Did the US ambassador to Russia really go to a demonstration in support of one of Putin’s opponents? - CrossCheck

This website is no longer active. It is an archive of the 2017 CrossCheck France Initiative. For more information about the latest developments of CrossCheck, visit the First Draft website.



Did the US ambassador to Russia really go to a demonstration in support of one of Putin’s opponents?

A picture showing the US ambassador to Russia taking part in a protest to commemorate Boris Nemstov, a political opponent of Putin who was assassinated in 2015, turns out to have been Photoshopped.

Translation: “Why is the US ambassador to Russia John Tefft taking part in the Nemstov March?”

The photo shows John Tefft, the US ambassador in Moscow, in the middle of a demonstration to commemorate Nemstov. He is holding a sign on which it is written in Russian, “He fought for our future.”

It’s a Photoshop job: John Tefft is standing exactly the same way in a photo published on 22 April 2015 in the Moscow Times. Putting the photos side by side shows that his outfit and the position in which he is standing are identical. All that was left was to cut out his outline and place a protest sign in his hand.


Translation: And you’re not bothered by publishing a propaganda blog… with a clear photomontage! #Alwaysthesamemethods

The image was posted on several Russian social networks starting 26 February, the date of the protest. In France, it was posted on the French blog Russie Politics, a blog focusing on Russian politics and managed by researcher Karine Béchet-Golovko, who also tweeted the image. The tweet was then picked up by Thierry Mariani, a French MP representing French citizens living abroad, particularly in eastern Europe.


Translation: If the Russian ambassador joined protests in France it would be a scandal, but the US has impunity.

The Observers team at France 24, a partner of CrossCheck, got in touch with Karine Béchet-Golovko to let her know about the fake photo. She replied, “It looks like it is a photomontage, even though the site’s writer doesn’t say so. To take with a pinch of salt. I’m going to take it down off my blog.” The blog post has since been changed — but the photo not removed — and Mariani has apologised on Twitter for having shared a “photomontage”.


Translation : Sorry for publishing a tweet that was a photomontage.

Crosschecked by