The internet has crashed over a clip that claims to expose Vladimir Putin using a green screen to simulate a television appearance after his hand was seen ‘passing through a microphone’.
The viral clip – which has been described as an “illusion” and a conspiracy by fact checkers – comes amid heightened speculation about the Russian president’s health and whereabouts.
It was posted on Reddit on Saturday under the title “Green screen detected!”, and shows Putin at a table with flight attendants as he appears to be waving into a microphone.
The video was quickly debunked, then deleted and flagged by moderators as “misinformation”, but not before sparking a bit of hype online.
Some verified sources on social media then claimed that Ukrainian President Zelenskyy later “trolled” President Putin on Sunday by mocking his “hand through microphone” music video. However, this has also been debunked.
A disinformation expert at the BBC, Shayan Sardarizadeh, said the clip is an illusion caused by low-resolution video and Twitter compression.
“Look at the hi-res videos/images from the meeting and there is nothing unusual about Mr. Putin’s microphone and hand,” he said. “The same conspiracies spread [a] Video of Joe Biden last year.
“As if green screen and CGI conspiracy theories weren’t bad enough, there’s another claiming that President Zelenskyy ‘trolled’ Mr. Putin tonight by mocking his ‘hand to hand’ music video. through the mic. “This clip of Mr. Zelenskyy is from the end of his Friday Speech (the day before Putin’s clip aired).”
Russia has a history of producing doctored propaganda videos and allegedly used one to justify its recent invasion of Ukraine, according to AP.
He also shut down many independent media outlets across the country and called on public broadcasters not to call the incursion a war or an invasion.
The visual phenomenon was explained as a technical issue known as “generation loss”.
This happens when a video is repeatedly downloaded or sent through an email service, resulting in a loss of quality.
But the clip does little to mitigate reports that President Putin has become “unhinged” and becoming increasingly isolated.
The clip caused a stir online. Photo/Twitter
It is believed that the Russian leader’s decision to invade Ukraine may have been triggered not only by his poor mental state, but also by a worrying state of physical health.
Putin, 69, was described as “ashy and puffy” in footage released by the Kremlin.
This week again, he was photographed at a safe distance from his military advisers.
And aside from this weekend’s appearance with Aeroflot flight attendants, he has mostly stayed away since ordering an invasion of Ukraine 11 days ago.
The Russian president, who normally has a sturdy and manly build, looked pale and unfit in recent photos as his forces pounded Ukrainian cities.
Putin is tight-lipped about his health – but there has been plenty of speculation over the years.
The researchers even claimed to have identified signs in President Putin’s gait that could indicate Parkinson’s disease.
There are even claims that he has cancer and was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery in February 2020.
The Kremlin has strongly denied claims that he is sick.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “He is in excellent health.”
But claims of a battle with cancer by the Russian president have been neither confirmed nor denied.
Putin self-isolated in September 2021, after several people close to him contracted Covid.
– by Ben Graham, news.com.au