- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Twitter has sparked cries of censorship after suspending several popular parody accounts critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin.

The most popular Putin parody, @DarthPutinKGB, had more than 50,000 followers before it was suspended.

Another account suspended by the social network was @SovietSergey, famous for mocking Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, The Associated Press reported. It was restored by Wednesday.

Other suspended accounts included one that made fun of Russian Ambassador to the U.K. Alexander Yakovenko, one that mocked the Russian Embassy and a parody of Russia itself, The Telegraph reported.

Those accounts were restored and available to users after the reported suspension on Tuesday.

A Twitter spokesperson told The Telegraph: “We do not comment on individual accounts, for privacy and security reasons” and pointed to the company’s guidance on parodies.

According to Twitter’s policy, the parody account’s biography “should indicate that the user is not affiliated with the account subject by stating a word such as ‘parody,’ ‘fake,’ ‘fan,’ or ‘commentary,’ and be done so in a way that would be understood by the intended audience.”

@DarthPutinKGB’s biography read: “146% of Russians didn’t elect me. You don’t visit Russia, I visit you. I serve tea to those that call this parody. Tweets made topless signed vvp,” The Telegraph reported.

Social media users launched the #NoGulagForDarthPutinKGB hashtag on Twitter to protest the suspensions.

Radio Free Europe responded by publishing a collection of @DarthPutinKGB’s “best tweets,’” including, “Russia has cut defense spending. Attack spending remains unchanged,” and “Don’t believe anything the Kremlin doesn’t first deny.”



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