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HomeNews'Edited in' Russians question mysterious appearance of Putin's 'missing' defence minister

'Edited in' Russians question mysterious appearance of Putin's 'missing' defence minister

Russia’s Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu mysteriously went missing from public view in the last two weeks, raising speculation that President Vladimir Putin had punished him over the failed Ukraine invasion. Mr Shoigu, who became the face of President Putin’s botched war effort, was last seen in public on 11th March. However, on Thursday, the defence minister made a brief but bizarre appearance on Russian state TV which sparked a frenzy of conspiracy theories.

The Kremlin RIA media pool published a video on Thursday which showed Mr Shoigu allegedly appearing at a meeting of the Russian Security Council led by President Putin.

However, Russian viewers and journalists quickly noticed that Mr Shoigu’s appearance, which only lasted a few seconds and without any sound, matched his last sighting on 11th March.

The Moscow Times were the first to compare the recent video to the 11th March meeting, posting on Telegram: “If you compare the video to the March 11 meeting, you will notice that that the minister has the same background.

“He is dressed the same. Shoigu’s red tie moved in the same direction. Coincidence, conspiracy theories? Judge for yourself…”

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Alexandra Dubrovskaya, writing on Russia’s independent news outlet Media Zone, followed this up with an in-depth analysis of the defence minister’s apparent 13-day absence.

She wrote: “Of the entire meeting of the Security Council, Rossiya 24 aired precisely those shots that show problems with Shoigu’s camera.

“The nature of this interference can be called strange: at first glance, it seems that Shoigu has some problems with the broadcast.

“But when viewed frame-by-frame in high resolution, it looks more like the operator quickly moves the camera to the minister.

“The most likely version is that such an effect was simply added in post-production.

“This was done in order to draw the attention of the audience to this very corner so that everyone would definitely notice that Shoigu was present at the meeting.”

The hacking group Anonymous Operations tweeted: “Attentive anons, noticed that there was something wrong with Shoigu in the edited video of RosMedia, in the beginning, the camera seemed to be pointed at the monitor, not at the person.”

Eastern European media account Nexta also tweeted: “After long rumors that Putin decided to remove Shoigu forever, they decided to show him on TV as participant of the government meeting. However, viewers noticed oddities during the broadcast. Pay attention to the top left corner.”

Prior to the appearance, Dmitri Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, rejected claims that Mr Shoigu was ill.

He explained: “The defence minister has a lot to deal with right now, as you can understand.

“A special military operation is ongoing. Certainly, now isn’t exactly the right time for media activities. This is quite understandable.”

President Putin has reportedly already placed two commanders from the Russian secret service the FSB under house arrest, according to Business Insider.

Andrei Soldatov, an investigative journalist and expert on Russian security services, told the publication that Sergei Beseda and his deputy had been detained in the past week following the botched invasion plan. 



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