By: Sam Doak
June 27 2023
This is old footage. It shows a private event organised by a company with a history of staging pro-regime videos.
A video circulating on social media showing a crowd of Russians singing along to a patriotic song has gone viral following the Wagner Group’s mutiny over the weekend. Social media users claim that it shows the country remains united despite recent events.
Ian Miles Cheong, a right-wing influencer and commentator, was among many Twitter users to share this footage, writing, “This is Russia a day after the failed mutiny. No Pride flags or drag queens in sight, either.” This post reached a wide audience, garnering over 5,000 retweets and 40,000 likes on the platform.
Numerous other Twitter users have attempted to use this footage to make political points about life in the West, commenting on the appearance of the individuals and remarking that no visibly LGBTQIA+ people are present. In this vein, conservative social media personality Jackson Hinkle commented that the video showed “No unpatriotic youth” and “No trashy clothing.”
Despite many on the platform believing this footage was shot recently, Logically Facts has found that it dates back to February 2023.
The music being performed in this video is “I am Russian,” a song produced by the pro-regime artist Shaman. The crowd does not appear to be composed of the general public, being smartly dressed, separated by gender, and holding identical red pieces of fabric. With this in mind, Logically Facts searched for coverage of private shows performed by Shaman over the last year.
Using search prompts based on this information, Logically Facts found coverage of a performance with images that matched the video in question, published by the Russian outlet E1.RU. The article reads, “This evening, February 21, the popular patriotic singer Shaman performed for the employees of Sima Land. The video from the concert was shared by the company's telegram channel.”
Sima Land is a Russian e-commerce company based in Yekaterinburg. A search of its public Telegram channel confirms that the currently circulating video was initially published by the company alongside other footage of this event.
Coverage published by the Moscow Times on February 9 makes it clear that Sima Land has a track record of staging patriotic, pro-regime videos, stating, “Amid unprecedented protests criticizing Putin and Russia’s ruling elite as well as calling for the release of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, Sima Land has organized massive “flashmobs” where thousands of employees sing patriotic songs and chant pro-Putin slogans.”
This footage was not recorded after the Wagner uprising, as claimed. It was filmed on February 21 at a private event organized by Sima Land. This company has a documented track record of staging pro-regime videos, which is important context for those seeking to draw conclusions regarding sentiment or conditions in the country. This claim has therefore been marked as false.