The internet has gone into meltdown over a clip that claims to expose Putin faking a TV appearance. But there’s more than meets the eye.
The internet has gone into meltdown over a clip that claims to expose Vladimir Putin using a green screen to fake a TV appearance after his hand was seen “going through a microphone”.
The viral clip — which has been described as an “illusion” and a conspiracy by factcheckers — comes amid heightened speculation around the Russian President’s health and location.
It was posted on Reddit on Saturday under the title “Green Screen Detected!”, shows Putin at a table with air hostesses when he appears to wave his hand through a microphone.
The video was quickly debunked and later deleted and flagged by moderators as “misinformation”, but not before it gathered quite a bit of hype online.
Some verified sources on social media then went on to claim Ukrainian President Zelensky later “trolled” President Putin on Sunday by mocking his “hand through mic” clip. However, that has also been debunked.
A disinformation expert at the BBC Shayan Sardarizadeh said the clip is an illusion caused by a low-res video and Twitter’s compression.
“Check high-res videos/images of the meeting and there’s nothing unusual about the mic and Mr Putin’s hand,” he said. “The same conspiracies were spread about this Joe Biden video last year.
“As if the green screen and CGI conspiracy theories weren’t bad enough, there’s another one,
claiming President Zelensky “trolled” Mr Putin tonight by mocking his “hand through mic” clip. This clip of Mr Zelensky is from the end of his Friday address (the day before the putin clip surfaced).”
Russia has a history of producing doctored propaganda videos and was believed to have used one to justify its recent invasion of Ukraine, according to AP.
It has also shuttered many independent media outlets across the country and has called on state-run channels not to call the incursion a war or invasion.
The visual phenomenon has been explained as a technical glitch known as “generation loss”.
This occurs when a video is repeatedly uploaded or sent via a messaging service, which causes it to lose quality.
But the clip has little to abate reports that President Putin has become “unhinged” and is becoming increasingly isolated.
It’s thought the Russian leader’s decision to invade Ukraine might have been sparked by not only his poor mental state, but also by a worrying physical health condition.
President Putin, 69, was described as “ashen and bloated” in pictures released by the Kremlin.
Just this week he was pictured a good distance away from his military advisors.
And apart from this weekend’s appearance with Aeroflot stewardesses, he has mostly remained out of the limelight since he ordered an invasion of Ukraine 11 days ago.
The Russian president, normally cutting a rugged and manly figure, looked pale and unfit in recent photos as his forces pounded Ukraine’s cities.
Putin is tight-lipped about his health – but there has been much speculation over the years.
Researchers even claimed they identified signs in President Putin’s gait which could point to Parkinson’s disease.
There are even claim the he has cancer and was rushed into hospital for emergency surgery in February 2020.
The Kremlin has issued a firm denial of claims that he has any illness.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “He is in excellent health.”
But the claims of a battle with cancer by the Russian President have not been confirmed or denied.
Putin self-isolated in September 2021, after several people close to him got Covid.