Fact Check: Putin Did NOT Execute 'Defiant 5G Executives'

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Putin Did NOT Execute 'Defiant 5G Executives' Made-Up Story

Did Russian President Vladimir Putin order the executions of "defiant 5G executives"? No, that's not true: The claim, published by a website with a long history of spreading false statements, was not corroborated by credible sources in English or Russian.

The claim originated from an article (archived here) published by Real Raw News on August 14, 2023. It was titled:

Putin Executes Defiant 5G Executives

The article opened:

On Vladimir Putin's orders, Russian Armed Forces on Friday executed a roomful of Telecom executives who eschewed Putin's 5G moratorium and began raising a new 5G tower in Moscow's opulent Ramenki District, an elite neighborhood with the corresponding price tag for real estate.

Here is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-08-15 at 4.31.31 PM.png

(Source: Real Raw News screenshot taken on Tue Aug 15 20:31:31 2023 UTC)

However, the "moratorium" on 5G whose evasion purportedly triggered such a brutal act did not exist as of August 2023. As Lead Stories previously wrote, the Russian government continues to invest in the proliferation of this technology.

A search for the Russian-language phrase "Putin executed 5G leaders" did not produce any results on Google News. A search for the same terms on Yandex, which is a Russian-language search engine, only showed duplicates of the claim.

A Google search across the websites of Meduza and Novaya Gazeta -- both are independent Russian-language media outlets operating from abroad -- did not present any evidence that credible media organizations with region-specific expertise ever reported such "news."

The Real Raw News article cited a person introduced as "FSB agent Andrei Zakharov."

The FSB stands for the Russian name of the Federal Security Service ("Федеральная служба безопасности"). That agency is not known for being transparent or allowing its agents to talk to the press freely without consequences.

The same source -- occasionally being introduced as an employee of the nonexistent "Federal Service Bureau" -- was cited in other Real Raw News false claims previously debunked by Lead Stories.

Real Raw News is a website that consistently publishes made-up stories about U.S. politics, mimicking the style of newspaper articles.

The website describes its content as "humor, parody and satire" on the "about" page (archived here):


Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel.

NewsGuard, a tool that provides credibility ratings for websites, published a five-page PDF report (archived here) in 2021 describing realrawnews.com as, "An anonymously run website that has published baseless and debunked conspiracies about COVID-19 and U.S. politics." It cautioned that the website severely violates basic journalistic standards."

Lead Stories has extensively covered claims published by Real Raw News in the past; those are here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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