Debunked

No, the Ukrainian president did not write a book called 'Mein Kampf'

Some social media accounts claim that Volodymyr Zelensky has just published a book with a title and design similar to Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf", but the photos are actually edited.
Some social media accounts claim that Volodymyr Zelensky has just published a book with a title and design similar to Adolf Hitler's "Mein Kampf", but the photos are actually edited. © Observers

Is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky the author of a new book entitled "Mein Kampf", or "My Struggle", using the same graphic design as Adolf Hitler's manifesto? This is what many people online have been claiming to be the case since October 19, 2022. But the photos they use as proof are actually just photoshopped using old images. While the Ukrainian president is indeed preparing to release a book, it has a totally different title and cover design.

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If you only have a minute:

  • Since October 19, French, English and Russian accounts have been sharing what they say are images of the new book from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. According to these images, the book bears a striking similarity to "Mein Kampf", the Nazi manifesto by Adolf Hitler. 
  • The photos have been shared more than 1,000 times, but they are actually photoshopped.
  • We checked out the images and found they were edited by looking at inconsistencies in the cover design in several posts. 
  • While the Ukrainian president will indeed be publishing a book soon, it has a different title and cover design.

The fact-check, in detail:

Many posts online are sharing two images of book covers side by side. On the left is supposedly the new book by Volodymyr Zelensky. On the right is the cover of Adolf Hitler's book "Mein Kampf", published in 1925, which set the framework for Nazi ideology.

People have pointed out the striking similarities between the two covers. Volodymyr Zelensky's alleged book is entitled "Моя боротьба", the equivalent of "My Struggle" in English or "Mein Kampf" in German. 

This title is said to appear on a diagonal band on the cover, just like that of "Mein Kampf", in the colours of the Ukrainian flag, blue and yellow. Zelensky appears in a close-up portrait on the cover, with his name written across the top.

"On both books writes [sic] 'My fight'", said this tweet in English, shared over a thousand times. 

The same images were shared in this tweet in French, which says, "Zelensky is releasing a book titled 'My Struggle', which is the exact translation of 'Mein Kampf' [...] A coincidence? Absolutely not. Same look, same agenda."

The photos also circulated in pro-Russian networks, like this Telegram channel which has more than 800,000 subscribers. 

There is also a video which shows someone handling the book, cardboard boxes in the background. "We have launched this book, you will soon see it on sale," says someone in Russian in the background.

In the video, we can see that the back cover of the book has the Ukrainian coats of arms on it, but no summary or other information.

A video shows the alleged book written by Zelensky.
A video shows the alleged book written by Zelensky. Observers

In two other photos shared in a Russian Telegram channel, the book even appears to be in the hands of the president himself.

"The Israeli embassy organised a launch of the book 'My Struggle'. The first copy autographed by the author was offered as a gift to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett," reads the caption.

Screenshot of a Telegram post from October 21, 2022, in which the book appears in the hands of the Ukrainian president.
Screenshot of a Telegram post from October 21, 2022, in which the book appears in the hands of the Ukrainian president. © Observers

Inconsistencies visible on the book cover...

However, several elements indicate that this book never existed, as explained by the American verification media Lead Stories or Italian Open online.

There are clear inconsistencies in the various photos and videos of this book. 

In the image where the Ukrainian president seems to have the book in hand, the cover of the book cuts off the top of his head. In the close-up, the photo is cropped above his hair. 

However, in the video where a man is holding the book in his hand, we can read the name of the Ukrainian president above his photograph, written in white.

A comparison of the supposed images of Volodymyr Zelensky's book.
A comparison of the supposed images of Volodymyr Zelensky's book. Observers

As for the cover, it seems to be a photoshop job. Indeed, the same photo of Volodymyr Zelensky is found on the official website of the Ukrainian president, in a publication dated October 6, 2022.

This photo was taken during a speech given on the same day and available on the president's YouTube channel, in which he thanks those who are fighting for the Ukrainian victory. The background has been removed and replaced by a black background.

Comparison between an image from a speech by the Ukrainian president on October 6, 2022 (left) and what is presented as the Ukrainian president's book (right).
Comparison between an image from a speech by the Ukrainian president on October 6, 2022 (left) and what is presented as the Ukrainian president's book (right). Observers

 

There are no indications of the book's publisher, nor the possibility that many copies were printed for sale. In various images, we only see one individual copy of the alleged book. 

…and a photoshopped image of Zelensky holding the book

We found the original version of the photo that shows Zelensky holding the book through a reverse image search (click here to find out how). It appeared in this tweet in Russian published on September 2, 2021.

The book he is holding in the photo is in fact something completely unrelated. The caption of the post says, "Members of the U.S. Congress offered a book called 'Mild Traumatic Brain Injury' to Zelensky". 

 

Comparison between images published on September 2, 2021 (left) and the photomontage shared in recent days (right).
Comparison between images published on September 2, 2021 (left) and the photomontage shared in recent days (right). Observers

 

The whole sequence can be found on the YouTube channel for the Ukrainian programme TSN. 

The book, dedicated to the soldiers who protect the lives of Ukrainians, was gifted to him by American Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, says this tweet from Ukrainian media Bykvu.

Kaptur is indeed standing in front of Zelensky in these images, proving that the photo was taken in the United States, and not in Israel.

But the Ukrainian president will be publishing a book

Despite these false, photoshopped images, the Ukrainian president is indeed preparing to publish a book. But it's nothing like the one suggested in these posts. 

Publishing house Penguin Books announced on October 17, 2022 that it would publish a book entitled "A Message from Ukraine" (not "My Struggle"). The book is a collection of 16 of Zelensky's speeches, selected by the president himself and accompanied by an introduction. Proceeds from the book's sales will go to United 24, Zelensky's crowdfunding campaign to help Ukraine's war effort. 

On the Penguin Books website, you can find the book itself, described as "The only book officially authorised by President Zelensky". It is set to be released on December 6, 2022. 

The site also shows the cover of the book, much different from the one pictured in various posts online. 

Screenshot from the Penguin Books website showing the Ukrainian president's upcoming book.
Screenshot from the Penguin Books website showing the Ukrainian president's upcoming book. Penguin Books