With the Russian election in March 2024 approaching, Russian propaganda focuses on Putin more. Propagandists pour a lot of effort into convincing the audience of his popularity and support (See debunking a fake about Gallup’s study in Ukrainian), assigning him with an image of an undefeatable authority figure without whom the Russian Federation would not exist. 

This time, pro-Russian telegram channels spread the news that contains a video seemingly from a live recording of the United States Secretary of State, Blinken. In the titles of the video, Putin was called the President of Ukraine. We have spent some time figuring out if it’s real. 

What happened? 

On February 1, propagandist Telegram channel Шейх Тамир (archive) posted the news that in the video of the US State Department’s Antony Blinken’s address in titles mistakenly called Putin the President of Ukraine. 

The news has a video with a logo that resembles the original logo of the US State Department. They also published what seems to be a screenshot from the video, where Putin has the following title, “President of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin.”  

“But in the video, instead of “President of Russia Vladimir Putin” [they wrote] the “President of Ukraine Vladimir Putin.” [Is it] a mistake or is the statedep signaling?” says the post in the channel. 

During the next two days, other Russian and pro-Russian Telegram channels have shared the news. Among them, Сводки ополчения Новороссии Z.O.V (archive), V Рука Кремля Z (archive), Александр Скубченко (archive), and many others.


United States Department of State

The US Department of State (further in the text — State Department) is an executive branch of the American federal government that’s responsible for the country’s foreign affairs. Their responsibilities include: 

  • consulting the President of the USA about foreign affairs matters; 
  • managing diplomatic missions; 
  • running negotiations about international and treaties; 
  • representing the USA in the UN, etc. 

The official resources of the Department are their website; Facebook, X, and Instagram pages; and YouTube and Flickr channels. They publish videos from the State Department’s speeches, addresses, and other events on their social media pages and YouTube. Some videos, they post on their website. 

The Secretary of State is the head of the Department and a main advisor to the US President on matters of foreign affairs. Antony Blinken has been a Secretary of State since 2021. The minister manages the foreign policy of the President through the State Department.

Video analysis

The video that is shared by propagandists’ channels has a widescreen format of 1280×720, which is not typical for the State Department’s Facebook and Instagram. Such format is utilized in videos posted on the State Department’s website, on X, and on their YouTube channel. 

We’ve checked the State Department’s official resources and figured out that none of them have this video posted. 

As of February 1, 2024, the newest video with Antony Blinken posted on the official resources of the State Department is a video from January 31, 2024. It’s a video covering the meeting of the State Secretary and the UN Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator in Gaza, Sigrid Kaag. The video doesn’t have a connection with a video the Telegram channels have spread. 

The video posted in the news has the logo in the upper right corner and an ending animation in the end that resembles the elements the Department utilizes in some of its original videos

We have analyzed original videos the State Department publishes on the official resources. We’ve figured out that the presence of the logo and animation at the end of the video isn’t an obligatory attribute for their videos. The large segment of videos on their resources doesn’t have them. Several variations of these elements (logo and animation) are present in other original videos: similar but not identical.

The State Department also doesn’t use the logo used by propagandists for videos on their website and YouTube channel. It’s mostly used in Department’s original videos shared on their social media. 

The necessary attributes for original videos of the US State Department are direct speech and subtitles that completely resemble what a person says in the video. Apart from that, their videos have a high-quality, clear logo if the logo is used. 

The fakeness of the video is supported by the following characteristics of the video shared by propagandists: 

  • complete lack of direct speech; 
  • the background music; 
  • unclear, half-transparent logo in comparison to the original one; 
  • recurrent disappearance of the logo and change in its quality during the video (without animation);
  • subtitles have a clear background and boundaries of a “highlight,” while, on the subtitles for the original State Department’s videos (on the website, YouTube, X), the edges of the “highlight” are blurry. 

We’ve researched the video story posted on propagandist channels. It contains fragments of animated screenshots from the State Department’s website and fragments from their different videos: 

  • a fragment of a video where a car gets by a building of State Department headquarters in Washington
  • a fragment from the video of Antoni Blinken’s press conference in Tel Aviv that happened on January 9. The press conference was dedicated to the Israeli-Hamas war; it doesn’t mention Ukraine. The original video from the press conference doesn’t have a State Department logo and corresponding subtitles 
  • a fragment from Putin’s press conference from October 13 that concluded his official visit to the Kyrgyz Republic and events of the CIS
  • a fragment from the video of Finland’s accession to NATO in Brussels on April 4, 2023 
  • a fragment from the video of Verkhovna Rada [Ukrainian parliament, — ed.] session Ukraine — NATO from July 12, 2023
  • an animated showcase of screenshots from the “United with Ukraine” page of the US State Department  


  • The US State Department didn’t create or publish the video spread by the propagandists.
  • The video combines illustrative screenshots from the website of the State Department, fragments of Blinken’s and Putin’s press conferences and other official events, and a video that was shot near the State Department’s headquarters.
  • The video was created by adding text with fake text/subtitles on the combined fragments of the different videos, plus graphic elements that are characteristic of those used in the US State Department and background music.

We assume that the goal of creating a video like this was to attract attention to Putin before the Russian elections in March 2024 and create a picture of his supposed popularity in the States. 

Conclusion: Fake 

Author: Anna Ormanzhi