On Friday, House Republican leaders unveiled their 2023 ‘Pledge to America’ agenda — and with it, an inspirational video full of scenes billed as exceptional footage of America that was actually stock footage from Russia and Ukraine.
The GOP video, “The Preamble to the Commitment to America,” opens with a narrator outlining aspects of what it means to be an American.
“We celebrate the rich legacy of American history and the vibrancy of the American dream,” the voice says, over footage of a drilling rig at sunrise.
But this clip, an apparent nod to America’s natural resources, was not filmed in America. This is stock footage created by Serg Grbanoff, a Russian-based filmmaker.
Grbanoff told HuffPost that he filmed this scene. in the Volgograd region of Russia. Here’s a screenshot of the image in the video of House Republican leaders, compared to an original photo on the Shutterstock website:
This isn’t the only instance Grbanoff’s work appears in GOP video celebrating America.
In another scene, a smiling boy is seen running through a field with a toy plane. The words “Freedom, and the Pursuit of Happiness” appear on screen, a reference to the Declaration of Independence.
This clip was also created by Grbanoff and also shot in the Volgograd region. Here’s a screenshot of the image in the GOP video compared to an original photo on Shutterstock’s website:
At another point in the video of House Republican leaders, they shoot Democrats on the economy.
“The Democrats have derailed America,” says the narrator. The words “Cripple Inflation and Rampant Crime” appear on screen, over a photo of a woman walking through a grocery store.
But these are pictures of a European grocery store. If you look closely at the screenshot, you can see a tag hanging from one of the shelves in the store that says “AKCIA”, a Slovak word meaning “action”. Informally“AKCIA” is used for designate sales in Slovak stores.
House Republicans almost certainly used footage from Ukraine in their America video as well.
The video includes a clip of a farmer carrying a bag over his shoulder in a cornfield, as the words “And the vibrancy of the American Dream” appear on screen.
These are also stock images from a Shutterstock contributor, Dedov Stock. The man featured in the clip works for DedovStock and has a page of his work on his website. His page has photos of him in Ukraine and the Carpathianswhich stretch across Ukraine and parts of Eastern Europe.
A spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) did not immediately respond to a request for comment on why GOP leaders rolled out their plan for America with a video containing archival footage from Russia.
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