
British Prime Minister Theresa May confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the UK last year as the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Japan on Friday//euronews
“The prime minister said that the use of a deadly nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury formed part of a wider pattern of unacceptable behaviour and was a truly despicable act that led to the death of a British citizen, Dawn Sturgess,” May’s office said in a statement.
Putin confirmed he and May had discussed the issue but provided no details other than denying that Russia has ever had any aggressive intent with regards to anyone.
“She expressed her position in a rather tough manner, yes, this is true,” Putin said of his meeting with May on the sidelines of the G20 summit, but added that the meeting was “a small, but positive step in the right direction”.
Russian trolls experimented with different methods to maximise political disruption|E&T||
A study has described in detail how employees of Russia’s Internet Research Agency (IRA) experimented with different methods in the run-up to the election of President Donald Trump in 2016.
The IRA, based in Saint Petersburg, is an agency engaged in online influence operations on behalf of the interests of President Putin. Employees of the IRA set up fake accounts and buy ads on social networks and news websites in order to spread viral deceptions, cause social divisions in the US and its allies, praise Vladimir Putin, denigrate his political opponents, and bolster support for foreign leaders backed by Putin, such as Bashar al-Assad and Donald Trump.
In February 2018, a US grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities, including the IRA, on charges of committing crimes with the intent to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.
In October 2018, Twitter released a dataset relating to 3841 accounts affiliated with the IRA and 770 other accounts potentially originating in Iran. The dataset included more than 10 million tweets in both English and Russian, and more than 2 million images, videos, and GIFs dating back to 2009.
A pair of researchers – security researcher Charles Kriel, who is special adviser to MPs on disinformation and addictive technologies, and data science MSc student Alexa Pavliuc – have now presented an analysis of this dataset in Defence Strategic Communications.
Their analysis shows that the IRA trolls were able to use “innocuous hashtags” to inject themselves into broader Twitter conversations, with tactics and methods changing over time.
Analysis of the Russian-language dataset showed that IRA users experimented with various methods, such as retweeting other accounts, then by sending original tweets, or targeting the same sets of users and hashtags. The period of greatest activity among these trolls was in the day following the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine in July 2014, killing all 283 passengers and 15 crew on board. Russian-language tweeting tapered off at the start of 2016 as English-based effort increased.
Analysis of the English-language dataset showed that several automated bot networks were set up in 2012 and 2013, but only fully activated and manually controlled years later. Many of the ‘sleeper’ accounts went live in the spring of 2015 and increased coverage of US topics and some UK topics.
IRA employees also` experimented with programming bots to tweet and retweet either mundane (mostly bots created in 2014) or strongly polarising (mostly bots created in 2013) content. Bots were able to maximise their follower numbers by retweeting mundane trending content (using hashtags like #myamazonwishlist, #reasonsmymomisbetter, and #ifgooglewasagirl) and sports-related content, as well as by posing as local news sources such as @todaypittsburgh. This technique was also used by manually-operated accounts to gain followers from a broad range of Twitter users.
The IRA also tested spam bots to spread high volumes of URL links throughout 2015, abandoning them as they failed to gain large numbers of followers. Very few new English-language bots were created in 2016. During the autumn of 2016 (the US presidential election period), there was a build-up of tweets peaking on Election Day.
The researchers identified that the English-language IRA Twitter network seemed to have two main focuses: one weighed towards the US election and another related to #BlackLivesMatter tweets.
“Although we examine only Twitter here, in nearly every exposure of the IRA’s activities the common element of each campaign is social media amplification,” the authors wrote. “As we’ve shown, the IRA’s work is highly organised, sophisticated, and well-resourced, with as many of 1000 employees working for them in 2015.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin took a spill on Friday as he waved to fans at an exhibition hockey game in Sochi which featured several former NHL players.
The 66-year-old was waving to fans as he circled the rink at the Bolshoi Arena in the Black Sea resort of Sochi when he inadvertently raced toward the edge of a red carpet that had been placed on the ice. Two of Putin’s teammates on the “Legends” tried to catch him but the Russian leader fell before they could reach him.
The fall inspired a frenzy of posts on social media mocking Putin and his authoritarian rule, and jokingly suggesting that someone would pay dearly for his or her role in the mishap. Putin, by the way, quickly picked himself up after the fall and continued waving to the seemingly adoring fans.
Former NHL star Viacheslav Fetisov, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Detroit Red Wings, and former New York Ranger Pavel Bure were among those who joined him on the ice, including his teammate, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, who scored three goals. Putin himself reportedly score eight goals. The opposing team was made up of high-profile amateur players, including Putin’s childhood friend, tycoon Gennady Timchenko, billionaire Vladimir Potanin and several Russian governors.
Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized that the decision to ease Russian citizenship for LPR and DPR residents “was not spontaneous” – TASS
BEIJING, April 27. /TASS/. Moscow is considering the possibility of easing citizenship rules for all Ukrainian nationals, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference wrapping up his visit to China.
“We are thinking about providing the right to obtain Russian passports under a simplified procedure to all Ukrainian nationals,” he said. Putin emphasized that the decision to ease Russian citizenship for LPR and DPR residents “was not spontaneous, it was not made at the spur of the moment.” “Before the decree was singed, we had made all the calculations concerning the number of people that may apply for citizenship, including the number of retired persons – they account for about 30% of the possible applicants,” Putin said. On April 24, the Russian president signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine. “Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Ukraine’s Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure,” the decree reads.
According to the document, the decision has been made “in order to protect human rights and freedoms” based on generally accepted international laws.