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From Kermlin with Love

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, January 5 2011

In Foreign Policy, Julia Ioffee profiles KermlinRussia. That's right, Kermlin, as in the Twitter feed of the Russian presidency, but not really:

As of this writing, KermlinRussia has more than 50,000 followers and is adding a thousand or more each week. Its tweets, like Prutkov's acerbic little commentaries, pack the kind of sharp nuance for which Twitter is so well-suited, weaving together current events, history, literary allusions, and a very Russian sense of the absurd, all in 140 characters or less. It has been a successful formula. Not only is KermlinRussia the third-most popular Twitter account on the Russian-language Internet, it has among its followers the cream of the Moscow chattering classes and 40 percent of the real Medvedev's followers. All this has transpired over less than half a year, while readers remain happily unaware of the author's true identity, a tightly guarded secret.

There's a "you had to be there" flavor to some of the tweets, but the general themes -- corruption and the travails of life in Russia -- are easy to appreciate. Here's a taste: "Today the elections of the governors of Karelia and Chuvashia were held in my office." It's a fun read, but perhaps especially so because it introduces us to the story of Dmitry Zelenin, the governor of Russia's Tver region, who got into trouble for sarcastically tweeting a picture of what appears to be an earthworm crawling out of a salad taken during an official Kermlim -- er, Kremlin reception honoring German president Christian Wulff.