Is this blonde woman with Putin a ‘paid extra’ for photo-ops? Nope

© Observers

Social media users have noted that the same blonde woman has appeared behind Russian President Vladimir Putin on three different occasions – proof, they say, that he used “paid extras” during his address marking the start of 2023. However, it turns out that these images do featuredifferent women. One is a soldier who was given a prize by Putin on December 31, 2022 while the two other images show a regional deputy (local politician) from Novgorod, and a supporter of the Russian president. This politician has been previously accused of being an extra.

If you only have a minute:

  • Some social media users are claiming that Vladimir Putin uses the same people to pose in different roles during photo-ops, and specifically during his speech marking the start of 2023. They’ve honed in on a blonde woman who they say has appeared behind him during three of his recent public appearances.

  • Two of these photos do indeed show the same woman, but she isn’t an extra. She is a regional deputy named Larisa Sergukhina, a Putin supporter. She did attend events with Putin in her home region of Novgorod.

  • However, the third photo shows a completely different person, a soldier named Anna Sidorenko, who was given a medal by Putin on December 31, 2022.

The fact check: In detail

"A soldier, a sailor, a devout Christian", says this tweet shared more than 8,700 times, claiming the same woman appeared in the background during three separate events hosted by President Vladimir Putin.

There is no definitive proof in either of these cases that the events were staged photo ops.

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