A video spreading throughout social media of Volodymyr Zelensky with a bag of cocaine on his desk is – in fact – pretend, and the most recent in an ongoing smear marketing campaign towards the Ukrainian president.
Within the manipulated video, a not-inconspicuous quantity of white powder is seen subsequent to Zelensky as he conducts a video convention with Elon Musk.
It didn’t take lengthy earlier than the unique, cocaine-less clip resurfaced — BBC disinformation journalist Shayan Sardarizeh noted the unique video was from March — however by then lots of of pro-Russian, English-speaking Twitter accounts had unfold the shallow pretend video.
Disinformation investigative group Bellingcat founder Eliot Higgins additionally shared a side-by-side comparability of the digitally altered video and the unique:
Professional-Russian accounts are at present sharing a video (left) that has an enormous ol’ pile of cocaine digitally added to smear Zelensky. The unique video (proper), sans cocaine, will be discovered right here https://t.co/cChEsa7Sbj pic.twitter.com/JAfGsiEIDj
— Eliot Higgins (@EliotHiggins) April 23, 2022
Professional-Russia Ukrainian politician Ilya Kiva beforehand appeared on Kremlin-funded media in March to propagate the Zelensky drug use smear. “He’s a drug addict. Cocaine,” Kiva, going through treason expenses in Ukraine, mentioned on Russia’s Channel 1 (via The Mirror). “His habit to cocaine additionally distorts actuality.”
One other video that circulated on social media featured a clip of a years-old interview the place Zelensky praises the drug, saying it “provides vitality for the entire day.” A deeper dive into the interview revealed that Zelensky was simply “actually hooked on espresso.” “I don’t use medicine,” Zelensky added.
The drug rumors even date again to when Zelensky was working for president, leading to each he and his opponent Petro Poroshenko — rumored to have an alcohol habit — agreeing to blood screening exams that had been broadcast reside, the AFP reported. Each candidates handed.
Nevertheless, since then, each sniffle seen in a Zelensky video that’s uploaded on-line has been labeled as a facet impact of cocaine use by the lots of of pro-Russian social media accounts that unfold the movies on-line, culminating within the clearly pretend pile-of-coke video this weekend.
As Rolling Stone recently reported, as Russia’s navy wages a increasingly more brutal marketing campaign towards Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s propagandists have been in overdrive.