Governor branded 'imbecile' for exposing Kremlin salad worm
A Russian official was branded an "imbecile" by the Kremlin after spotting an earthworm in his plate of salad at a reception for the German president and posting a photograph on Twitter.
Tver region governor Dmitry Zelenin posted a photograph of the small red worm on the edge of a plate of salad on Twitter late Tuesday at a Kremlin reception for German President Christian Wulff and his wife.
"The beef came with live worms," Zelenin wrote, cited by Russian media, adding that, "That's an original way to show that the lettuce leaf is fresh."
But the Kremlin did not relish the joke.
The Kremlin's top foreign policy advisor, Sergei Prikhodko, said he regretted that there was no rule on "firing governors for imbecility" in an interview with the RIA Novosti news agency on Wednesday evening.
He slammed the governor, 47, saying that: "I won't even talk about (his) irresponsibility and stupidity."
Zelenin -- who is a member of the ruling United Russia party and is in charge of a important region northwest of Moscow -- later deleted the posting.
The Kremlin kitchens are being checked after the incident, a spokesman for the presidential administration, Viktor Khrekov, told RIA Novosti on Thursday. He cast doubt on the photograph's authenticity, however.
"A preliminary analysis of the photograph shows it does not match the location nor the table settings at this official event," Khrekov said.
The photo simply shows a white plate on a cream patterned cloth. Zelenin also posted a photograph of the chandeliered dining room.
Bloggers jokingly compared Zelenin to the sailors of Battleship Potemkin, immortalised in Sergei Eisenstein's 1925 film, who mutinied in 1905 after they found maggots in their meat.
It is not the first time Twitter has caused a stir in Russia.
Medvedev sent his own first message on Twitter in June, while visiting Silicon Valley, and his KremlinRussia account has been updated regularly with "tweets" and photographs.
He has encouraged officials to use e-mail and write blogs.
Despite embracing modern methods of communication, the president last month upbraided Kirov region governor Nikita Belykh for posting on Twitter during a meeting.
In a schoolmasterly tone, Medvedev publicly criticised Belykh for "having nothing better to do."
© 2010 AFP