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Social media wrap: Seeing things the Russian way on Twitter

September 10, 2010 | 12:56 pm


When Russia's premier Dmitry Medvedev toured Twitter some months ago, you could tell the austere and serious leader was impressed by Americans’ ability to freely and instantaneously spread their own worldviews -- he almost cracked a smile.

But Medvedev hasn't set alight the social-media world since he sent his first Tweet that day in Silicon Valley. His intensely serious, economy-laden Tweets bring to mind those horrendously dull Soviet addresses of yore -- "Today's State Council presidium meeting focused entirely on food prices,” and “The Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl has come to a close.” -- and he’s even expressed his discontent with Russian politicians’ continual tweeting.

"There's Nikita Yurievich Belykh sitting there and writing in Twitter right from the State Council session. Apparently, he's got nothing better to do," Medvedev is quoted as saying in the WSJ last week.

Medvedev could never be accused of matching the bluster and bombast of fervid Communist tweeting dictators Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.

Today, though, Medvedev released a series of Tweets encouraging freedom of expression ...

... from bloggers, even those who are critical of their dear leader and the power behind him, Vladimir Putin.  Which given the Kremlin’s reputation for encouraging freedom of speech in relation to government criticism, is news in itself. 

He tweeted: A sense of responsibility gives meaning to our actions and makes us free. Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand and always will.

“Many bloggers understand this responsibility. Sometimes I read things that are unpleasant, but it's good that there is free expression.”

Good sentiments perhaps, but still nothing earth-shatteringly entertaining. For truly entertaining politicians on Twitter, you have to look closer to home.

Like California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who while flying over Alaska on a trade trip to Asia on Thursday took a dig at its former governor and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

“Over Anchorage, AK. Looking everywhere but can't see Russia from here. Will keep you updated as search continues.

Schwarzenegger, and Palin for that matter, clearly have the Russians beat on Twitter. Rather than both American politicians turning to Russia, perhaps Russian leaders should be turning more to the U.S.

-- Craig Howie

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Photos: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, left, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Sarah Palin. Credit: AFP/Getty/Associated Press