Speculation swirls as Putin is accused of using the same woman in multiple photos
Speculation and mockery abounded on social media after an eagle-eyed reporter spotted what appeared to be the same woman playing different roles in photos with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The weirdness was first highlighted on Twitter on Saturday morning by London-based Belarusian journalist Tadeusz Giczan. In his post, Giczan shared three photos of Putin standing among various different crowds which included a line of soldiers, sailors on a boat and worshipers attending some sort of religious service.
In each image, it appears that the same blonde woman is present – often in the foreground of the image – giving the impression that she is being used by Russian officials to fill in Putin’s various photo ops.
“A soldier, a sailor, a devout Christian. God moves in mysterious ways,” Giczan tweeted with a dryly ironic tone.
CNN correspondent Clarissa Ward responded to Giczan’s tweets, raising questions about the woman’s identity and her precise role. The journalist wondered if she is just an actress used to fill photos or if she has another reason to be close to Putin in different situations. She also noted other characters that appear in at least two of the photos, but don’t stand out as much as the woman.
“It’s fascinating,” Ward wrote in his response. “Who is she? A bodyguard? An actor? There are several other faces that appear in the two photos to the right.”
In his own response, Kyiv Post correspondent Jason Jay Smart gave additional context to the various photos, noting that the image with the line of “soldiers” was from Putin’s New Year’s Eve speech and that the photo with the faithful came from his feast of Easter. address earlier in the year. Echoing Ward’s message, he also referred to the woman as an “actor” and also claimed that she and the others were most likely rounded up by Putin’s security detail.
“As you might expect: Putin’s New Year’s Eve speech didn’t even use real soldiers, but actors (i.e. people rounded up by the Presidential Protective Office) “Smart wrote. “The blond woman can also be seen in her Easter speech. It is as false as the value of the ruble.”
Andriy P. Zagorodnyuk, Ukraine’s former defense minister, responded to Smart’s tweet, saying the alleged charade was unsurprising.
Putin’s New Year’s Eve speech on Saturday came more than a decade after Russia’s beleaguered and protracted invasion of Ukraine, which was originally planned as a quick-start operation. In his speech, Putin called the conflict a “sacred duty to ancestors and descendants” and called it a fight for Russia’s sovereignty.
“We have always known, and today we are convinced again, that the sovereign, independent and secure future of Russia depends only on us, on our strength and our will,” the Russian leader said.
Newsweek contacted Russian officials for comment.