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Russian Ambassador To Britain Welcomes New Propaganda Channel With Bizarre Rant

"In true buccaneering spirit/style of host country they will tear down all walls and shatter every conventional wisdom of chattering classes."

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Alexander Yakovenko, Russia's ambassador to Britain, marked the launch of RT UK, the Kremlin's British-specific propaganda channel, on Thursday with a lengthy and eccentric Twitter rant that saw him make extraneous references to Financial Times columnist Martin Wolf and novelist Virginia Woolf while claiming the network would "be as innovative as [the] Russian avant-garde."

He started by referring to the station's launch party, which was disrupted by a fire alarm RT editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan intimated was part of a UK government plot to stop the channel.

#RT UK Channel was launched at a party with magnificent view. New kid on the block duly ushered in with a fire-alarm in Millbank Tower

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

#RT UK Channel was launched at a party with magnificent view. New kid on the block duly ushered in with a fire-alarm in Millbank Tower

12:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Sure, the new Channel will help transform the British media landscape, as required in times of “Shifts and Shocks” (MWolf)

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

Sure, the new Channel will help transform the British media landscape, as required in times of “Shifts and Shocks” (MWolf)

2:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

In true buccaneering spirit/style of host country they will tear down all walls and shatter every conventional wisdom of chattering classes

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

In true buccaneering spirit/style of host country they will tear down all walls and shatter every conventional wisdom of chattering classes

2:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

#RT UK will provide stage for real debate with plainspeak not newspeak, throwing down intellectual gauntlet and keeping Ofcom on the edge

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

#RT UK will provide stage for real debate with plainspeak not newspeak, throwing down intellectual gauntlet and keeping Ofcom on the edge

2:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

They will push forward alternative “Russian point of view”, as profound as VWoolf saw it, and will be as innovative as Russian avant-garde

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

They will push forward alternative “Russian point of view”, as profound as VWoolf saw it, and will be as innovative as Russian avant-garde

2:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

The tweetstorm was a marked departure for Yakovenko, who usually posts banal policy statements from top Russian officials a day or two after they are made.

At time of freeze of official relationship, #RT UK will provide welcome focus for our bilateral intercourse free of boring officialdom

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

At time of freeze of official relationship, #RT UK will provide welcome focus for our bilateral intercourse free of boring officialdom

12:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

Here Yakovenko refers to Russia's greatest 19th-century liberal thinker, who spent long years of exile living in London and published Russia's first revolutionary newspaper, The Bell.

Thus will pay the debt owed to Britain for sheltering Alexander Herzen

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

Thus will pay the debt owed to Britain for sheltering Alexander Herzen

12:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

It’s a tall order, but I’m sure #RT UK team will live up to it.

Alexander Yakovenko@Amb_YakovenkoFollow

It’s a tall order, but I’m sure #RT UK team will live up to it.

2:13 PM - 28 Nov 14ReplyRetweetFavorite

"We believe that the public would only benefit from having access to an outlet that shows the world from a different position," Simonyan told guests at the launch.

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The channel, which aspires to become a must-watch destination for taxi drivers across Britain, has been at the center of controversy since before it started broadcasting in late October. Ofcom, Britain's broadcasting authority, said the main RT channel's coverage of the Ukraine crisis was biased and threatened to take it off the air.

"It looks like RT UK sees its goal as creating an intellectual provocation in Britain by trying to show an alternative take on domestic British news, rather than just on global current affairs," Tonia Samsonova, a Russian journalist who attended the launch, told BuzzFeed News. "Whether you agree with that or not, you can't not acknowledge how good at it they are."

Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71

Contact Max Seddon at max.seddon@buzzfeed.com.

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