Followers from Pakistan and the #FuelCrisis. Russian trolls attack Polish network?

For several days now, the X platform has been receiving a wave of hundreds of puzzling entries. The comments are sent from fake accounts and their authors use the Russian language and data circulating on the Russian Internet – according to an analysis of network traffic by the portal.

Their common denominator is the hashtag #KryzysPaliwowy, which internet users use to flag comments about the lack of fuel at Orlen stations. And all this coincides with the takeover of Russian shares in EuroPol Gaza by a company led by Daniel Obajtek. Is Polish social media falling victim to an attack launched from a Russian troll farm? Are we dealing with an attempt at outside interference in the public debate on the eve of the parliamentary elections?

On Tuesday afternoon, a message appeared on the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection website stating that Orlen wants “exclusive control of the Europol Gaz SA Transit Gas Pipeline System”. Today Gazprom is one of the shareholders of the company, which owns 48%. shares. Orlen’s operation means that the group led by Daniel Obajtek will take over the company that manages the Polish part of the Yamal gas pipeline. As a result, the Polish fuel giant will become the majority shareholder of EuRoPol Gaz with a 92% stake. shares.

India, Pakistan, Russian syntactic calques

The Office of Competition and Consumer Protection’s announcement on this issue coincided with a flood of strange-looking posts dedicated to Orlen on the X platform (formerly Twitter). Most of the comments were marked with the hashtag #FuelCrisis, promoted by opposition politicians and referring to fuel shortages at the company’s stations. Journalists from the portal found a total of almost a hundred suspicious profiles that in recent days began posting content about problems with the availability of gasoline and diesel oil. How do you know these are fake accounts? Almost all of them are newly created, most have no profile pictures, and some have random combinations of numbers in their nicknames. Here are a dozen examples:

A significant part of the accounts identified by journalists are not followed by Polish users, but have followers from Asia: Pakistan, India, Bangladesh.

Interestingly, some of the entries from these accounts include Russianisms such as “benzobak” or Russian syntactic calques. Here and there, mentions of fuel shortages are also intertwined with anti-Ukrainian threads:

Quotes from Russian industry portals

The entries we regularly came across contained references to the predictions of experts from Trigon Dom Maklerski and the Oil and Capital Agency. According to them, Orlen will not be able to maintain low fuel prices after the parliamentary elections. And there would be nothing strange about this if it were not for the fact that – apart from these comments – no mention of the predictions of these specific analysts can be found anywhere else in the Polish public space. However, they are easy to find… on foreign, including Russian, information portals. The predictions of analysts from Trigon Dom Maklerski come from the Bloomberg news agency, quoted by the Russian portal RNS. Oil and Capital, in turn, is nothing more than the name of a Russian industry website.

Is Polish social media falling victim to an attack launched from a Russian troll farm? The conclusions are clear.

Robert Wyrostkiewicz

Source: Do Rzeczy