Canadian lawmakers have been tricked by Russian pranksters claiming to be one in every of opposition chief Alexey Navalny’s key supporters at a closed-door assembly final month.
On April 22, Canada’s cheard testimony from a witness claiming to be Leonid Volkov, chief of employees to the imprisoned critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Vice Information reported Tuesday. As a substitute, lawmakers listened to pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov impersonating the Navalny aide for 25 minutes earlier than realizing they’d been tricked.
The committee confirmed the Vice report later Tuesday. Shortly after the assembly started “it grew to become clear that the person was misrepresenting himself, and the committee promptly suspended — after which terminated — the assembly to research additional,” the group mentioned in an announcement.
The actual Volkov is scheduled to testify about Navalny’s present scenario on Thursday. Kuznetsov and Stolyarov advised Vice that they plan to add scenes from the April 22 assembly onto their YouTube channel.
Lawmakers within the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia just lately fell for a similar ruse from the duo, who’ve constructed a popularity concentrating on Western politicians by posing as well-known individuals. The pair additionally satisfied Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s workplace to have a name by claiming to be teenage climate-change activist Greta Thunberg.
Canada’s international affairs committee “condemns these repeated makes an attempt geared toward deceptive parliamentarians on a really severe scenario,” it mentioned in its assertion, including that Russia’s continued arrests of Navalny sympathizers make it “extra decided to be absolutely and correctly briefed on the scenario.”