Medvedev’s Online Followers Told Not to Get Too Familiar

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

MOSCOW, March 28 (RIA Novosti) ­ You may be able to “friend” Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Facebook, but that’s no excuse to get familiar.

That was the message coming out of Medvedev’s office on Thursday in response to some web-users’ impudently using a diminutive version of the premier’s name.

“I don’t get people who write on Facebook, for example, ‘Go Dimon, good for you, you were really on fire,’ Medvedev spokeswoman Natalya Timakova told Golos Rossii (Voice of Russia) radio station in an interview.

“He’s not Dimon to you ­ he’s the head of the government,” she said.

Russians traditionally address their elders and superiors by their first name and patronymic. Standards are clearly slipping, however.

“He doesn’t have to be addressed as Dmitry Anatolyevich, but at least call him Dmitry and use vy [the formal word for ‘you’],” Timakova said.

During his four-year stint as president until 2012, Medvedev sought to demonstrate his high-tech credentials by being seen to actively engage with social media. He is an active user of Facebook and Twitter, and has made the Skolkovo innovation complex, dubbed Russia’s “Silicon Valley,” something of a pet project.

But more often than not, Medvedev ended up becoming the object of irreverent jokes among the online community.

Timakova’s complaints provoked what should have seemed a predictable reaction.

An hour after a transcript of her interview was published on Thursday, #Dimon and #Don’tCryDimon began trending on Russian Twitter.