By: Sam Doak
September 7 2023
Logically Facts has determined that the individual shown is not Rustem Umerov.
On September 6, 2023, Ukraine’s parliament approved the appointment of Rustem Umerov to replace Oleksii Reznikov as the country’s Defence Minister. Umerov, a Crimean Tatar, previously worked on a task force seeking to explore ways to end the Russian occupation of Crimea and acted as head of Ukraine’s State Property Fund.
The announcement of Umerov’s new post has sparked a number of unsubstantiated accusations and rumors from large pro-Kremlin social media accounts. Among the most dramatic of these is that the new minister recorded himself in sexually compromising positions. To substantiate this, social media users have shared a handful of videos showing a man who resembles Umerov engaged in such activities.
One large pro-Kremlin Telegram channel, with over 415,000 subscribers, captioned these images “and here is a leak on the new Minister of Defense of Ukraine Rustin Umerov))) Everything is European))) These videos are 8 years old, they are waiting for their day))” Over 16,000 users responded to this post with a variety of emojis.
Despite many seeming to believe that these images show Rustem Umerov, Logically Facts has determined that this is not the case.
To determine whether Rustem Umerov is the individual in these images, Logically Facts used the free function of a publicly available facial recognition search to find potential matches. None of the results related to Umerov, and all appeared to show the same person, whom we have chosen not to identify for privacy considerations. Using a Yandex reverse image search, Logically Facts found several public profiles linked to this individual on the Russian social media site Odnoklassniki.
On one of these profiles, the individual identified by Logically Facts posted two images of himself on a white bench with curved edges in front of an opaque glass window. These details match the location shown in two of the videos and photos currently being shared on Telegram. In all four pieces of media, the individual shown resembles the person identified by Logically Facts more closely than Rustem Umerov.
Using a publicly available facial recognition tool, Logically Facts was able to identify an individual that more closely resembles the person in these videos and photographs who previously posted photographs in the same location shown. It can be determined that this is the individual in the viral photographs, not Rustem Umerov. This claim has, therefore, been marked as false.