In Response to Macron’s Support to Ukraine, Pro-Kremlin Actors Spread Disinformation and Mocking Photos About the French President

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Following the statement made by Emmanuel Macron that if necessary, he would not rule out sending troops to Ukraine, the Russian propaganda media began actively discrediting the French President. Manipulative texts, fabricated covers, mimes, posts emphasizing the age difference between him and his wife, as well as a conspiracy theory about Brigitte Macron’s alleged sex change – were topics and methods instrumentalized by pro-Kremlin actors. Some actors even claimed that after Macron’s statement, potential visitors to the 2024 Paris Olympics canceled their reservations and tickets.

What did Macron say about the Russia-Ukraine war?

In an interview with the French media on March 14, 2024, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke about the war in Ukraine and said “If the situation should deteriorate, we would be ready to make sure that Russia never wins that war.” The president also noted that “Today, deciding to abstain or vote against support to Ukraine, it’s not choosing peace, it’s choosing defeat” and in case of Russia’s victory, Europe’s credibility will be reduced to zero, and the continent’s security will face serious problems. Notably, Macron did not rule out the possibility of deploying the French army on the territory of Ukraine.

Macron’s words were spread in social networks with different interpretations, while political experts from the Kremlin called this statement of Macron, in fact, a declaration of war. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called this move by Macron an attempt to gain approval from the US.

Disinformation: After Macron’s statement, potential visitors to the 2024 Paris Olympics canceled their reservations

Russian-language Telegram channels (1, 2, 3) on behalf of AFP, have been disseminating statistics according to which, as a result of Macron’s statements on March 5, 7, and 14, potential visitors to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games are canceling tickets and reservations, due to the fears of potential terrorist attacks and other negative events during the Olympics.

It should be noted that AFP has not prepared an article on this topic. And the widespread visuals are fabricated.

French President

Fabricated covers of French magazines against Macron

In addition to the falsified visuals on behalf of AFP, pro-Kremlin channels responded to Macron’s statement with an already established and tested propaganda method – falsification of covers of Western publications. A photo of the cover of the French magazine ‘Hemicycle’ was published, which shows Macon as a naked rooster. Some of the propaganda channels claim that this cover was also discussed at France 24. L’Hemicycle has not published a cover with similar visuals in either current or archival issues. In addition, the story in which it appears that the cover is being discussed on France 24 is a video fabrication and the screenshot was added by software. In the authentic video, the actual issue of L’Hemicycle is discussed.

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Fabricated version Authentic version

In addition to L’Hemicycle, a photo of the cover of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with the following inscription was also circulated: “Macron will be followed in Ukraine only by those who have a good life thanks to him, namely flies.”

A similar caricature cannot be found on the “Charlie Hebdo” website and social media platforms (1, 2, 3).

 

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Memes to show the physical weakness of Macron

Memes created to mock Macron were also disseminated on social networks. Some of the memes emphasized Macron’s physical weakness, while others had a homophobic context. One of the photos was generated by AI, in which Macron is wearing pink pajamas. The photo, along with AI-generated visuals of other politicians, has been shared as a joke in the past, but pro-Kremlin actors have used it to discredit Macron. In another photo, Macron poses in a pink outfit in front of a pink tank with a sports cheer squad. Russian-language Facebook accounts spread many more similar memes to discredit the French president (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 ).

A fake scene from the Simpsons in which Emmanuel Macron’s name is engraved on a tombstone was also disseminated by pro-Kremlin actors.

 

 

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Conspiracy theory about Brigitte Macron’s gender

The claim that Emmanuel Macron’s wife, Brigitte Macron, is actually a man and has undergone sex change, is an old conspiracy theory that resurfaced on social media and Russian media in March of this year.

Publications Аргументы и Факты and московский комсомолец, based on journalist Candice Owens, claimed that there is already evidence that Brigitte Macron was a man before sex change and was called John Michael (Jean Michel). According to conspiracy theorists, Jean-Michel Tronier, Brigitte’s brother who disappeared or died in 1961, is actually Brigitte.

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The same claims have been voiced by Georgian Facebook accounts as well, which rely on the French publication FRANCE QUOTIDIEN.

To highlight Brigitte Macron’s changed gender identity, several videos were also circulated, including footage with an altered audio of Brigitte Macron speaking in a man’s voice. In another video, where King Charles III shakes hands with Brigitte Macron, it is indicated that when meeting with heads of state, the king usually kisses the first lady’s hand.

It should be noted that the claim about Brigitte Macron’s gender change has been going on for years. The BBC writes that the reports were actively circulated in September 2021 and shared by opponents of Macron, far-right groups, anti-vaxxers, and followers of the QAnon conspiracy. On December 10 of the same year, two journalists published a video on the YouTube channel in which they accused Brigitte Macron of changing her gender.

A 2023 Politico article mentions that Brigitte Macron and her brother sued these journalists for defamation, and the court fined both journalists 2,000 EUR.

On March 8 of this year, Emmanuel Macron responded to the reports about the alleged sex change of the first lady of France. The French president called the claim “false information and a staged scenario”.


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Country: France
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