The images, purportedly taken one year apart, appear to show Putin dressed in the same suit and look extremely similar. The only difference is the colour of his tie.
Putin is believed to have attended the midnight Easter service to mark Orthodox Easter on Sunday morning – April 24 – alongside Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin at Moscow’s huge gold-encrusted Christ the Saviour Cathedral.
But images and video footage from the event have raised questions with many suggesting the new clips were faked from last year’s service on May 2, 2021.
It comes after footage last week appeared to show Putin ”bloated and slouching at a meeting with the Russian defence minister Sergei Shoigu, who also seemed fragile and appeared to slur his words as he read a short statement to the President,” Daily Mail reports
The footage sparked rumours Putin is suffering considerable health problems.
There are only subtle differences in lighting and the colour of Putin’s tie between both sets of images from the Easter service, prompting suggestions that the images have been manipulated.
‘Putin is standing in the same suit and with the same candle as on May 2, 2021,’ reported Russian outlet The Village.
‘This is evidenced by a photo report from the temple on the Kremlin website.’
Opposition investigative media Agentstvo also claimed that this year’s footage of Putin attending the ceremony, an appearance he makes annually, seemed to have been distorted.
‘In the broadcast of the Easter service from the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, Putin seemed to disappear for a moment,’ said the outlet.
‘This happened during the switching of shots, from a close-up with the president to a more general one…
‘The place where Putin should seem to be empty.’
The claims were set upon by Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs adviser Anton Herashchenko, who said: ‘Putin’s directors were again caught using video editing and [manipulation].
‘This time at the broadcast of the Easter service.’
Telegram channel Mozhem Obyasnit (We Can Explain) posted: ‘Putin-2022 at the service in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour is almost indistinguishable from Putin-2021.
‘Social media users, having studied the photos, doubted that the President attended a public event.’
The channel urged followers to ‘spot the difference’ between Putin this year and last.
‘Putin has the same hairstyle, almost the same facial expression, the same candle,’ said Mozhem Obyasnit.
‘Both are on the same background in the same aisle of the cathedral.
‘True, in 2021 Putin was sometimes shown against the backdrop of parishioners and priests, but this year, for some reason, they did not do this.
‘Social media users conclude that reports of Putin’s participation in this public event at the height of the war are illustrated with pictures from a peaceful 2021.’