On November 24-26, 2023, Russian-language Facebook accounts (1,2,3,4) have been disseminating an alleged story by “Euronews”, according to which 26-year-old Valery Tarashchuk, a Ukrainian citizen working at a Paris museum, was arrested after he was caught on camera damaging the sculpture “Journey of Self Discovery” while simulating a sexual act. According to the video, Taraschuk was arrested by the French police, while the author of the sculpture, Anna Udenberg, is demanding compensation.
The disseminated video is fabricated and it does not belong to Euronews. The person depicted in the video is not Ukrainian Valery Tarashchuk, but Azerbaijani Matlab Sultanov, who was arrested in Russia in 2021.
The sculpture depicted in the video indeed belongs to the Swedish artist Anna Udenberg. The sculpture was created in 2016 and has been displayed at a number of exhibitions (1,2). According to the description of Färgfabriken exhibition space, these and other works by Udenberg deal with themes such as commercialism, feminism, and identity. Taking a selfie with this particular sculpture, one of the most common motifs on social media, is a common tool for creating a self-image.
In fact, the video shows old photos of the sculpture, and none of them show any signs of damage. The part of the video showing the arrested Valery Tarashchuk was filmed in 2021 and shows not Ukrainian, but Azerbaijani Matlab Sultanov, who was arrested by the Russian police for the murder of the “thief in law” Albert Heydarov.
|A shot from the video disseminated on Facebook
|A shot from the story of Russian “24 ТВ”
|A shot from the story of Russian “Москва 24”
Information about the damage to the sculpture cannot be found on the Euronews website, its official social media pages, or other media.
When searching for the video in open sources, the video is mainly distributed by Russian-speaking social media users (Facebook, Telegram, Twitter, Вконтакте). The earliest date of the video is found on the Telegram channel Арбалет Говорит, owned by Ivan Kondakov. He refers to himself as an analyst and a satirist.
When searching for the story in English, Google shows two websites that talk about the damage to the sculpture by a Ukrainian refugee. One of them is a porn site, and the fake story created in the name of Euronews is no longer available on the site.
This is not the first case of spreading disinformation in the name of “Euronews”. In addition to Euronews, USA Today and The Times of Israel logos have been used in fake videos to discredit Ukrainians or the West in the past. “Myth Detector” wrote about similar video fabrications in the past as well:
- VIDEOFABRICATION ABOUT VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY’S BODYGUARD DISSEMINATED IN THE NAME OF USA TODAY
- FABRICATED STORY IN THE NAME OF ‘EURONEWS’ ABOUT THE SALE AND DESTRUCTION OF RUSSIAN ARTWORK
About the Sources
Russian-language Facebook accounts Виталий Виталий and Valery Eryomensky regularly publish anti-Ukrainian and anti-Western content, including fake photos and videos.
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