A handful of feminist activists staged a daring demonstration outside the Kremlin on Wednesday, commemorating International Women’s Day, but the most spectacular stunt was cooked up on a computer.
On March 8, four activists, two reporters, and a photographer were detained in Red Square (and soon released), after the activists unfurled banners reading “A woman for president!” “All power to women!” “200 years of men in power — down with them!”
Two of the women even climbed one of the Kremlin’s outer walls to hang this last banner, while also setting off blue-colored smoke bombs.
Bold as this act may have been, it paled in comparison to a picture (see above) showing another two individuals within the Kremlin’s walls, atop the Uglovaya Arsenalnaya corner tower, hanging a sign that read, “Our national idea is feminism!” An anonymous activist from an unnamed feminist movement later circulated a single photograph of this act to journalists, and several media outlets reported the story without questioning the image.
A day later, following a statement by Kremlin security officials that no one breached the walls on March 8, the activists who spread the photo reportedly admitted that it’s fake.
“We saw that they were drawing a banner, but we didn’t know exactly where they planned to hang it,” Leda Garina, one of the women detained in Red Square, told the newspaper Novaya Gazeta. “Later, they sent a photo to our shared inbox. We were happy that they’d succeeded, but we started to worry when they disappeared online. Now they’ve come back online and confirmed that it’s a photoshop.”
On Thursday, Sergei Khlebnikov, a security official at the Kremlin, told the radio station Ekho Moskvy that the photo showing a banner hanging from the Uglovaya Arsenalnaya corner tower was faked.