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Fake Twitter Account of New U.S. Ambassador Blocked

Published: August 2, 2014 (Issue # 1822)



  • John Tefft is a career diplomat who previously served as ambassador to Ukraine, Georgia and Lithuania.
    Photo: U.S. Embassy Kiev / Flickr

A Twitter account purportedly belonging to the new U.S. ambassador to Russia John Tefft has been taken offline after the social media giant unmasked it as a fake.

The @J_Tefft feed was marked by a series of badly written and bizarre tweets, including a "Happy Birthday" message to bodybuilder and former Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported Friday.

"Russia is ready to take me?" said one message posted to the account in early July, after the Kremlin approved Tefft's nomination as ambassador to the country.

The account, which appeared online just last month, was followed by more than 1,700 users, including several journalists and the Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius, according to the report.

However, users attempting to gain access to the sham feed were on Friday greeted with a message from Twitter that "the profile you are trying to view has been suspended."

The account's removal came as news broke that the real John Tefft will soon be moving to Moscow, after members of the U.S. Senate put aside partisan differences to back his appointment as the next ambassador to Russia.

The U.S. has gone without a top-ranking envoy in Russia since March, when former ambassador Michael McFaul left his post to return to the U.S. In the intervening months, relations between the two countries have deteriorated rapidly, with the U.S. accusing Russia of backing a separatist uprising in eastern Ukraine after annexing the Crimean Peninsula from it in March.

Tefft, who declined to comment on the fake Twitter account, did not reveal whether he planned to follow in the footsteps of predecessor McFaul by opening a Twitter account upon his arrival in Moscow, the RFE/RL report said.

McFaul, who is followed by more than 80,000 users, was an avid tweeter during his time in Russia, and his usage of the social media network quickly became a trademark of his new-age diplomacy.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during today’s “Djembe and Vuvuzela,” a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of today’s round table discussion on “Interaction with Trade Unions” being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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