Should We Ignore Russian Trolls?

Max Rottersman
8 min readMay 16

Putin doesn’t matter.

Russian Trolls might have an important thing to say. Are we listening?

I read Ukrainian Serhii Plokhy’s book, “The Russo-Ukrainian War” wondering what I missed, or didn’t understand, about the Russo-Ukrainian War.

Many agree with Plokhy, that Putin’s reading of history, to justify the Special Military Operation, has much to be desired. Few spend much time on why many Russians (and others privately) support the war, beyond that they’re brain-washed.

For a while, I too dismissed the arguments of Russian “Trolls”. While reading the Plokhy’s book I’ve been thinking about WHY they make the claims they do. What might they be saying that both predates and transcends the war?

(To be clear, Plokhy does not cover Russian Trolls in his book).

If I could encapsulate the underlying message of Russian Trolls it would be this: “Americans have always treated the world, and especially us, with condescension. So go F yourself.”

Like so many of my stories, this will ramble a bit. Sorry.

Let me divide the world into two types of countries and two types of people. For nations we have

  • Miners (farms, minerals, oil/gas, etc.)
  • Manufacturers (software, cars, phones, rockets, etc.)

For people we have

  • Supporters of the strong
  • Supporters of the underdogs

First, if it turns out Putin had support from most of the Russia’s elites, there’s nothing fundamentally new about Russia’s attempt to “liberate” Ukraine. Putin methods may be atrocious, but his goal is hardly without precedent.

The U.S. (like Ukraine) began as miners and went to war with their manufacturers owners (the English). Would the U.S. have won without the backing of France, Spain and Holland?

About 80 years later the U.S. had a civil war between the Southern farmers and Northern industrialists.

Show me any war and I’ll find a mining vs manufacturing dynamic.

Today, from a global perspective, the U.S. can mine or manufacture almost anything it wants. It is free to pick and…