The trolling campaign, which began Monday and has continued to spread since, has left Sputnik's front page, and the comments sections of many of its articles, littered with spam. Trolls have also simultaneously spammed the Facebook pages of the Russian Foreign Ministry and those of other officials.
Messages include such gems as 'Putinist propaganda machine', 'stop lying russkies', 'Gebels [sic] is proud papa of Propoganda [sic] and Sputnik," "It's not a News, [sic] it's Sputnik Lies and Propaganda of Kremlin," and "Just another one lying [sic] and dirty Kremlin propaganda site."
One particularly common comment being spam copy-pasted onto Sputnik's wall makes reference to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, and assigns co-responsibility to the Soviet Union for starting World War II. Another 'reminds' users that Soviet leader Joseph "Stalin was just as horrible as Hitler."
Some Sputnik followers decided to respond to the trolls by trying to educate them, replying to their comments directly, or posting their own messages of support for Sputnik. Others reminded the trolls that their attacks on the Soviet Union make little sense, since that country hasn't even existed for over a quarter of a century.
One British user offered a particularly astute commentary in defense of Sputnik, saying the agency was "a great source of information from the Russian perspective. Seeing as you can't rely on the BBC or any of the Yank outlets for impartiality the next best thing is to read [Sputnik] and also 'alternative sites' and draw your own conclusions."
The campaign appears to be coordinated by users from the Baltic states, along with a few Poles. According to Lithuanian news website Delfi.lt, Lithuanian Facebook users are the main drivers of the trolling effort. Lithuanian diplomats are said to have intervened directly in organizing the campaign, with local journalists and 'political activists' joining in.