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Video shows church choir singing for late Thai king, not ‘Putin tribute’


Screenshot of the fake Facebook post, taken on June 4, 2024

Comparable Facebook posts wrongly linked to images of Putin’s inauguration to inform by 2023 claimed it showed the Thai royal anthem being sung in a church in Moscow.

Some Facebook users seemed to believe the video showed the choir honoring Putin.

“Putin has implemented His Majesty King Bhumibol’s philosophy to develop his country and it has developed beyond expectations!” read one comment.

“My heart considers the Russian people as relatives. I love you Putin,” wrote another.

Old Phuket video

A reverse image search on Google found the video in a 2016 article that showed a ceremony at a church in Thailand’s Phuket province – not in Moscow.

Thai newspaper Khaosod published the images in a report from November 2016 about the Holy Trinity Church in Phuket that pays tribute to the Thai King Bhumibol (archived link).

Bhumibol died the previous month after a seven-decade rule and was revered by Thais as a symbol of unity in a politically chaotic country.

He is still widely worshiped in Thailand and was revered as the country’s moral authority.

AFP confirmed that the video was filmed at Holy Trinity Church in Phuket by comparing the footage with Google Maps images from inside the church.

Below is a screenshot comparison between the YouTube video (left) and Google Maps images from the Holy Trinity Church in Phuket (right), with similarities highlighted by AFP:

Screenshot comparison between the YouTube video (left) and Google Maps images from Holy Trinity Church in Phuket (right)

Meanwhile, keyword searches found a Youtube video who identified a priest seen in the video as Father Oleg Cherepanin (archived link).

A Google search for the priest found his profile on the website of the Russian Orthodox Church, which states that he is dean of the patriarchal parishes in Thailand (archived link).

Screenshot comparison between the fake post (left) and Oleg Cherepanin’s profile photo (right) with a red circle taken by AFP

Various news items here And here mention him as pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Phuket (archived links here And here).

A spokesperson for the Orthodox Christian Church Foundation in Thailand confirmed to AFP that the video shows a ceremony in memory of the late Thai king at the church on November 4, 2016.

AFP previously fact-checked disinformation about Russia-Thailand relations here.

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