He also described an Azerbaijani-born 27-year-old who RBC named as the head of the factory’s American department as a “great guy” who was lenient toward him for minor workplace misconduct.
Dozhd TV cites three former troll farm staffers corroborating RBC’s investigation that named the manager as Dzheykhun Aslanov, nicknamed “Jay Z.”
“Jay was a really not bad manager: not the most competent in this field, well, frankly speaking, generally incompetent, but he had assistants,” Baskayev told Dozhd TV.
Having since relocated to Thailand and speaking with Dozhd TV from there, Baskayev recounted the personas he took on during work hours.
“First you had to be a redneck from Kentucky, then you had to be some white guy from Minnesota who worked all his life, paid taxes and now lives in poverty; and in 15 minutes you have to write something in the slang of [African-]Americans from New York.”
Even though the troll factory used proxy servers to hide its employees’ location, Baskayev said his accounts were “blocked regularly.” He said he maintained 20 user accounts from 20 cities on one forum because all but two of them would be banned.
The former troll dismissed fears of reprisals from the large-scale secret operation, at one point describing a night shift at the factory as a “Bacchanalia.”
“We were engaged in the ugliest things that only 20-year-old very cheerful lads — who perfectly understand what amusing place they found themselves in — could do.”
“It was real postmodernism. Postmodernism, Dadaism and Sur[realism].”