NOVO-OGARYOVO, November 7 (RIA Novosti) – Clear rules should be laid down for the use of social networking websites by Russian officials, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Wednesday.
The statement was made following media reports, citing presidential administration sources, that the Kremlin recommended that governors be extremely polite and correct in their Twitter messages, threatening to introduce a total ban otherwise.
Peskov gave no direct confirmation or refutation of the reports.
“It’s evident that the use of Twitter for official purposes and for disseminating official information should be streamlined one way or another. Anyway, an official who uses Twitter should not think of it as a personal information channel, because any information becomes more or less official when it appears in the Twitter account of a person vested with power,” the spokesman said.
Twitter has become a popular social networking website among Russian politicians, with 33 governors having official accounts. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, vice premiers Arkady Dvorkovich and Dmitry Rogozin, Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, Science and Education Minister Dmitry Livanov and Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov are also Twitter users.
Careless tweeting by Russian officials has caused a stir among the Russian internet audience at least twice. In August 2010, Kirov Region Governor Nikita Belykh was reprimanded by then president Medvedev for tweeting in the middle of a State Council session.
Some two months later, Tver Region Governor Dmitry Zelenin complained on Twitter that he had been served a “worm salad” at a Kremlin reception. The message, accompanied by a photo of an earthworm munching on the governor’s salad, was swiftly removed from the micro-blogging site. He was relieved of his duties in June 2011 and the Kremlin did not explain the reason behind the dismissal.