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The Kremlin denied Russian President Vladimir Putin was ill. Photos released by Russian media show Putin at meetings and public events in the days after this supposed health emergency.
The claim started on Telegram, a platform known for facilitating the spread of misinformation about Russia. The account that made the claim has shared other dubious reports about Putin’s health in the past.
Unverified reports about Russian President Vladimir Putin’s health have been circulating online, driven by social media and foreign news outlets.
An Oct. 24 TikTok video claimed that Putin, 71, had suffered a heart attack. The video showed footage from a broadcast by Australian news channel 10 News First that cited "an organization called General SVR," which claimed to have "classified intelligence on the Kremlin."
(Screengrab from TikTok)
This claim originated on Telegram, a platform known for facilitating the spread of misinformation related to Russia.
An Oct. 23 post from the account "General SVR" claimed that the night before, security guards found Putin convulsing on his bedroom floor and that doctors were called to resuscitate him. It also claimed that a body double has been appearing in Putin’s place at recent events and meetings. (We used Google Translate to translate the post from Russian to English.)
The General SVR post has been viewed more than 730,000 times and forwarded to other channels 24,000 times, according to the Telegram analysis tool TGStat.
In the week since the General SVR post was shared, the Telegram account gained 85,000 subscribers and now has a following of more than 453,000, per TGStat. The account was created in 2020, and its author and sources are not identified.
The post also has been shared widely on other social media platforms and cited in multiple news outlets worldwide that are known for publishing misleading or unverified reports, including Sky News Australia, The Mirror U.K., the EurAsian Times and the Tribune India.
The Kremlin denied claims that Putin was ill.
"Everything is fine with him, this is absolutely another fake," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov told reporters Oct. 24, per Reuters. "This belongs to the category of absurd information hoaxes that a whole series of media discuss with enviable tenacity."
Photos released by Russian media show Putin at meetings and public events in the days following his alleged health emergency. Putin was also seen Oct. 25 on Russian state television directing a nuclear strike drill via a video call, The Associated Press reported.
The General SVR Telegram account has shared dubious claims about Putin’s health in the past, including one post last December that was picked up by the U.K.’s Daily Mail about the Russian president falling down stairs.
PolitiFact rates claims based on the information known at the time the statement is made.
Based on available information, we rate the claim that Putin recently suffered a heart attack False.
Facebook post, Oct. 24, 2023
X post, Oct. 24, 2023
General SVR, Telegram post, Oct. 23, 2023
TGStat, Stats on General SVR’s post, Oct. 23, 2023
TGStat, General SVR, accessed Oct. 30, 2023
Reuters, "Kremlin says Putin is healthy, laughs off body double rumours," Oct. 24, 2023
The Associated Press, "How a baseless claim about Putin’s health spread from an unreliable Telegram account to TV news," Oct. 26, 2023
The Associated Press, "Experts: Russia finding new ways to spread propaganda videos," Oct. 5, 2022
The Associated Press, "Russian forces simulate nuclear strike as upper house rescinds ratification of test ban treaty," Oct. 25, 2023
Politico, "Putin’s (still) not dead, Kremlin insists," Oct. 27, 2023
The Tribune India, "Russian President Vladimir Putin suffers heart attack, found lying on floor: Reports," Oct. 24, 2023
The Eurasian Times, "Vladimir Putin Suffers A 'Heart Attack' As Rumors Swirl Over His Ill Health; Kremlin Issues A Statement," Oct. 25, 2023
Sky News Australia, "Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly suffers cardiac arrest in presidential bedroom, an insider group reveals," Oct. 24, 2023
The Mirror U.K., "Vladimir Putin 'resuscitated' after having 'cardiac arrest' claims Telegram channel," Oct. 23, 2023
The Daily Mail, "Vladimir Putin 'fell down stairs at his home and soiled himself'," Dec. 2, 2022
AP Photos, Photo of Putin, Oct. 23, 2023
AP Photos, Photo of Putin, Oct. 24, 2023
AP Photos, Photo of Putin, Oct. 25, 2023
Getty Images, Photo of Putin, Oct. 26, 2023
Getty Images, Photo of Putin, Oct. 27, 2023
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