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Russia Questions Twitter After Executive Tweets Criticism Of Putin

Russia's internet regulator asked Twitter whether company official Aleksei Shelestenko's criticism of Russian leaders on Twitter October 23 reflected the company's official position.

Apparently angry about a recent court decision affecting opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, Shelestenko tweeted that Russian leaders, including President Vladimir Putin, are "brazen thieves" and they "sooner or later will be punished."

He later tweeted that his Twitter account is "personal" and he has the "right to express [his] opinion."

Those "strong political statements" prompted Roskomnadzor to send an "official letter" to Twitter "with a request to clarify if the statements of Mr. Shelestenko reflect the position of the company or not," said agency spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky.

Shelestenko "presents himself in his web account as a manager of Twitter in charge of media partnerships," Ampelonsky said.

"Earlier, during one of the meetings held by the chiefs of Roskomnadzor with Twitter officials, he was introduced to us, though absent, as a company contact person for the purpose of interaction in Russia," Ampelonsky said.

Based on reporting by TASS and