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Fact check: No record of Putin making anti-Muslim speech in 2013

Social media users have been sharing posts that claim to quote a speech that Russian President Vladimir Putin gave in 2013. However, Reuters found no evidence that Putin made this speech.

Reuters Fact Check. REUTERS

The posts (here  ,  here) , one of which was posted in 2013 but is being shared again in Dec. 2020, claim that Putin gave an anti-Muslim speech on Aug. 4, 2013 to the Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament), for which he received a five minute standing ovation. The caption says, “This is one time our elected leaders should pay attention to the advice of Vladimir Putin”.

Putin is quoted as having said, “In Russia live like Russians. Any minority from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, should speak Russian, and should respect Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law, and live the life of Muslims then we advise them to go those places where that’s the state law. Russia does not need Muslim minorities […] We better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. […] The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture and primitive ways Sharia Law and Muslims […] the Muslims Minorities Are Not Russians.”

Users who shared the post in Dec. 2020 added captions expressing support for this message, such as, “Why wouldn’t he say this... […] There is no harm in the honesty of this speech!” (here) ; “What American (sic) should do” (here) ; “An that’s the way it should be here” (here) ; and “Aaaamen!!!!” (here)

On the official Kremlin website, which has transcripts of all public remarks made by Putin (here) , there is no evidence of Putin having made any speech on Aug. 4 2013 (here) . Nor is there any record of him having made these remarks on Feb. 4, 2013 (here) as other Facebook posts have claimed (here) .

Reuters searched these transcripts in Russian and English for key words and phrases from the comments in the social media posts but found no evidence of Putin having made the anti-Muslim remarks quoted (here) .

Reuters found no online news reports related to the alleged speech.

Speaking on Russia Today in 2013, Putin said that new citizens or those who wanted to become Russian citizens should respect Russian traditions, laws, culture and history, which seems similar to the second sentence of the speech quoted in the social media posts (here) . However, when saying this, Putin does not make any mention of Muslims specifically.

The fact-checking website Snopes found a speech made by Putin in 2012, which expresses the same sentiment about learning Russian and respecting Russian laws (here) . Putin said, “We must create conditions for immigrants to normally integrate into our society, learn Russian and, of course, respect our culture and traditions and abide by Russian law. In this regard.” There is no specific mention of Muslims in the speech either. (here)

PolitiFact also debunked this supposed speech in 2017 (here) .

Reuters found examples of Putin having made positive comments about Islam and Muslims. For example.,in 2013 Putin said, “Muslims are Russians, our citizens, and this is their only home” (here) . In 2016, in response to a question about the Islamic State, he said he would prefer that the word Islam was not used next to the word terrorism (here) and in 2019 he said, “Islam and Christianity, like other world religions, are based on fundamental humane values of lasting importance – on mercy and love for one’s neighbour, on justice and respect for the individual.” (here)

Russia is home to some 20 million Muslims and Islam is the second largest religion after Orthodox Christianity (here) . The country has fought two wars against Chechen separatists in the mainly-Muslim North Caucasus region which has seen a long-standing Islamist insurgency, where some rebels declared allegiance to Islamic State (here  ,  here) . Russia has been hit by bomb attacks carried out by Islamist rebels from the North Caucasus in the past, although Moscow has largely crushed their insurgency (here  ,  here) .

The remarks quoted in the social media posts are somewhat similar a statement falsely attributed to the former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, fact-checked by Reuters  here  .

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

VERDICT

False. There is no evidence in official transcripts of Putin’s public remarks or on news sites that suggests Putin made the anti-Muslim speech quoted in the social media posts.

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

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