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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

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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