Fact Check-Clip of St. Petersburg protest dates to at least March 2022

A clip of a protest in St. Petersburg, Russia, was not filmed in September 2022, despite being shared by netizens in the hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a partial mobilization to support Moscow’s military campaign in Ukraine. Instead, the clip dates to at least March 2022, weeks after Russia initially sent troops into the country.

The clip shows throngs of people marching in front of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg. It was shared on Twitter on Sept. 21, 2022, with a caption that reads: “Massive protest by Russians in St Petersburg against the war in Ukraine. They are chanting ‘No to War!’” (here).

The tweet had gathered more than 40,000 views and more than 2,000 likes by the time of writing.

Other iterations of the claim can be found (here) and (here).

The clip is not recent, however, and a reverse image search shows that it has been online since at least March 2022.

The earliest iteration Reuters found of the clip was uploaded on March 6, 2022 (here). The video was shared by journalists at the time (here).

In March 2022, Reuters reported that police in Russia had detained more than 4,300 people nationwide during protests over the war in Ukraine, per the OVD-Info protest monitoring group. Thousands of protesters chanted "No to war!" and "Shame on you!", according to videos posted on social media by opposition activists and bloggers (here).

The clip was reshared in September 2022, shortly before Putin’s address to Russian citizens, where he said: "If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people - this is not a bluff" (here).

Russia’s Defence Minister, Sergei Shoigu, said on Sept. 21 that Putin’s decree on partial mobilization would see an additional 300,000 personnel called up to support the military campaign in Ukraine (here).

Activists from the Vensa (Spring) anti-war coalition called for Russians to protest against the announcement as early as Wednesday evening in city and town centers (here).

Reuters has previously addressed miscaptioned clips shared online with false context during the war in Ukraine (here), (here).


Missing context. The clip of a protest in front of St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg was not filmed in September 2022, and instead dates to at least March 2022.

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