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Rakewell

The fine art of Russian hacking

6 November 2017

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Allegations of Russian hacking have dominated the political conversation of late, and while the Kremlin has not explicitly admitted to any direct involvement, it has pondered the status of hackers. ‘Hackers are free people. They are like artists’, Vladimir Putin said back in June, responding to suggestions that Russian keyboard warriors might attempt to interfere in  German federal elections. ‘If they are in a good mood, they get up in the morning and begin painting their pictures. Hackers are the same.’

Perhaps employees at the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, would agree. Last week, the museum was forced to issue a statement claiming that its social media presence had been hacked after its Twitter account was seen to ‘like’ a video that was explicitly critical of the Putin government. The footage had been issued by vocal Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and was trailed with a photoshopped image of the president carrying a pig’s head on a tray.

While the Tretyakov has stuck to the official explanation of foul play, some social media users have suggested that an employee may have accidentally clicked their approval of ‘Putin and the Pig’s Head’ without realising they were logged into the museum’s official account. Talk about making a pig’s ear of it…

Got a story for Rakewell? Get in touch at rakewell@apollomag.com or via @Rakewelltweets.

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