Fact Check-Video of man hiding in fridge was not captured after Putin’s announcement on military mobilisation

A video showing uniformed officials extracting a man hiding inside a refrigerator has been shared with the claim that it shows a person being forcefully called up to Russia’s military after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilisation to fight in Ukraine. However, the clip is from 2015 and shows court bailiffs looking for an offender who failed to appear in court.

On Sept. 21, Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilisation since World War Two after suffering major battlefield reversals in Ukraine. Officially described as a partial mobilisation, it will steadily draw in 300,000 reservists from across the country over a period of months (here), (here).

The clip purportedly showing military personnel hunting down an unwilling recruit shows uniformed men searching a house and eventually finding a man hiding inside a refrigerator. “Military mobilisation in Russia. Privet Andrey.”, says a Sept. 21 tweet sharing the clip, which has been viewed more than 1 million times (here).

The clip has also been shared with the same caption on Facebook (here).

Reuters found an extended version of the clip uploaded to YouTube by a Russian regional television channel called OTV on Feb. 19, 2015. The caption accompanying the video, originally in Russian, says that it shows a resident of Yekaterinburg, Russia, hiding from bailiffs in a refrigerator as he did not want to appear in court. A report on the same can be found on the channel’s website as well ( com/watch?v=xQLHZE46cuE), (here).


Miscaptioned. The video clip purportedly showing forced recruitment following Putin’s order on military mobilisation is not from September 2022. It was captured in 2015 and shows court bailiffs searching an apartment for a person who did not appear at court regarding theft charges.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work (here).