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Canada Gets Snarky With Russia On Twitter

North Atlantic Tweety Organisation

International diplomacy is serious business. Countless crises are defused, disputes resolved, even lives saved, by the sensitive and intelligent handling of the delicate balance of power between nations.

Or, of course, you can send passive-aggressive messages over Twitter – the route which Canada chose to go down. The usually amiable state of moose and ice hockey tweeted at Russia via its @CanadaNATO account, usually a source of fairly staid news regarding international politics and inoffensive photos of displays by the Canadian Air Force and the like, to remind them of where exactly their territory lies in the wake of Putin’s incursions into Ukraine.

The account tweeted the message ‘Geography can be tough. Here’s a guide for Russian soldiers who keep getting lost & accidently entering #Ukraine’, accompanied by an image of Eastern Europe with shaded parts labelled ‘Russia’ and ‘Not Russia.’

Canada has been unilaterally critical of Russia’s actions in the region, referring to the ‘military aggression’ and an ‘illegal occupation’ and providing shipments of aid to those affected areas, so it’s not as though this statement is surprising in any way apart from its more markedly casual tone. On Tuesday a video of Russian paratroopers operating within Ukraine’s eastern boarder was released by Ukrainian sources; Russia responded that the men had crossed the border ‘by accident.’

Russia sent a reply of its own from the @natomission_ru account, tweeting ‘Helping our Canadian colleagues catch up with contemporary geography of #Europe’ along with a map marking Crimea as Russian territory.

This is also not the first time that Russia has run up against problems with social media during this conflict; their supposedly clandestine operations earlier this were seemingly exposed by an over-zealous selfie-taker's Instagram account. 

Spats like this between nations are nothing new, but the universal reach of social media means that now they are played out on a truly global stage. @CanadaNATO’s tweet was retweeted over thirty thousand times and favourited by almost fifteen thousand people – impressive figures for an account with fewer than ten thousand followers. There’s not really any precedent for this kind of mass engagement in political issues; not just those which directly relate to the individual, but issues of international importance whose appeal isn’t tied to national identity.

Douglas is an English Literature graduate who has written about everything from music to food to theatre, now a content creator for Social Media Frontiers. No topic too large or too small. Follow him @DouglasAtSMF.

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Canada Gets Snarky With Russia On Twitter Reviewed by Anonymous on Monday, September 01, 2014 Rating: 5
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