A Russian state-controlled “news” channel falsely claimed that a video clip showed Ukrainian forces preparing a stunt dummy to stage deaths to blame on Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, the clip is behind-the-scenes footage from the set of a Russian TV series. Let’s take a look at the facts.
Dismissing evidence of its own atrocities as “fake” or staged is a core disinformation tactic of the Russian government — one it also used to spread doubt and confusion about its involvement in attacks on civilians during the Syrian civil war. This Telegram post is one of a number of videos presented out of context in recent weeks to push the baseless claim that Ukraine is staging deaths. Russian government sources have consistently promoted the same falsehood to dismiss civilian casualties in Mariupol and Bucha.
Here is a full copy of the video:
- “Russian TV Is Filled With Images of Bucha’s Dead, Stamped With the Word ‘Fake’” (Robert Mackey, The Intercept).
- “How we verify social media posts from the war in Ukraine” (Reality Check, BBC News).
- “In Ukraine, Facebook fact-checkers fight a war on two fronts” (Naomi Nix, The Washington Post).
- “The Race to Archive Social Posts That May Prove Russian War Crimes” (Tom Simonite, Wired).
- “Fact Check: Prop Dummy Was NOT Used In Ukrainian War Propaganda But Was For A TV Series Filmed In Russia” (Sarah Thompson, Lead Stories).
NLP’s viral rumor rundown is a regular feature in The Sift, its weekly email newsletter for educators, and in Get Smart About News, its weekly email newsletter for the general public. You can subscribe to these newsletters here. Send suggestions, questions or feedback on this rumor or on the viral rumor rundown blog to email@example.com.