No evidence 'Putin’s letter to the world' is authored by Putin

By: Nikolaj Kristensen
January 10 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
No evidence 'Putin’s letter to the world' is authored by Putin

(Source: Facebook/X/Screenshots)


The Verdict Misleading

The letter has not been mentioned by any credible news outlets, nor on the Kremlin website.

Claim ID b4f93179

What is the claim?

In recent weeks, several users on Facebook have shared a post titled “Vladimir Putin’s letter to the world.” 

In the letter, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to address Russia’s war with Ukraine and ask the citizens of Western countries to aid Russia in its fight against “Ukrainian Nazism” which is “fueled by your US taxes and NATO hawks.”

In multiple instances the post includes a video of Putin saying Western elites aren’t concerned with improving the lives of their citizens and that they are driving up inflation, causing a rise in global poverty and inequality. 

The letter has circulated in English on Facebook since at least October last year. The recent proliferation of the letter appears to have been caused by an X post on December 25, 2023, that has been viewed 3.8 million times. 

But though the letter is attributed to Putin, there is no evidence that he is the author. 

What did we find? 

Searching keywords and passages from the letter, we could not find any mention on any credible news outlet, nor on the Kremlin website where addresses made by Putin are usually published.

In the previously mentioned X post, there’s a direct link to the video that appears in several of the posts with the letter. The video was uploaded to TikTok on December 8, 2023.

Through a reverse image search of the video’s keyframes we found that the footage of Putin originates from a video conference meeting held on March 16, 2022. The subtitles accurately relay Putin’s words. However, there is no part of the alleged letter that matches what Putin said during the meeting. 

The wording of the letter as it is shared now differs slightly from the version that circulated back in October. This could suggest that the letter has been translated from some other language. We translated the letter into Russian using a translation tool and searched for parts of it on Google and Russian search engine Yandex. 

Some words and phrases of the letter differs from the version that circulated in October, suggesting it might have been translated from another language. (Source: Facebook/X/Screenshots)

The letter seems to have been circulating in Russian as far back as the spring of 2022. It is unclear who originally authored the letter. The earliest example we found was a post on Russian social media platform OK from April 10, 2022. We also found Blogspot and Telegram posts with the letter, while an audio version of it was shared on YouTube, OK, and VK around the same time. But no links or references to any original source were given. 

An article published by Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda on March 16, 2022, reporting on the video conference held by Putin on the same day. The article’s headline reads “Vladimir Putin voiced a message to the world at a meeting with regional heads and the world heard it,” which bears at least some resemblance to the “Vladimir Putin’s Letter to the world” title of the viral posts. 

Though no part of the letter appears in the article, the article does revolve around how Putin addressed the West in the conference meeting, which seems to have acted as a springboard for the letter and explains why the letter is now being shared with a video from that exact conference. 

The verdict

There’s no evidence that the letter was authored by Putin. It has not been mentioned by any credible news outlets, nor on the Kremlin website where the Russian president’s addresses and speeches are usually published. The letter has been circulating in Russian since at least April 2022, but with no reference to the original source. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.  

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before