Russian Media Disseminates a Fabricated Appeal in the Name of Navalny’s Mother

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Russian Media

On February 22-23, Russian media outlets (1,2,3), including EurAsia Daily and Komsomolskaya Pravda radio, published an audio recording in which, according to the media, Lyudmila Navalnaya, the mother of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, told Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya that she accuses her of transferring Navalny’s property to her own name, causing a rift between her children, forcing her husband to return to Russia, “appropriating” Navalny’s vote and trading with his death.

The audio recording was actively disseminated on Russian social networks Vkontakte (1,2,3,4,5) and Odnoklassniki (1,2,3,4,5). The recording was also published on YouTube (1,2).

The article by the Russian media outlet on the same topic was shared in the Georgian-language Facebook group “Protest“.

Russian Media

Russian Media

The disseminated audio recording shows signs that it has been generated by AI. Regarding the recording, one of the members of Navalny’s team noted that the Kremlin will try to spread similar fakes in the future as well.

The distributed audio recording was allegedly generated by artificial intelligence. The recording is flawed and has an unnatural, mechanical sound. It should be noted that two official video addresses of Lyudmila Navalnaya were published before the release of this recording (1,2); Compared to these recordings, the artificiality of the distributed audio-recording is even more noticeable. Given that many video and audio examples of Lyudmila Navalnaya’s speech are not available in free sources, it is possible that these two official video references were used to generate the fake recording.

After the video was released, it was verified by Provereno, a Russian-language fact-checking service based in Estonia. The publication studied the distribution of the audio recording and traced the earliest recording to the Telegram channel Сигнал. The audio recording on this channel was published on February 22 at 08:29 Moscow time. According to the post, the recording was leaked to the media, although specific sources were not named. Provereno notes that this channel has spread false information and disinformation in the past, especially regarding the ongoing war in Ukraine. According to journalistic investigations by Мeduza, Important Stories, and The Bell, Сигнал is run by blogger Ekaterina Arganovich (Катруся), who is one of the representatives of the network of channels of the media manager and Kremlin propagandist Kristina Potupchik.

Provereno also verified the content with AI-generated content verification tool Aiornot, which found the post to be likely AI-generated. “Myth Detector” also checked the record with this tool and got the same result.

Russian Media
For verification on Aiornot, a recording from one of the videos distributed on YouTube was used.

It is also worth noting that one of the members of Alexei Navalny’s team, Ivan Zhdanov, director of the Anti-Corruption Foundation, while talking about the information campaign of the Kremlin, noted that the recording was created using artificial intelligence.

Zhdanov: “Yesterday, some filth created by neuronet (artificial intelligence) was spread on the Internet – the appeal of Navalny’s mother to Yulia Navalnaya. I think that fakes will be created and distributed on Telegram channels with such dirty methods.

Russian oppositionist Alexei Navalny died in prison on February 16. After returning to Russia from Germany in 2021, he was arrested directly at the airport. He was undergoing treatment in Germany after the Russian special services poisoned him with the nerve agent “Novichok”. The Russian court repeatedly aggravated Navalny’s sentence, in addition, the Ministry of Probation changed the prison several times. Since 2023, Navalny has been serving his sentence in the special regime colony “Полярный волк”, which is located on the Yamal Peninsula, in the north of Western Siberia. On February 14, Navalny was transferred for at least the 27th time to the penal isolation cell of the colony, where he had to stay in conditions dangerous to his health and life. After Navalny’s death, several false claims about him were disseminated, see the articles of “Myth Detector” for more information:

Archive links: EurAsia Daily, Блокнот, Zov Запорожьие, Радио Комсомолская Правда

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Topic: Politics
Violation: Disinformation
Country: Russia

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