Pranksters Dupe Canadian Lawmakers With Fake Navalny Act: Vice

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(Bloomberg) — Canadian lawmakers were tricked by Russian pranksters claiming to be one of opposition leader Alexey Navalny’s key supporters, according to Vice News.

Last month, Canada’s parliamentary foreign affairs committee heard testimony from a witness claiming to be Leonid Volkov, chief of staff to the imprisoned critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Vice reported Tuesday. Instead, lawmakers listened to pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov impersonating the Navalny aide for 25 minutes before suspending their in-camera meeting.

Requests for comment to the committee chair weren’t immediately returned.

The real Volkov is scheduled to testify about Navalny’s current situation before the group on Thursday. Kuznetsov and Stolyarov told Vice that they plan to upload scenes from the April 22 meeting onto their YouTube channel.

Lawmakers in the Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia recently fell for the same ruse from the duo, who have built a reputation targeting Western politicians by posing as famous people. The pair also convinced Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office to have a call by claiming to be teenage climate-change activist Greta Thunberg.

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