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Twitter Restores Suspended Putin Parody Account After Outcry

  • Carl Schreck

The English-language account has attracted 58,000 followers since its launch in 2013 thanks to its wry skewering of the Russian leader with tweets such as: "Don't believe anything the Kremlin doesn't first deny."

The English-language account has attracted 58,000 followers since its launch in 2013 thanks to its wry skewering of the Russian leader with tweets such as: "Don't believe anything the Kremlin doesn't first deny."

Twitter has reactivated a popular parody account lampooning Russian President Vladimir Putin a day after the social-media giant's suspension of the feed sparked outrage and accusations of censorship.

The Twitter feed @DarthPutinKGB was active again on June 1, a day after it was suspended due to alleged violations of the California-based company's user rules on parody accounts.

"They wanted the name changed from 'Vladimir Putin' to something else so no one could mistake me for the real thing," the man who runs the account told RFE/RL.

He declined to reveal his identity in an online interview this week.

The English-language account has attracted 58,000 followers since its launch in 2013 thanks to its wry skewering of the Russian leader with tweets such as: "Don't believe anything the Kremlin doesn't first deny."

The circumstances of its suspension remain unclear, including who filed a complaint about the account. Twitter declined to provide details, citing security and privacy concerns.

Both Facebook and Twitter in recent years have removed posts and accounts critical of the Kremlin based on claims from Russian media regulators.

The Russian president's name has now been removed from the reinstated account's Twitter bio and replaced with "Darth Putin."

The suspension triggered an angry backlash against Twitter by fans of the account, who accused the company of bending to pressure from the Russian government or its allies -- and of failing to recognize satire.

Fans of the feed swiftly launched the hashtag campaign #NoTwitterGulagForDarthPutinKGB in support.

The account's first tweet after the suspension was lifted read:

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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