Russia: “We Don’t Troll Facebook and Twitter. We Co-Own Them!”

Everyone should be reading the newly leaked Paradise Papers! There’s a lot to sink your teeth into, from Trump collusion stuff, to how the Queen of England invests in shady places that end up hurting workers, to who owns the Arsenal football club.

But perhaps the revelation most timely, considering the hearings on Russian trolls and how they may have sabotaged our democracy, is that Russia actually has financial stakes in both Facebook and Twitter.

FromRussiaToSiliconValley

Read the whole article, but make sure not to be fooled by the title–it’s not just Yuri Milner investing his own money in Facebook, but also the DST USA II “investment vehicle” which gets money from Russia.

Actually, it’s “controlled” by a company in the Virgin Isles that got a loan from an investment holding firm in London that gets state subsidies from Russia. And really if you look at the data directly it’s more of a web than a link, with a lot more intermediaries and stops. I’m beginning to think Facebook might be honest if the claim they legitimately did not know of how much Russia was invested in their company.

Then again, Yuri Milner is not the only Russian-born investor to directly buy shares of DST USA II. There’s also Alisher Usmanov, the fifth richest man in Russia, who owns  large (and very pro-Putin) media presences in Russia and once said of Putin: “I am proud that I know Putin, and the fact that everybody does not like him is not Putin’s problem. I don’t think the world loved Truman after Nagasaki.”

And let’s not forget Vladimir Skoch, who in a transaction eerily reminiscent of something from the Sopranos, got his share from his billionaire son Andrei Skoch, a member of the Russian Duma (the richest member) seen here with two of Russia’s biggest mob leaders:

RussianGangsters

So yes, Russia in a big way OWNS part of Facebook and Twitter. Maybe even the Russian mob. And certainly a friend of Putin’s and another powerful Russian politician. And I haven’t even talked about Yuri Milner, the guy Mark Zuckerberg went to the wedding of.

It’s got me thinking: maybe we’re the trolls?

D. M. Collins

D. M. Collins is a journalist and writer based in Los Angeles.

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