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Fifty Seconds That Shook The Russian Internet


Russian Prime Minister has yet to comment on a startlingly realistic video purportedly showing him in court.

Russian Prime Minister has yet to comment on a startlingly realistic video purportedly showing him in court.

In just two days, a 50-second video titled "The Arrest of Vladimir Putin: A Report From The Courtroom" has been watched almost 2 million times on YouTube and republished to dozens of Russian blogs and websites.

Viewers have left more than 18,000 comments, including calls that the producer be awarded an Oscar for film editing.

The startlingly realistic clip, in the style of a Russian television news report, purports to show "former" Prime Minister Vladimir Putin being hauled into a Moscow courtroom to face charges including large-scale corruption and participating in a terrorist act with the purpose of intimidating the public and influencing the government.

The charge apparently refers to the 1999 apartment-building bombings that rocked Moscow and other Russian cities in the run-up to Putin taking over the presidency in 2000.

A sour-looking Putin sits in a cage and answers the judge's questions as cameras capture the scene.

WATCH: Russian Vladimir Putin "appears" in court on corruption charges



The audio of Putin's voice was taken from a televised report on Putin participating in the 2010 Russian census.

Overall, the video is a tribute to the possibilities of computer fakery and viewers can't help but be reminded of high-profile Russian court cases such the one against former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky.

In fact, the judge in the video of the Putin "trial," Viktor Danilkin, was the presiding judge in Khodorkovsky's most recent trial in 2010.

So far there has been no official response to the video, either from Putin's office or from prosecutors.

-- Central Newsroom

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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