In his New Year’s address to the Russian people broadcast on Russian TV channels a few minutes before the arrival of 2019, President Vladimir Putin said that in order for the Russian people to achieve “changes for the better” it is Important to be a “one solid, united, strong team” because “we never had and never will have any helpers.”
Britain’s Daily Star tabloid called Putin’s address “defiant” and said it “shunned” the West.
In Russia, the use of the word “defiant” was met with criticism, and numerous politicians rushed to Putin’s defense.
While the predominant narrative was that Putin was right about Russia having no friends abroad and is struggling under international sanctions, Franz Klintsevich, a ranking member of the Defense Committee of the Federation Council, the upper chamber of Russia’s parliament, quoted Russian Tsar Alexander III, who at the end of 19th century famously said that Russia had only two allies – its army and its navy.
Klintsevich claimed Putin “always speaks with the people solely in the language of truth,” painting “no blissful pictures,” but “only what is in fact the case.”
Both parts of Klintsevich’s claim are false: Putin’s public speeches do not withstand fact-checking, and many of his statements have proven false and deceptive.
Polygraph.info has conducted 85 fact-checks of the Russian president’s public statements, including those which compiled the multiple claims Putin made in his traditional speeches, such as his address to the annual Valdai Club and his end-of-year press conference.
Out of these 85 fact-checks, we found four of Putin’s claims misleading (in these, he did exactly what Klintsevich said he never does – painted “blissful pictures”), one to be true and 80 false.
When asked to assess the Russian president’s statements, several experts accused Putin of lying and provided tangible evidence of the falsity of his claims.
Independent Russian-language fact-checkers have also frequently accused Putin of “lying.” The latest instance -- a fact-check of Putin’s end-of-year press conference on December 25 by The Insider, headlined “12 examples of how Putin lied to Russians during his press conference.”