A video dedicated to Gazprom has been widely shared on social networks, amid a crisis surrounding Russian gas deliveries to the West. The threatening message of this order seems to promise a frozen winter in Europe if the West continues to oppose Russia. However, the origin and purpose of this assembly are actually different.
This Monday, September 5, social networks were invaded by a video showing a Gazprom employee closing a gas valve, preventing the West from heating and causing a terrible cold. Behind this montage, a song whose lyrics evoke “a long cruel winter” coming for Europe. Many media, in France, but also in Ukraine or England, saw this as a direct threat from the gas company to Western countries, a few days after the suspension of gas deliveries to Russia.
\ud83c\uddf7\ud83c\uddfa GAZPROM the TROLL \ud83d\ude0e
\u27a1\ufe0f “And the winter will be great…”
Gazprom gave us an epic troll of EU countries. ??? pic.twitter.com/1G2YlLBGrR
— Jaime Horta \ud83d\ude0e\ud83c\uddf5\ud83c\uddf9\u269b\ud83c\udde8\ud83c\uddf5\u262f\ufe0f\ud83c\udde7\ud83c\uddf7 (@JaimeHorta1) September 6, 2022
But was this video really posted on the social networks of the Russian company? Many elements seem to question the authenticity of this polished game, even in appearance. In fact, upon closer inspection, we first noticed that the “TheB1m” logo sometimes appears in some images. This is the name of a British company that specializes in shooting buildings and infrastructure around the world. Many videos with this logo are readily available online. Some video sequences that were supposed to be posted by Gazprom will play this logo without stopping, an unprofessional practice that caused some Internet users to quickly question the origin of the video.
— junia⬜️?⬜️?? (@serenahrm) September 7, 2022
Another more surprising detail, among the images that should show Europe under the freezing cold, we recognize the images of Krasnoyarsk, a city in Siberia, especially thanks to a bridge well known to the Russians. However, in reality, this city in the far east of Russia is not itself supplied by the gas network. A mistake that a company like Gazprom cannot make.
In addition, the company name or its logo does not appear as an overlay on these images. Finally, the Russian company has not, at this time, made any official comment about such communication, or at least not in a way that is accessible to us, the Gazprom website is still blocked from France.
To be precise – the clip was not actually “released by Gazprom”, it was made by a journalist from a TV channel of the RU government and sponsored by the vice governor of Krasnoyarsk – a real gas-free city there is no reason depicted in the video. https://t.co/xW5QJ5o5bY
—Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) September 7, 2022
Quickly, many observers, including the Bulgarian journalist Christo Grozev, famous for his many investigations in Russia, supported these doubts by going to the way this video was relayed on social networks. One of the first broadcasters of this on the Telegram network was Sergey Ponomarenko, the deputy governor of … Krasnoyarsk.
The Russian newspaper Fontanka finally claimed to have discovered the pot of roses. This Saint-Petersburg-based media, recognized for its freedom in several foreign prizes and supported by the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NGO for the protection of human rights), explains that, behind the video falsely attributed of Gazprom, is actually one Artur Khodyrev, a journalist also based in Saint-Petersburg. He posted it on the Russian social network VK. This clip also strongly resembles another video he posted on the same social network in April.
According to Khodyrev, who claims to have edited the famous sequence with a colleague, it was “a personal initiative” with a “useless” goal that “he did not receive even what money”: “It’s just that the situation around Gazprom, Nord Stream and Europe seems so unreasonable and contrary to common sense that it is impossible not to laugh about it” he declared to Fontanka, “happy” that the clip has such popularity on the Internet.
His goal is to “uplift the spirit of many people by working with a unique kind of irony”. Regarding the Krasnoyarsk bridge, he claims to “not know it” but is happy that this video highlights “the topic of gasification of [cette] regions [de Sibérie]”.