The Claim and Our Verdict
The claim: A video shared Sept. 22, 2022, on Twitter, claims to show a man hiding in a refrigerator and trying to avoid the military draft announced by Russia.
Fact-checking: The video has begun to circulate online since at least February 2015. The man in the video was in fact a suspect accused of theft. He was hiding in a refrigerator and trying to avoid the police but was eventually found. The video is not relevant to Russia’s recent draft order.
Our verdict: This video actually shows a theft case in 2015, not related to the recent Russian military draft evasion.
A14-second video was shared Sept. 22, 2022, on Twitter, along with a claim that it shows a man hiding in a refrigerator and trying to escape from the military draft announced by Russia.
According to an article published by The Washington Post, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a televised speech on Sept. 21, 2022, announcing partial mobilization of the Russian army, which is expected to call up 300,000 people. As reported by the Associated Press, the Russian government claims to only recruit personnel with military experience and skills. However, it has been found that those who are not suitable to serve in the military, including those with chronic diseases or beyond the draft age, are also recruited. A large number of Russians have fled to neighboring countries to avoid being drafted. Putin said Sept. 29 that all mistakes made during the military mobilization must be corrected and prevented from happening in the future. It is necessary to deal with each of such cases independently. Those who have been called up without a proper reason should be returned home.
As of the publication of this report, the video had been viewed 2,195 times, retweeted 19 times, and it had received 49 likes. Similar claims have been circulating on Weibo.
Reverse image searches found a video posted Feb. 19, 2015, on YouTube, by the Russian media organization Regional TV (Областное телевидение, ОТВ). The Twitter video was extracted from the YouTube video.
According to the description, the YouTube video shows a suspect accused of theft in Yekaterinburg, Russia, trying to hide in a refrigerator to avoid the police. He was taken to court later on.
A relevant article published Feb. 19, 2015 by Russia’s Regional TV claims, “The police found the defendant’s belongings and noticed a hand sticking out of the refrigerator. Inside the refrigerator was Edward (Эдуард), 30, who was then taken to court.”
Further keyword searches have found an article published Feb. 18, 2015 by the Marshal of the Russian Federation (Федеральная служба судебных приставов, ФССП). The article claims that a suspect accused of theft hid in a refrigerator trying to evade the police. Multiple Russian media outlets also reported the incident in 2015, saying that a Yekaterinburg resident accused of theft tried to hide in a refrigerator to avoid the police.
This video actually shows a theft case in 2015, not related to the recent Russian military draft evasion.
- Twitter, video, Sept. 22, 2022.
- The Washington Post, “Putin drafts up to 300,000 reservists, backs annexation amid war losses,” Sept. 21, 2022.
- The Associated Press, “Russia opens more border draft offices amid call-up exodus,” Sept. 29, 2022.
- Weibo, post, Sept. 23, 2022.
- YouTube, “Тот еще фрукт: екатеринбуржец спрятался от судебных приставов в холодильнике,” Feb. 18, 2015.
- The official website of Телекомпания ОТВ, “Тот еще фрукт: екатеринбуржец спрятался от судебных приставов в холодильнике,” Feb. 19, 2015.
- The official website of the Marshal of the Russian Federation, “СОСКУЧИЛСЯ ПО СЕВЕРУ,” Feb. 18, 2015.
- Ура.ру, “Не хочешь в суд — замерзай! Обвиняемый в краже екатеринбуржец спрятался от приставов в холодильник. ФОТО,” Feb. 18, 2015.
- Meduza, “Екатеринбуржец спрятался от приставов в холодильнике,” Feb. 19, 2015.
- Properm.ru, “Судебные приставы нашли скрывавшегося екатеринбуржца в холодильнике,” Feb. 20, 2015.
- Московский комсомолец, “Екатеринбуржец спрятался от приставов в холодильнике,” Feb. 19, 2015.
- YouTube, “Екатеринбуржец, спрятавшийся от приставов в холодильнике, объяснил свое местонахождением похмельем,” Feb. 19, 2015.