Myanmar’s top general has been kicked off the Russian social-media account where he sought refuge after being banned from Facebook amid accusations from United Nations investigators of his involvement in genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority.
The decision by VK, the Russian version of Facebook, is a sign that Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s effort to find a new social-media home is failing, though Russia, along with China, has been less critical of the Myanmar government’s anti-Rohingya campaign than other major powers.
VK, also known as VKontakte, issued a statement Monday saying that Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s page had been “blocked permanently after receiving many complaints from users,” without elaborating. The St. Petersburg-based company still hosts other accounts belonging to Myanmar’s military. The company didn’t respond to questions about those accounts.
U.N. investigators released a report last month calling for Gen. Min Aung Hlaing to be prosecuted for his role in a military campaign last year that killed 10,000 Rohingya minority and sent some 700,000 fleeing across the border to Bangladesh.
Facebook, which was criticized in the report for allowing Myanmar’s military and other users to post hateful content, banned the general and about 20 other people and organizations. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing would sometimes post threatening statements about the Rohingya on his page, which had 2.8 million followers.
Soon afterward, a profile of the general appeared on VK, which has a much narrower reach than Facebook in Myanmar. His VK page attracted tens of thousands of followers before it was banned.
VK said it is determined to monitor Burmese-language profiles and has “specifically hired Burmese-speaking moderators to monitor publications in communities and users pages from Myanmar. Our moderation team delete publications that violate VK rules.”
The Rohingya have faced persecution for decades in Buddhist-majority Myanmar. The government says the campaign against them in 2017 was in response to militant attacks on security outposts. The West has been highly critical of Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya, but Russia continues to host visits by Myanmar generals and sell the country weapons.