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Kremlin limits governors’ Twitter habits

Governor of Murmansk Oblast Marina Kovtun has been updating her microblog for nearly a year.

The presidential administration has proposed placing restrictions on Russian governors’ use of the micro-blogging website Twitter.

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Governors will be cautioned about microblogging and urged to only write “proper” messages on Twitter in order to avoid scandals and misunderstandings, several sources in the Kremlin say to Izvestia. 

If that doesn’t work, the presidential administration could ban governors from using Twitter altogether, the sources said.

Dmitry Medvedev created a Twitter account in June 2010 when he was President of Russia.  Many governors followed his example and now 33 of Russia’s governors have microblogs and many of them tweet regularly. Kirov Governor Nikita Belykh has written over 24,000 tweets, Ivanovo Governor Mikhail Men over 11,000 and St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko about 5,000, Izvestia writes.

Governor of Murmansk Oblast Marina Kovtun opened her microblog in January this year and has so far published more than 1100 tweets.

The move to control the governors’ online habits comes after a number of Twitter scandals involving senior government politicians. Among the most prominent gaffes, Krasnodar region Governor Alexander Tkachyov in February responded to a highly qualified hospital employee’s complaints about his miserly salary by telling him “not to whine and go look for a more highly paid job.”