Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Russian Embassy in London uses Twitter to undermine the West

If you want evidence of how technology has made diplomacy less diplomatic and information warfare less subtle, take a look at @RussianEmbassy, the Twitter account of the Russian Embassy in London. In recent years, the account has gained global fame for its sardonic tweets. Generally, these messages seemed less about projecting Moscow’s policies abroad and more about criticizing the apparent hypocrisy of the United States and Europe. And despite a relatively modest 51,000 followers, tweets from the account often go viral. The account borrows its tactics from Twitter trolls — repurposing crude memes from Reddit, 4chan and other dark corners of the Internet to make a point and tagging Western journalists to ensure the message is spread. It seems like a new strand of public diplomacy but not necessarily one run by young diplomats. The Guardian reported this week that the author of some of the more controversial messages is suspected to be Deputy Ambassador Alexander Kramarenko, a 65-year-old who posts erudite discussions of Gogol on his personal Facebook page. The Russian Embassy declined to comment on the accusation, suggesting instead that the account was a “collaborative effort.”



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