- By Andrew SwiftAndrew Swift is an editorial researcher at Foreign Policy.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev may be on Twitter, but he was not amused when Kirov’s regional governor Nikita Belykh decided to post his thoughts during yesterday’s State Council session. (Many thanks to the Wall Street Journal for translating the highlights.)
The bizarre story, which really could have only happened in today’s Russia, began when Dmitry Zelenin, governor of Russia’s Tver region, noted "State Council. 1 Minute to session." But it was Belykh’s furious pounding out 140-character messages that made things interesting. He first noted:
10-15 people at the State Council are sitting with iPads. They used to sit with laptops. Darned stenographers 😉
(He immediately followed his own tweet by asking if they were in fact "doing other things.")
As Medvedev spoke, Belykh posted the tweet that started the brouhaha:
I support your idea of presidential Lycees, Dmitry Anatolievich. Kress. Actually, that was my idea ;(
At this point, Belykh was publicly reprimanded by Medvedev, who had got wind of the governor’s feelings: "Nikita Yurievich Belykh is posting something on his Twitter page right now, during the State Council session, as if he has nothing else to do." You’d imagine, at this point, that Belykh would stop Tweeting and pay sharp attention to the rest of the session. You’d also be wrong, as Belykh blamed Medvedev’s adviser Arkady Dvorkovich for narking on him:
There you go ;(. Dvorkovich leaked my reports to the President. Such are the costs of the information society ;(
It’s clear that Dvorkovich himself was paying more attention to his feed than his boss as he playfully chided Belykh:
At least the record was set straight 🙂
Other attendees got in on the act, claiming that Belykh’s list of followers was destined to rise as a result of the exchange. After the meeting, Medvedev responded to Belykh on his own (Russian-language) feed:
Yes, those are the costs of the information society. The important thing is that they don’t distract from work, right?
As a side note, Medvedev’s English-language feed follows President Barack Obama, the White House, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the Kremlin’s Russian feed, but only Obama and the White House have returned the favor.