Skip to Content

The real and the deepfake Volkov. Image via Twitter

Deepfake interview with Navalny’s aid may be ploy to stay relevant

Last week, an image claiming to be Leonid Volkov, a relative of Russian opponent Alexei Navalny, contacted Dutch MPs via an online meeting. 

Published: April 27, 2021, 10:28 am

    Read more

    The Hague

    Navalny’s detention in Russia has not been a hot topic in the mainstream media, especially after it became known that he had described Muslims as “cockroaches”. For that reason the “dissident” has been desperate for attention. The deepfake interview with his aid may have been Navalny’s latest attempt to stay relevant.

    “MPs meet hyper-rigged imitation of the chief of staff of the Russian opponent Navalny’s team,” headlined the Dutch daily De Volkskrant, the first to reveal the information. According to the newspaper, which claims to have obtained confirmation from the lower house of parliament in The Hague, Dutch parliamentarians were faced with a deepfake during an online meeting. A similar incident had occurred with Baltic and British colleagues.

    A group of Estonian MPs and Tom Tugendhat, chair of the UK parliament’s foreign affairs select committee, were recently tricked into believing they were speaking to Volkov while he was visiting Lithuania. “The Standing Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs thought it was meeting with Volkov, who was based in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius because of the political situation…”

    A deepfake is a fake video in which the face of one person is replaced by that of another person. “After having started normally, the conversation became very bizarre, said the Dutch parliamentarians duped during a video conference with Russia,” continued De Volkskrant.

    The real aid to Navalny quickly blamed the Kremlin. Volkov told Dutch public broadcaster NOS that a group of MPs took part in a Zoom conference with a man whom they believed to be Leonid Volkov, the chief of staff for the jailed Russian opposition leader, last week.

    In fact they were talking to an impersonator using image manipulation passing off as Volkov. Some Dutch media reported that the MPs had been humoured by Russian “pranksters” but the real Volkov maintained that the technique was a deliberate ploy by President Vladimir Putin to “discredit European politicians”. But those responsible for the hoax, could at least count on the participants not carrying out the most basic checks such as contacting Volkov on social media or looking up his email address online.

    “We call them pranksters, but we’re talking about well-paid employees of the Russian government,” the actual Volkov raged during his interview with NOS. The interview had to be monitored by a deepfake expert to verify that the person NOS was speaking to was in fact the real Volkov.

    Even though he had no proof for his claims, Volkov warned European politicians that the Kremlin was abusing their trust: “Zoom has been a lifeline during the pandemic, but the Kremlin is using it as a weapon.”

    There are however a number of easy techniques to help unmask a deepfake, such as asking an interviewee to touch and pull at their face or turn round to show the back of their head.

    Consider donating to support our work

    Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.

    Keep ​your language polite​. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in​,​ for example​, ​Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.

    If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violation​s​ of​ any​ law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.

    If your comments are subject to preview ​by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.

    We reserve the right to del​ete​ comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.


    Recipients of placebo jabs to have same privileges as the fully vaxxed, UK minister says

    LondonThe British Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi stretched the incredulity of his subjects once again by announcing that people who have received placebo jabs would be regarded as "fully vaccinated". According to Zahawi, fake shots would be considered proof of vaccination status.

    Second French hospital calls unlimited strike against forced vax

    LyonThe SUD Santé Social union of the Édouard-Herriot hospital in Lyon filed a strike notice in order to oppose the compulsory vaccination of caregivers and the exclusion of unvaccinated patients. It will begin on July 29, for an unlimited period.

    Spain’s new National Security Law ‘tailor-made for government to act without democratic control’

    MadridSpanish legal experts consider it a scandal that the Sánchez government "does not want to submit to parliamentary control" with the new National Security Law.

    How safe are jabs if vaccinated still get infected and transmit Covid-19?

    The aggressive promotion of Covid vaccine passports and draconian vaccine mandates by globalists are not going as smoothly as they had hoped. Vaccinated people can still get infected and transmit disease, so this clearly eliminates the argument that the unvaccinated bring harm to others. And how safe are the jabs?

    German double standards: No ban, no masks, no distance at Berlin’s gay parade

    BerlinGerman critics of the Corona measures are now almost routinely denied the basic right to gather peacefully in the open air. Anyone who wants to hold a counter-demonstration against such rallies can also expect it to be approved.

    The herd immunity through vaccination experiment has failed

    The single most important objective of mass vaccination with Covid-19 vaccines was to achieve herd immunity. This is no longer within reach. Now "experts" not only blame disappointing vaccine coverage rates but also the unvaccinated.

    Inquisition, cyberstalking and cancel culture in journalism during a pandemic

    MarseilleAnd the mainstream media has been hooked on "fact-checking" which acts as a fig leaf for the current crisis in journalism.

    Incompetence or malice: Navalny case uncovers European bureaucratic inconsistencies

    MoscowA year ago, the topic of the alleged “poisoning” of the Russian oppositional blogger and political activist Alexei Navalny was one of the most discussed in the West. Almost everyone commented: politicians were denouncing the next “crimes” of the Kremlin, while journalists and human rights activists called the incident with Navalny a political reprisal if not a political murder sanctioned personally by Putin.

    German district deliberately switched off flood warning sirens

    The flood disaster in Germany is being blamed by the mainstream on the "climate". But human lives were deliberately endangered and sacrificed for that end, it appears.

    Vaccines may be introducing graphene-based ‘neuromodulation’ technology

    AlmeríaSpanish scientists have become aware of graphene oxide being used in Covid vaccines, but their claims have been dismissed by "fact-checkers" as nonsense. However, graphene-based “neuromodulation” technology showing “biocircuits” based on graphene oxide are, in fact, already available.

    Go to archive