14 Dec 2018 13:19

Instagram blocks acting Primorye head Kozhemyako's account ahead of gubernatorial election

VLADIVOSTOK. Dec 14 (Interfax) - Instagram has blocked the account of acting Primorye Territory Governor Oleg Kozhemyako on Friday in a move he linked to the electoral campaign.

"It is obvious that there has been fake news lately. Of course, it [the blocking of the account] will interfere neither with our plans, nor with residents' plans. When the time is right, we will certainly get it unblocked and continue working with our followers. It is clear that someone needed this, especially during these heady days," Kozhemyako said in a statement.

Kozhemyako described the blocking as a "strange development" and pointed out that he made only personal posts on his account.

"I shared information about the regions where I have been and about plans with my followers. In the near future, I was going to show my new puppies, to share my joy with my readers and, among other things, find trustworthy people to give them to," he said.

Kozhemyako wrote on his Facebook page that the account may have been blocked due to an "Internet attack."

"It is highly likely that it was caused by an Internet attack. Experts are now figuring this out. I believe it is a futile attempt to interfere with our work, my interaction with you," he wrote.

According to local media, Instagram's tech support received about 1,000 reports regarding Kozhemyako's account in a short period, and the account was automatically blocked. The account had 25,400 followers and 195 posts at the time and followed 26 accounts.

The Primorye Territory held two rounds of its gubernatorial election on September 9 and 16. Their results were annulled due to multiple violations in the voting process. The region's acting Governor Andrei Tarasenko, who was nominated by the United Russia party, and the Communist Party's nominee Andrei Ishchenko competed in the second round. Tarasenko then dropped out and was replaced by Oleg Kozhemyako, most recently the Sakhalin region's governor.

The repeat election will be held December 16. There will be four candidates: Kozhemyako, a self-nominee; Vladivostok legislature member Rosa Chemeris, backed by the For Women of Russia party; head of the Business Russia branch in the Primorye Territory Alexei Timchenko, nominated by the Party of Growth; and State Duma deputy Andrei Andreichenko, nominated by the Liberal Democratic Party.