That Viral Photo of Putin is Totally Fake

By Matt Novak on at

Have you seen this viral photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin? It shows the authoritarian leader in the middle of an intense discussion between other world leaders at the G-20. But it’s completely fake. And the fakery has even inspired a meme.

Putin supporters have been circulating the image to make it look like the Russian president is in the middle of the action. But it’s bullshit. How do we know it’s fake? Because we have multiple camera angles on that exact moment from a variety of photographers.

The original image that has since been photoshopped was taken by Kayhan Ozer for Getty Images. Other photographers like Markus Schreiber for the Associated Press took some identical photos during the discussion.

(Markus Schreiber/Associated Press)

As you can see, America’s own authoritarian leader Donald Trump is speaking with Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The empty seat was for Theresa May as Angela Merkel looks over their shoulders.

It’s unclear who made the photoshop with Putin, but one of the earliest people to post the altered photo was Russian journalist and Putin loyalist Vladimir Soloviev. He’s since deleted the post from Facebook after getting ridiculed on the social media site.

And the good people of the internet have done what the internet does best when something has been found out as fake: They’ve made even more fakes.

Like this one showing North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the middle of the action.

And this one showing Dobby from the Harry Potter series sitting in Theresa May’s seat.

And then there’s whatever this is:

But let me just state for the record that Putin is the best and most intelligent and most beautiful leader in the world. People who say otherwise have a tendency to find themselves dead.

Or, in the case of President Donald Trump, they get called fake news. Which, if history is any guide, is probably just the beginning of the shitshow. Especially when you’ve embarrassed the country by putting your daughter in your seat among world leaders and alienated yourself from the rest of the world.

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

This isn’t going to end well for anybody. Least of all Americans.

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