Ukrainian Almanac of Russian Fake Covers

Tetiana Fram - 14 July 2023 | 13:42

Our fact-checking team has recently encountered numerous fake covers of foreign publications, allegedly covering the Ukrainian counteroffensive and/or dedicated to Volodymyr Zelenskyy. So we have formed an almanac of Russian fake covers.

Fake cover of the Courrier International publication entitled “Ukrainian Counteroffensive on the Styx”

We received a request to check whether the cover of the May issue of the French edition of Courrier International shows the military of the Ukrainian Armed Forces sailing the river Styx. 

According to ancient Greek mythology, Styx is a river in the “realm of the dead.”

“The counteroffensive promised by Volodymyr Zelenskyy is under threat… How the loss of Bakhmut will affect the course of the conflict,” reads the magazine cover.

We found out that such a cover does not actually exist. Among the covers of Courrier International, not a single one looks like this. 

Moreover, the fake-makers made mistakes: they “created” an issue of Courrier international under a number that did not even exist then and used the same barcode that Russian propagandists had already used in the fake April cover.

Fake cover of the Spanish magazine El Jueves, mocking the Ukrainian counteroffensive

Russian Telegram channels shared this image with the caption that the Spanish satirical magazine El Jueves was allegedly mocking the Ukrainian counteroffensive.

On the alleged May cover of the magazine, worms are depicted eating the remains of the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers and asking, “What counteroffensive? We still have plenty to eat here!”

Such a cover does not exist. In the photo in pro-Russian publications, the magazine’s serial number is #2,388. However, the magazine’s last issue was published in May under #2,387, and #2,388 had yet to be published when the fake cover was spread.

Fake cover of Eulenspiegel with the post “Ukraine continues to collect money for its suicide”

The cover of the June copy of the German magazine Eulenspiegel was spread among propaganda media outlets. It depicts a child underwater, looking at a hand with banknotes. The Ukrainian flag is depicted on the sleeve of the man holding the money. A comment was added to the cover,

“Ukraine continues to collect money for its suicide from everywhere.”

This time the number on the bar code of the original magazine matches the data on the fake cover. However, we did not find a similar cover on the Eulenspiegel website. The magazine’s sixth – last – issue features a caricature of the German politician Robert Habeck.

Fake cover of Eulenspiegel magazine, which mocks the Ukrainian counteroffensive

Our Perevirka bot received several requests to verify the cover of the famous German satirical magazine Eulenspiegel. On it, the phrase “Der gegen an griff,” which means “counteroffensive,” is laid out by the body parts of the soldiers with the Ukrainian flag and javelins.

Here we see another fake. We found that there is no such cover on the Eulenspiegel website. The media outlet published the last issue in June, and it was the sixth issue with a caricature of the German politician Robert Habeck. We analyzed that cover above.

Note that this time the propagandists tried better. The number on the barcode of the original image matches the data on the fake cover. However, the fake cover is listed as the seventh, that is, the July copy of the publication, which had yet to be published at the time of the spread of the fake cover.

Fake cover of the American magazine Humor Time makes fun of Volodymyr Zelenskyy

Propagandist Telegram channels “Olesia Loseva” and “BelVestnik” distributed the cover of the satirical magazine Humor Time, on which the car from the Back to the Future movie runs over Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The picture caption is Emmett Brown’s words, “There is one little thing left to finish on the way to the future.”

It is actually a fake. On the official website of the Humor Time publication, we found the original cover of the magazine under the number #375, which dates back to July 2023.

However, the actual cover, like the July magazine issue, is dedicated to American politics and does not concern Ukraine. It depicts Republican Michael Pence. The author ridicules his attitude towards the former US president, “Trump should never be president again, but I’ll support him if he’s the nominee”…

Fake cover of Titanic magazine, which mocks the Ukrainian counteroffensive and Volodymyr Zelenskyy

In mid-June, an allegedly new cover of the German satirical magazine Titanic was distributed online. The caricature depicts Volodymyr Zelenskyy in pants with a tank against the background of broken equipment and with the caption “Successful counteroffensive in your pants.”

Here we see another fake cover.

The last issue on the Titanic publication website in June 2023 had a completely different title, “FRONTEX decides on a 4-day week,” and, of course, a completely different look.

Charlie Hebdo’s fake cover dedicated to Zelenskyy’s attempts to attract funds from the Titan victims

From June 24, the Perevirka bot started receiving requests to check the allegedly new cover of the magazine of the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo, which depicts Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who came to the bank and, hiding behind the deceased from the Titan bathyscaphe, demands to transfer all funds to Ukraine.

Here we have another fake. We did not find an issue of the magazine with this cover on the Charlie Hebdo website. Issue number 1614 was released on Wednesday, June 28. Instead, a fake cover under this number was released on June 23, a few days before the release of the actual copy.

Fake cover of Handelsblatt with a broken Ukrainian tank

Pro-Russian Telegram channels, such as “BelVestnik,” “,” and “Kovpak Squad,” placed in their news feeds a publication with the alleged new cover of the German newspaper Handelsblatt. It shows a crashed tank with the caption, “This isn’t a counterattack, but a bloody crash test.”

And this cover is fake. We did not find an issue with this cover on the website of the Handelsblatt German business publication.

The cover spread by the fake-makers is said to have been published during the weekend of June 23-25, 2023, and is numbered 119. However, the Handelsblatt edition on those dates had a different cover and headline under that number.

Also readManipulation. Australians Congratulated Russians on Bakhmut Liberation

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