Mikhail Gorbachev hasn't died twice in two days

Internet death hoaxes regularly emerge surrounding the Peace Prize winner

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Rumours that the former Russian president Mikhail Gorbachev has died have been quashed by his representatives – twice in the space of two days.

Proving that death hoaxes surrounding the 84-year-old Nobel Peace Prize are still popular, a Facebook post that reportedly garnered more than one million likes emerged on Monday saying “our beloved politician has passed away… He will be missed but not forgotten”.

Gorbachev’s spokesperson told the Media Mass website in Moscow that “he’s still alive and well”, adding that he had “joined the long list of celebrities who have been victimised by this hoax”.

But not to be undone, Twitter came up with its own hoax on Tuesday, with a fake account purporting to belong to the Norwegian defence minister claiming: “Former Soviet President Gorbachev has died suddenly in Moscow, as Russia Defence Ministry confirms.”

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The fake Twitter account that emerged on Tuesday

The fact that the profile was only set up 15 minutes before posting the report ought to have aroused suspicion – though some were taken in.

Yet the rumour has again been definitively quashed, this time by Vladimir Polyakov of the Gorbachev foundation, who told the BBC’s Sarah Rainsford: “I just left his office.”

In August 2013, Gorbachev “died” after the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti’s Twitter account was hacked and planted with a false report.

And in May 2012 the leader was again pronounced dead by a rogue account claiming to belong to a senior Scandinavian politician – then it was “the Swedish Prime Minister”.

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