Nashi, the youth group that has been accused of Internet shenanigans to promote its pro-Kremlin agenda, appeared to get a taste of its own medicine Wednesday when hackers posted information on a web site that troubled U.S. actor Charlie Sheen would promote a healthy lifestyle at a Kremlin-sponsored summer camp.
The prank was quickly picked up as serious news by several news web sites, including Lifenews.ru, which even cited a spokesman for the group that supposedly invited Sheen as confirming his participation.
But Nashi spokeswoman Kristina Potupchik said Sheen had not accepted an invitation to attend this summer's outing on the banks of Lake Seliger in the Tver region.
Potupchik called the Sheen story a "provocation" aimed at "discrediting" the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, which organizes the camp and whose leader she also represents as spokeswoman.
Nashi will file a complaint about the hacker attack with law enforcement agencies, Potupchik said on her blog.
The information that Sheen, known for his substance abuse and sex exploits as much as his talent, would give health tips to campers appeared Wednesday on the web site Zamnoi.org, which is run by the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs.
The site is a mouthpiece for an ongoing agency program called Run After Me, which aims to enlighten young people aged 16 to 23 on how to lead a healthy lifestyle. The program has held instructional classes on issues like healthy eating and how to open and manage a fitness club. It also offers a weekly jogging marathon in central Moscow, even though the area is not an ideal place for outdoor sports because of heavy pollution from car exhaust fumes.
The hackers posted a notice on the site that Sheen offered proof that it was never too late to switch to a healthy lifestyle regardless of the "overdoses, rehabs and multiple scandals that his name has been associated with for years."
It was unclear Thursday who had hacked the site.
The annual Seliger camp was established in 2005. Critics have accused it of being a youth indoctrination vehicle for the Kremlin, though it has branched out into non-political activities in recent years.
Nashi, the driving force behind the camp, has been accused of hacking attacks on opposition activists and the web sites of governments with which Russia has sour relationships. The allegations have never been proved in court, although a Nashi member said in 2009 that the group was behind a DDoS attack on Estonian government web sites in 2007.
Sheen, whose career started with roles in Oliver Stone films "Platoon" and "Wall Street" in the 1980s, became the highest paid actor on U.S. television last year, when he earned $1.8 million per episode of his sitcom "Two and a Half Men."
He was fired from the show in March after clashes with its creator, and the Zamnoi.org prank statement said he now has embarked on a world tour to promote a healthy lifestyle.
Sheen's representatives had no immediate comment on the prank.