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Mikhail Gorbachev 'alive and well' after death rumor

Posted By KRISTEN BUTLER, UPI.com   |   Aug. 8, 2013 at 10:43 AM   |   Comments

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Aug. 8 (UPI) -- Former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev denied rumors of his death after state news agency RIA Novosti's Twitter feed was hacked and planted with the false report.

RIA Novosti said that the Twitter accounts of its press center and its German language news service were both hacked, and that the false reports were online for five minutes before the agency deleted them.

Clearly not in the agency's style, one tweet said "Mikhail Gorbachev has died in the Shoko cafe in Yekaterinburg." Another tweet falsely said Gorbachev was speaking with Yevgeny Roizman, a maverick mayoral candidate in the Siberian city, when he was killed.

"I'm alive and well," Gorbachev told Novaya Gazeta, which he co-owns, late Wednesday, saying those who wish him ill are "hoping in vain."

He also suggested the hackers were "carrying out the orders of some authorities." Gorbachev, 82, was the last president of the USSR, and presided over the empire's breakup in 1991.

RIA Novosti said it would ask the Federal Security Service and prosecutors to investigate the cyber attack. The agency says the latest DDos attack on their website just occurred in July.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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