The Washington Times

Embassy Row: McFaul, not McFaui

A Russian prankster posted a fake Twitter message Sunday, implying that U.S. Ambassador Michael McFaul in Moscow was claiming voter fraud in Russia’s presidential election even before the polls closed.

Mr. McFaul, who has been under relentless attack from supporters of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, quickly responded with a message denouncing the fraudulent tweet and insisting that he will say nothing about the election.

The trickster created a Twitter account that looked similar to the ambassador’s but substituted the lowercase “l” at the end of Mr. McFaul’s name with a capital “I,” which looks identical in many type fonts.

The fake message warned of a “large amount” of vote fraud “casting doubt on the [election’s] legitimacy.”

Mr. McFaul immediately sent out a tweet explaining that he had said nothing about the election and did not intend to.

“Will let experts judge elections,” he said.

The ambassador added in a separate tweet: “Someone has put out a false account under my name. Please help your followers understand.”

He also noted that the fake message was in Russian, while he usually communicates in English.

“You all obviously know I don’t write that well in Russian!” he said.

The U.S. Embassy added that the United States will not comment on the elections “until they are finished.”

Mr. McFaul has irritated Mr. Putin’s most rabid supporters since he arrived in Moscow last month and met with members of the political opposition.

He has tangled with the pro-Putin television program, “Russia Today,” and even accused the show’s editor, Margarita Simonyan, of posting a “lie” in a Twitter message that accused him of interfering with Russia’s domestic politics.

Ms. Simonyan was one of the first to be duped by the fake McFaul on Sunday and later retracted a message after learning the tweet was a prank.

“They don’t even wait for the results, but act straight away,” she said of the initial, fake post, according to reporters in Moscow.

“I’m in shock,” she wrote later after learning of the fake tweet.

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About the Author
James Morrison

James Morrison

James Morrison joined the The Washington Times in 1983 as a local reporter covering Alexandria, Va. A year later, he was assigned to open a Times bureau in Canada. From 1987 to 1989, Mr. Morrison was The Washington Times reporter in London, covering Britain, Western Europe and NATO issues. After returning to Washington, he served as an assistant foreign editor ...

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