Expert reveals why Putin's Twitter account only follows 22 people including Obama and Elon Musk

Expert reveals why Putin's Twitter account only follows 22 people including Obama and Elon Musk
Kyiv Mayor Klitschko brands Putin's statement 'Bulls***'
7NEWS Sydney, Twitter

Vladimir Putin’s official Twitter account only follows 22 people, which seems strange enough in itself. But it’s even weirder when you consider the unexpected names on the list.

Some accounts he follows are to be expected, with the likes of state media platforms RT and Sputnik in there and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Russia in there.

However, he also follows Arnold Schwarzenegger and Elon Musk, which is a little harder to explain.

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The likes of Barack Obama, former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, Jens Stoltenbe and Boris Johnson are also followed by Putin – but why the strange list of people, and why so few?

William Partlett, who is the Associate Professor at the University of Melbourne, has given his expert take.

He said it was likely that Putin’s account would be managed by his administration and him directly.

Why does Putin follow the likes of Elon Musk?Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

“Most people tend to suggest he doesn’t spend any time on the internet, and if so it would be very, very little time,” Prof. Partlett told news.com.au.

“One of the main issues he’s had with this whole invasion is that he’s so isolated and cut off from information that he honestly thought the thing would be over in two to three days, and now we’re entering the fourth week.”

He also said that other platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp are more popular than Twitter in Russia, and the official Twitter account is used as part of the Kremlin’s “information strategy”.

“They understand that Twitter is used by a lot of people in the West to push out information. Obviously it’s in English so it’s not at all focused on the Russian community,” he said.

“As far as I can see, [Putin’s Twitter account] is just a way of pushing out information,” he continued. They’re also always looking to try to see if they can influence some people in the West,” he added, explaining that following Musk and co. could be a way of trying to appear more legitimate to a western audience.

“All of this is to try as best as they can to either convince Russians or people outside of Russia that what they’re doing is justified, or to even confuse and create alternative sources and so forth.”

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