Why fake anti-Zelensky graffiti is showing up all over the world
Did graffiti depicting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a black hole “sucking up European money” really appear on the streets of a Paris suburb? What about graffiti showing the president as an insect or as excrement? According to images circulating online, graffiti like this has been popping up on the streets of several European cities. But in fact, none of them ever existed. We took a closer look to prove that they are fake.
Since November 2022, a handful of images circulating online have all shown the same thing: a street artist installing graffiti mocking the Ukrainian president on a sidewalk in a European city.
But these images all had one more thing in common. They're all edited photos. We even went to a Paris suburb where one of the photos was taken to look for any traces of the graffiti. There was nothing there and even the local town hall and nearby businesses said there was no graffiti removed from the spot.
Image analysis tools like InVid WeVerify also make it possible to look for evidence of editing or graphic manipulation in photos. In this episode of The Observers, we'll show you how it's done.
>> Read more on The Observers: How we debunked reports of anti-Zelensky graffiti in a Paris suburb
Ilya Ber from the independent Russian media Provereno.media told us more about why someone would want to make it appear that Europeans are sharing anti-Zelensky street art:
I would say that the strategy behind all this graffiti is they want to show Russians that Europe is not united, but sooner or later the support for Ukraine will decline. And then, of course, Russia will win. The main purpose is the internal audience. It goes with the fact that all the mediums and all the medias inside Russia are state controlled.