Russia election: Medvedev Facebook promise draws ire

Dmitry Medvedev's Facebook post, 11 December

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Russian Facebook users have poured scorn on a promise by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to investigate reports of electoral fraud.

At least 7,000 comments had appeared under his post by 20:00 GMT on Sunday, a day after the biggest anti-government protests since Soviet times.

An early random sample showed the comments were equally divided between hostility, support and neutrality.

Mr Medvedev prides himself on using social media.

He recently suffered an embarrassment on Twitter.

Having already conceded that some violations of electoral law had taken place at the parliamentary elections last Sunday, he went on Facebook to say he had issued instructions for all official reports on the conduct of the polls to be checked.

It was his comments on Saturday's election protests - some 50,000 people turned out in Moscow alone - which drew particular anger.

'Pathetic liar'

"I do not agree with either the slogans or statements heard at the rallies," Mr Medvedev wrote.

Facebook users pointed out that the chief, official slogan of the rallies had been "For Honest Elections".

Medvedev on social media

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev consults a computer at his Gorki residence outside Moscow, 23 November
  • 759,000 Twitter followers in Russian, 144,000 in English
  • 366,900 "likes" on Facebook
  • 1.3m followers on vKontakte

"So you're against the slogan 'For Honest Elections'?" was a typical comment.

"Pathetic liar", was another, while some writers peppered their observations with obscenities, visible just under the president's message.

Of the 100 comments viewed by the BBC News website, roughly a third were hostile, and the rest divided about equally into supportive and neutral.

Earlier in the week, the Kremlin blamed a member of staff for an obscene message sent from Mr Medvedev's official Russian-language Twitter account.

Russian bloggers delighted in forwarding the message, circulating screenshots after it had been deleted from Mr Medvedev's account.

Twitter, Facebook and other social media have been used extensively both by Russian opposition activists seeking to uncover electoral fraud and organise protests, and Kremlin supporters.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin maintains a much lower profile on the internet.

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