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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke April 20, 2022

No, this isn’t a picture of Ukrainian students celebrating Hitler’s birthday

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  • An image of Russians forming the number 55 to celebrate the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin rocketing into space has been mischaracterized to wrongly claim that it shows Ukrainian students celebrating Hitler’s birthday.  

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889, and amid misinformation connecting Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy to Nazi symbolism, and false claims that Ukraine is orchestrating a genocide against ethnic Russians, comes a rumor that students in Lviv were photographed celebrating the German dictator’s birthday. 

"Just Lviv," one April 20 tweet that has since been removed said. "Just schoolchildren. Just celebrated Hitler’s birthday. In Ukraine, in which, as you know, there is no Nazism."

"#Ukraine #Lviv Hitler’s birthday celebration," another tweet said. 

Both tweets show an aerial photo of dozens of people holding balloons and forming the number 55. 

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(Screengrab from Twitter)
Anyone confusing this shape for a swastika is mistaken. While the the numbers are made with straight lines like a swastika — lacking the curve that’s often used to write the number five — the angles are off. The two ends of both fives point in the same direction, whereas each end of a swastika points in a different direction. 
But what’s more, this photo wasn’t taken in Lviv in 2022. It was shot in Penza, Russia, in 2016, to celebrate the 55th anniversary of Cosmonautics Day. 

A Russian TV station posted a news broadcast of the event on YouTube that year. An English translation of the title says, "On Cosmonautics Day, participants of the flash mob in Penza lined up in the number ‘55.’" 

The "55" can be seen at the 47 mark, and it’s followed by an image of Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet pilot who became the first person to orbit the earth on April 12, 1961.

We rate this post Pants on Fire!


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No, this isn’t a picture of Ukrainian students celebrating Hitler’s birthday

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