Fact Check: Putin Did NOT Discuss Black Jesus In Major Speech -- Both Sound And Contents Of The Address Were AI-Generated

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: Putin Did NOT Discuss Black Jesus In Major Speech -- Both Sound And Contents Of The Address Were AI-Generated Deepfake

Did Vladimir Putin proclaim that Russia will embrace "the guidance of Black Jesus"? No, that's not true: A video claiming to be an authentic fragment of a Sky News live broadcast of an address by Putin was digitally doctored. The original sound was replaced by an AI-generated voice reading an AI-generated text.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok where it was published on March 24, 2024, under the title:






The caption said:

#blackjesus #thegospelfamilykenya #gospelfamilyforlife #kenyantiktok 🇰🇪

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2024-03-25 at 10.02.10 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Mar 25 14:02:10 2024 UTC)

In the video, a male voice seeming to translate Putin's speech to English said:

Ladies and gentlemen, people of Russia --

Today we stand on the precipice of a monumental revelation, a moment that redefines not only our understanding of history but also the path forward for our great nation. In an extraordinary discovery, hidden beneath centuries of lore and legend, we have opened what can only be described as the oldest vault known to men.

What we found within its ancient confines challenges the very fabric of our beliefs and heralds a new dawn for our country. Within this vault, we discovered figures of biblical proportions, characters that many have read about, debated and revered. These figures preserved against the sands of time, reveal a truth that is as profound as it is transformative: They are all Black.

This revelation, this undeniable truth stands before us, not as a contradiction to our faith but as a destiny to diversity and unity that faith embodies. As your president, I see this moment not as a challenge to our beliefs but as an opportunity to embrace a wider, more inclusive understanding of our history and spirituality.

Russia -- with its rich tapestry of cultures, traditions and people -- is uniquely positioned in order to lead the world into this new era of understanding and acceptance. From this day forward, let us proclaim our nation under the guidance of Black Jesus, a figure who represents not just a cornerstone of Christian faith but also a symbol of the universal values of love, compassion and brotherhood.

This Black Jesus whose lightness in history has been unveiled in the oldest vault is a message to us all that divinity knows no color, that spiritual truth transcends race and that our common humanity binds us more tightly than our differences divides us.

Let this discovery remind us that history is not just a story of those who wield power but also of those whose contributions have been overlooked or forgotten. It challenges us to reexamine what we know, to question our assumptions and open our hearts to the broader possibilities of understanding and faith. As we embark on this journey of discovery and understanding, let us do so with open minds and compassion at hearts.Let us build a nation that truly reflects the teachings of Black Jesus, a nation that stands for justice, equality and love for all.

The clip ended with an audible phrase "the teaching of Black Jesus" in Russian, which appears to be said by Putin in the video on TikTok:

...учение черного Иисуса.

However, none of what was said was real -- the clip was a digitally manufactured version of the speech.

The footage captured an annual address to the Federal Assembly delivered by Putin on February 29, 2024.

Visual matches between the clip on TikTok and the recording on the Kremlin website (archived here) prove that both show only the same place at the same time.

In both versions of the broadcast, the setting looks identical. We see the same architectural structure on the stage placed against a particular metal background and surrounded by two screens showing Putin. Furthermore, the same people sit in the audience: someone wearing yellow in the central section and someone sitting half-turned to the camera in one of the middle rows on the right.

Screen Shot 2024-03-25 at 1.08.40 PM.png

(Sources: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon March 25 14:02:10 2024 UTC; Kremlin.ru screenshot taken on Mon Mar 25 16:54:13 2024 UTC, the page was automatically translated to English by Chrome; composite image by Lead Stories)

A different pair of respective screenshots confirm that Putin's appearance is the same, too: He wears identical clothes and the same balding pattern on his head is visible in both versions when he looks at the paper.

Screen Shot 2024-03-25 at 2.57.36 PM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Mar 25 16:40:06 2024 UTC; Kremlin.ru screenshot taken on Mon Mar 25 16:34:09 2024 UTC, the page was automatically translated to English by Chrome; composite image by Lead Stories)

Contrary to the post on TikTok, a search for the word "Jesus" spelled in Russian as "Иисус" across the transcript of the speech produced zero matches:

Screen Shot 2024-03-25 at 1.57.58 PM.png

(Source: Kremlin.ru screenshot taken on Mon Mar 25 17:57:58 2024 UTC)

Two versions of Putin's speech broadcast by Sky News, whose logo is visible in the bottom left corner of the footage reused in the post on TikTok found on YouTube (here and here), didn't contain the translation in question.

A Russian-speaking Lead Stories reporter listened to the address in its entirety and confirmed that, on this occasion, Putin did not proclaim a new political course shaped by the "teachings of Black Jesus." He mentioned the multiethnicity and religious diversity of the soldiers sent to Ukraine to fight for the Kremlin (at the 6:45 mark) but only used the word "black" to refer to the Black Sea region, not to any divine entities.

A search across Google News for the keywords "Putin", "speech", and "Black Jesus" did not show any relevant credible sources in English (archived here) or Russian (archived here) that would support the claim.

When Lead Stories ran the audio track from the post on TikTok through DeepFake-o-Meter (archived here), a tool designed by the University of Buffalo to detect audio fakes, it indicated that the speech heard in the clip in question was likely AI-generated:

Screen Shot 2024-03-25 at 10.58.03 AM.png

(Source: Buffalo.edu screenshot taken on Mon Mar 25 14:58:03 2024 UTC)

Furthermore, another tool, Hive Moderation (archived here), found that the text of the purported address likely was a product of AI, too:

Screen Shot 2024-03-25 at 7.39.00 PM.png

(Source: Hive Moderation screenshot taken on Mon Mar 25 00:39:00 2024 UTC)

The audio of this Putin speech that has never taken place was reused in combination with his other TV appearances in other posts to spread the claim that is the focus of this fact check on social media in late March 2024. Those examples include another post on TikTok (archived here) and a video published on YouTube.

Other Lead Stories fact checks debunking deepfakes can be found here. Stories mentioning Putin 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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