Bloomberg News

Medvedev Joins Facebook to Garner Support Before Elections

October 20, 2011

(Updates with first Facebook post in fifth paragraph.)

Oct. 20 (Bloomberg) -- President Dmitry Medvedev, who plans to swap jobs with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin next year, has joined Facebook Inc. to drum up support as he leads Russia’s ruling party into elections.

Medvedev, who has about 600,000 followers on Twitter Inc. and posts on the LiveJournal blogging site, may also join VKontakte, a Russian social network, his spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said today. He will use Facebook to discuss national events as well as his own initiatives as Russia prepares for parliamentary elections, she added.

“This is to attract a broader spectrum of people,” Timakova told reporters in the Kremlin. “The president has never hidden his interest in modern means of communication, in social networks.”

Medvedev, who will make way for his predecessor in presidential elections next March after completing a single four-year term, is heading United Russia’s party list at the Dec. 4 vote. He is tasked with maintaining the party’s two- thirds majority in the State Duma, Russia’s lower chamber of parliament, after support ebbed.

Medvedev made his first post on Facebook yesterday. “I’ve decided to write on Facebook as well -- read!” the Russian leader wrote, prompting more than 1,700 comments. He later congratulated French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy on the birth of their daughter.

His account was created more than two years ago by an unidentified fan before being taken over by the Kremlin’s press service. Prior to the post, his page had about 250,000 subscribers.

“Right away you get an audience of Vedomosti and Kommersant combined,” Timakova said, referring to Russia’s two largest business newspapers.

--Editors: Andrew Langley, Jeffrey Donovan, Andrew Atkinson

To contact the reporter on this story: Lyubov Pronina in Moscow office at lpronina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net


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