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Online Poll Names Putin 'Liar of the Year'

A Twitter user claiming to be head of the state-run news agency Rossia Segodnya Dmitry Kiselyov deleted an online poll Sunday that named a “liar of the year,” after the majority of respondents voted for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The author of the poll, Twitter handle DmKiselevTV, has not been verified as belonging to Kiselyov and he denied authorship on his staunchly pro-Kremlin television show on Sunday.

“I, Dmitry Kiselyov, don’t write on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t be fooled by the U.S. social networks’ fakes,” the outspoken television host said during his weekly program.

In the online poll, at least 55 percent of respondents ranked Putin as the year's biggest liar, in a landslide lead over fellow contenders: Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who won 30 percent of the vote; U.S. President Barack Obama, with 8 percent and Recep Erdogan of Turkey with 7 percent — according to screenshots of the survey posted by Russian Twitter users.

The DmKiselevTV account declared the results of the poll “invalid” in a Twitter post later Sunday, and blamed the outcome on “several fascist Ukrainian bloggers [who] organized an inflow of crazy people.”

After deleting the poll, DmKiselevTV named Poroshenko liar of the year, and posted new online polls later in the day — excluding Russian officials as candidates.

“The next poll is 'Scoundrel of the year,'” the user tweeted. Voters could choose between Poroshenko, Erdogan, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, and Ukraine’s national security and defense secretary, Oleksandr Turchynov.

Another poll by DmKiselevTV asked online users to vote for the “threat to the civilized world of the year.” Candidates were limited to Turkey, Ukraine and Islamic State — a terrorist organization banned in Russia.

A flurry of responses to the new polls demanded that Putin be included among the candidates for the “scoundrel” title, and list Russia in the “threat to the civilized world” poll.

Kiselyov tried to develop an online presence this summer, when he opened accounts on Facebook and Instagram — profiles that lasted only a few hours, but garnered scores of jeering comments within the brief timespan.

In July, the adamantly anti-Western television host told Russia's Kommersant business daily that Facebook blocked his account, but the BBC's Russian Service has reported that he deleted his profile voluntarily.

At that time, Kiselyov had planned to launch a Twitter account, Kommersant reported.

Contact the author at newsreporter@imedia.ru

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