Tretyakov Gallery blames hackers after posting messages in support of Navalny

Tretyakov Gallery blames hackers after posting messages in support of Navalny
Entrance to the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Image: Andrey under a CC license

2 November 2017

Russia’s Tretyakov Gallery said on Thursday it had been hacked after its Twitter account posted messages of support for Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

Late on Wednesday evening, the Tretyakov Gallery Twitter account liked a Youtube video created by Navalny called “Vladimir Putin and the pig’s head” in which the activist criticised efforts to prevent his supporters from holding rallies and said he would take Putin to court.

But then it quickly deleted the offending tweet. “Our Twitter account was hacked last night after which material was put up that does not have any relation to the museum and its activities,” the Tretyakov Gallery then wrote on Twitter.

Navalny has won fame in Russia because of his anti-corruption investigations and ability to bring ordinary people onto the street in anti-government protests — but he is denied air-time on Russian state-owned television and rarely mentioned in public by Russian officials.

Despite the Tretyakov's quick denial of responsibility, the incident does not look like the work of hackers.

Observers on social media said that it looks much more likely that the employee running the Tretyakov’s Twitter account forgot to sign out after the end of the working day and, mistakenly thinking they had logged in to their personal Twitter account, liked the Navalny video.