Quotes about cheap oil for Pakistan wrongly attributed to Russian Consul General

Consul General Andrey Fedorov says he was not present at Khan’s meeting with Putin

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Claim: Russian Consul General Andrey Fedorov has said his country “will provide oil on cheap rates if [the] Pakistan government contacted us” and confirmed former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s claim that his government was in talks with Russia to buy oil at a “30% discounted rate”.

Fact: Fedorov made no such comment. At a press conference, the Consul General stated that he could not say anything about the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Khan because he was not present there. Moreover, Fedorov’s personal secretary also confirmed to Soch Fact Check that the “information about the agreement on Russia’s cheap oil exports to Pakistan is indeed false.”

On 10 June 2022, ‘Pakistan Republic’ shared on Facebook and Instagram a visual featuring images of Putin and Khan with the text, “Imran Khan’s Government Were in Talks With Russia to Buy Oil at Discounted Rate: Confirmed Russia’s Consul General.”

The image was accompanied by the following caption:

Russian Consul General has confirmed the Former PM Imran Khan’s claim of getting Russian oil at 30% discounted rate.

Consul General of Russia said that oil trade was discussed during the visit of former PM Imran Khan to Russia but no official letter was received from Pakistan.

The report went viral and was picked up by multiple outlets on social media, including on Facebook and Twitter. In an initial report on the matter, Dunya News attributed to Fedorov the comment that Russia “will provide oil on cheap rates if [the] Pakistan government contacted us”; however, the outlet later revised the headline of its article to, “Russia’s bilateral relations with Pakistan have strengthened: Russian Consul General,” and changed the body of the article as well.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reached out to the Russian Consulate in Karachi to verify if the comments attributed to the Consul General were, in fact, correct.

In an email, Fedorov’s personal secretary Pavel Iamanov said, “We hereby confirm that the information about the agreement on Russia’s cheap oil exports to Pakistan is indeed false. It was circulated to many news outlets originally from the Dunya News web desk’s misinterpretation of the Consul General’s statements.”

Soch Fact Check also inquired about a post on the Facebook page of the Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Karachi. Iamanov confirmed that the post represents Federov’s “actual quote on this matter”.

In the post, the Consul General clarified that during a 9 June 2022 press conference, he in fact said the following:

“Russia is interested in developing the relations with all countries, including Pakistan. We consider Pakistan as a friendly country, and when friendly countries have a discussion at the negotiation table, they agree on everything. As for the discussion of that matter in [the] Kremlin, I can not say anything about it because I was not present there.”

In addition, in a video of the press conference on Facebook, also available here, Fedorov can be heard saying, “If we’re bargaining with our friends, we can make some steps, but trust me, I’m not the person who [is] authorized to say yes we can make this discount.”

In an interview with Samaa TV following the press conference, the Russian Consul General said, “We are ready to negotiate the issue. The price… of course… should be negotiated. But I wanna stress [that] when friends wanna make a deal, they always can discuss something and reach some agreements as friends, not like business partners, and we have made Pakistan as a friendly country. We are ready for any discussion with our friends and I wanna stress it once again [that] when friends are sitting at the table, discussing something, […] they can reach very nice agreements.”

Virality

Soch Fact Check conducted a CrowdTangle analysis period from 9 June to 14 June using the following search terms:

  • “Russian Consul General Imran Khan oil”
  • “Russian Consul General has confirmed the Former PM Imran Khan’s claim of getting Russian oil at 30% discounted rate”
  • “Andrey Fedorov Imran Khan oil”
  • “روسی قونصل جنرل تیل”

The first search term gained 46,106 interactions across 75 posts on Facebook, as well as 42,618 interactions across 12 Instagram posts. The second turned up 14 Facebook posts that received more than 8,300 interactions, while, on Instagram, there were close to 9,000 interactions across three posts.

The third search term yielded almost 24,000 interactions across nearly 50 posts on Facebook and over 34,000 interactions across nine posts on Instagram. The fourth search term turned up 617 posts on Facebook with 94,243 interactions and five posts on Instagram with over 27,500 interactions.

Some popular posts by verified Facebook profiles and pages can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here and, on Instagram, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Viral tweets relevant to the claim can be found here, here, here, here, and here.

Outlets such as Global Village Space, Pakistan Today, ARY News (English and Urdu), Express News, Dunya News (English and Urdu), Daily Pakistan, Siasat.pk, Technologistan, Asian Thinktank, and The Times of Sindh also published misleading reports on the matter.

Conclusion: Russian Consul General Andrey Fedorov did not say that Russia would provide oil to Pakistan at cheap rates if the Government of Pakistan were to contact Russia, nor did he confirm Imran Khan’s claims that his government was in talks with Russia to buy oil at a 30% discounted rate. At a press conference, Fedorov stated that he could not say anything about the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Khan because he was not present.

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