Olena Zelenska or Millionaire Richard Heart – Who is actually Depicted on the Fabricated Photo?

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Reading Time: 2 minutes


On December 27th, 2022, a Georgian-language Facebook user published a post about Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska with the headline: “Paid for by donors.” According to the description, the photo shows the first lady of Ukraine with expensive clothes and accessories. The description also claims that Germans make fun of Zelenska because she spends the money received from donors on buying expensive things amid the ongoing war in the country.

The disseminated photo is altered using computer software. In fact, instead of the First Lady of Ukraine, Olena Zelenska, the photo depicts the American businessman Richard Hart. The narrative that representatives of the Ukrainian government and their family members are getting rich at the expense of donors has been purposely disseminated recently to incite anti-Ukrainian sentiments among the population in the West.

The earliest version of the original photo was posted on the official Instagram account by American businessman Richard Heart on April 16th, 2022, with the following description “Waiting for PulseChain.”

PulseChain is a new blockchain-based cryptocurrency. In 2019, Richard Heart created a new type of cryptocurrency, HEX. According to various sources, Heart’s fortune is USD 500 million. According to his Twitter account, Heart owns USD 10 million worth of watches, including the most expensive Rolex and USD 3 million worth of cars.

  • Dissemination of the altered photo

The software-altered photo of Olena Zelenska was widely distributed on social networks. Foreign language accounts have shared the photo in different countries. The photo was also verified by the German publication DPA, the American Reuters and the Australian AAP Fact-Check.

Notably, the cases of foreign-language Facebook accounts publishing fake information about the properties owned by members of the Ukrainian government and their families have become rather frequent. These claims aim to emphasize that these people are getting rich on the background of the war and Western financial aid, which aims to inflame anti-Ukrainian sentiments among the population in the West.

Disinformation regarding the net worth of high-ranking Ukrainian officials and their family members has been fact-checked by “Myth Detector” in the past as well. For more, see our articles:

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Country: Ukraine

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