President Vladimir Putin's spokesman on Thursday denied a report that the Kremlin had asked top officials not to operate social network accounts personally, saying it was “impossible” to ban ministers from posting on blogs and other platforms.
Izvestia reported that the Kremlin had informally asked ministers and the heads of federal agencies not to maintain personal blogs or other accounts on social networking sites.
"Ministers, the heads of government agencies and especially the siloviki have been told that all social networks should be maintained by their press services," an unidentified Kremlin official told Izvestia.
The informal request did not concern governors, State Duma deputies and Federation Council senators, the official said.
Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Business-FM that the Kremlin could not ban such activity but that the presidential administration had always “pointed out to those who have blogs and microblogs that they must not forget about the special nature of their work.”
Government officials were put on notice about what they blog after a regional governor lost his job in 2011 following his decision to send a Twitter message about finding a worm in his salad at a Kremlin dinner.
Perhaps the best-known and most outspoken blogger among top officials is Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who offended some people after posting a message last year apparently calling pop singer Madonna a “whore.” He denied that he was referring to Madonna in the post.
But last month, he said he would no longer maintain his Facebook and Twitter pages himself, turning them over to his press service.
Education and Science Minister Dmitry Livanov said Thursday that the Kremlin had not asked him to curb his blogging, while the spokeswoman for Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told Izvestia that the government has no objections to blogs and is even willing to train ministers on how to maintain them.
“The ministers who have personal accounts are continuing to maintain them on their own,” Medvedev spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said.
A number of government officials have established personal blogs since then-President Dmitry Medvedev opened one in October 2008. Medvedev has cultivated an image of being tech-savvy, almost always appearing at government meetings with iPad in hand.
Putin has said he was not a big fan of computers, however, and had not embraced the blogging trend.
One of Putin's proteges, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, has wholeheartedly embraced one blogging platform, the photo-sharing service Instagram. He posts multiple photos daily of subjects ranging from government meetings and public events to his adolescent children and his family cat Chanel.