Photo does not show Putin watching Pakistan by-elections

The image has been doctored.

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Claim: A photo being shared on social media shows Russian President Vladimir Putin watching the news of the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) victory in the recent by-elections in Punjab, Pakistan.

Fact: The photo doing the rounds on social media is doctored. It is actually from 26 January 2022 when Putin held a meeting with the Italian business community via video conference. 

Fact or Fiction?

On 19 July 2022, Facebook user Shahzad Sandu shared a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin, claiming that it shows him watching the news of the Imran Khan-led PTI victory in the recent by-elections in Punjab, Pakistan.

The caption of the photo reads, “ روسی صدر ولاڈیمیر پیوٹن 17 جولائی کو پاکستان میں ہونے والے بڑے بریک ٹھرو کی نیوز دیکھ رہے ہیں. انہوں نے عمران خان کی جیت پر اطمینان کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے عمران خان کو حیران کن شخصیت قرار دیا [Russian President Vladimir Putin is watching the news of a 17 July breakthrough in Pakistan. He expressed satisfaction over Imran Khan’s victory and declared Khan a wonderful personality]”. 

The claim was also shared here, here, here, here, here and here.

It was also shared here and here with a similar caption, “روسی صدر  پیوٹن اپنے آفس میں ٹی وی پر پنجاب میں عمران خان کی فتح کی خبر سُنتے ہوئے، جسکی پوری دنیا فین ہے وہ عمران خان کا فین ہے [Russian President Putin listening to the news of Imran Khan’s victory. The whole world is a fan of Putin, but he is a fan of Imran Khan.”

Soch Fact Check found the claim to be false after searching the image with Google Lens. The search led us to an article by the official website of the President of the Russian Federation titled, “Meeting with representatives of Italian business community [via video conference].” The time stamp of the article reads 26 January 2022. 

The image featured in the article appears to be the original image which has been doctored to suggest Putin was watching the by-elections in Pakistan. In the original image, Putin’s screen shows the faces of several other men, not a news report about the recent by-elections in Punjab, Pakistan.

The same original image was also found on stock photo website Alamy through a Google Reverse Image Search. “January 26, 2022. – Russia, Moscow Region, Novo-Ogaryovo. – Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence during a video conference meeting with Italian business leaders,” the image description reads.

Therefore, Soch Fact Check concludes that the image doing the rounds on social media has been altered. 

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis for the 30-day period leading up to 30 July 2022 using the following search terms:

  • روسی صدر  پیوٹن اپنے آفس میں ٹی وی پر پنجاب میں عمران خان کی فتح کی خبر سُنتے ہوئے، جسکی پوری دنیا فین ہے وہ عمران خان کا فین ہے [Russian President Putin listening to the news of Imran Khan’s victory. The whole world is a fan of Putin, but he is a fan of Imran Khan]
  • روسی صدر ولاڈیمیر پیوٹن 17 جولائی کو پاکستان میں ہونے والے بڑے بریک ٹھرو کی نیوز دیکھ رہے ہیں. انہوں نے عمران خان کی جیت پر اطمینان کا اظہار کرتے ہوئے عمران خان کو حیران کن شخصیت قرار دیا [Russian President Vladimir Putin is watching the news of a 17 July breakthrough in Pakistan. He expressed satisfaction over Imran Khan’s victory and declared Khan a wonderful personality]

The first search term turned up 2,884 interactions across four posts. Heroes of Pakistan’s post is performing almost five times better than other similar posts on Facebook with 1,500 likes and 126 shares.

The second search term turned up 1,276 interactions across four posts. The analysis showed that Wazir-e-Azam Imran Khan’s post is performing 1.31x better than other similar posts with 1,100 likes and 107 shares.

On Twitter, it was shared here and here.

Conclusion: An image of Russian President Vladimir Putin speaking with the Italian business community via a video conference on 26 January 2022 has been doctored to make it seem like Putin was watching a news segment about the recent Punjab by-elections.

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