Fans and followers of a parody Twitter account were upset to find out on Tuesday that it had been suspended.
The @DarthPutinKGB account makes fun of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It had about 58,000 followers before it was shut down. Now it's been reinstated and has almost 67,000 followers.
Radio Free Europe's Brian Whitmore, who has been following the account for a long time, says it’s not clear who is behind the account but “it’s clearly somebody who is very clever, … knows a lot about Russia [and] has a very good sense of humor.”
“He’s in character all the time, pretending to be Vladimir Putin using humor that is unimaginable for the real Vladimir Putin,” he says.
For example, Whitmore says, when the news about the Panama Papers broke, he tweeted “I may now just have to annex Panama.”
It’s not clear what exactly was behind the account’s suspension but Whitmore has his suspicions.
“My suspicions are that it was an orchestrated campaign by pro-Russian trolls,” he says.
Whitmore adds that just before @DarthPutinKGB was suspended, a series of other, similar parody accounts were shut down as well.
For example, he says, @SovietSergey, an account that parodies the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov was suspended only a week before. @AmbYakovenkoNot, which mocks Russian Ambassador to Britain Alexander Yakovenko, was also suspended. @NotRussia was suspended as well, but these accounts have now been reinstated and @DarthPutinKGB is back at it again.