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Former Troll Wins Damages From Kremlin 'Propaganda Factory'

A Russian court has awarded symbolic damages of one ruble to a former Kremlin "troll" who sued what she called a "propaganda factory" for President Vladimir Putin.

Lyudmila Savchuk, 34, sued the Agency for Internet Studies, which hired her and hundreds of other people to write pro-Kremlin propaganda from a nondescript St. Petersburg address, for nonpayment of wages and failing to give workers proper contracts.

A judge ordered the shadowy agency to pay the symbolic damages after the two sides agreed on compensation worth one month's salary. But the court did not shut the operation down.

"I am very happy. ... I achieved my aim which was to bring the Internet trolls out of the shade," Savchuk, 34, said.

The freelance journalist claims she went undercover as a troll to expose the outfit, which hires young people to write propaganda for a relatively high monthly salary of 40,000 to 50,000 rubles ($600-$760).

Savchuk was sacked two months into the job after she published articles under a pseudonym in local newspapers denouncing the "propaganda factory."

The Kremlin has claimed that it has no links to the operation.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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