Accessibility links

Breaking News


Andrei Petkov as he appeared in the original NTV report broadcast on April 13.
Depending on which Russian government broadcaster you watched, Andrei Petkov (aka Petkhov) was either a German mercenary financing unrest in Ukraine or a peaceful pro-Russian patriot who was pummeled by radicals.

Now, NTV, which is owned by the state-controlled energy giant Gazprom, has explained the contradiction: the international man of mystery suffers from schizophrenia.

In a dramatic segment that aired on April 13, NTV claimed that the channel had "inadvertently become hostage to a grand hoax" and accused the Western media of exploiting a mentally ill man to discredit Russian journalists.

The revelation about Petkov's alleged mental state followed a YouTube video that went viral last week comparing separate interviews he gave to NTV and Rossia 1 television from what appears to be the same hospital bed.

WATCH: NTV's Follow-UP Report On Andrei Petkov

In one interview, he tells NTV that he is a German mercenary who ferried in 500,000 euros for the Maidan protesters but was beaten up during a melee sparked by Ukrainian ultranationalists in the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv.

Rossia 1 says he is a pro-Russian protester assaulted by "radicals" bussed in by the Ukrainian government.

The YouTube video of the two Petkovs has racked up more than 450,000 views and was picked up widely by Russian bloggers, who gleefully mocked what they called crude state propaganda.

WATCH: The Two Petkovs

But in the April 13 follow-up report, NTV interviewed a man who claimed to be Petkov's brother, and said his brother has schizophrenia.

"He has this every spring," he said. "The man is not bad, good or evil. He is simply mentally ill."

Petkov's mother died in the 1980s, and he took the loss hard, NTV reported. He also never worked or traveled abroad as he claimed in his first interview with the channel, NTV said.

But Petkov was close to the protests in Mykolaiv and was injured, NTV said, adding that he woke up and imagined himself as a German millionaire. He even learned German from old records, according to the report.

NTV caught up with Petkov for a follow-up interview from the same hospital bed. He did not deny fabricating his story.

"But you must understand that I have a concussion, I have a disability, I have a gunshot wound to the head, I have a concussion, I do not sleep," he said. "I do not sleep, I cannot sleep for weeks, and when I cannot sleep, I start to get weird."

--Luke Johnson
Signatures adorn a Boston Marathon poster near the site of the Boston Marathon bombings in Boston.
The Week Ahead is a detailed listing of key events of the coming week affecting RFE/RL's broadcast region.

Now on Twitter! Daily updates at @The_Week_Ahead.

MONDAY, April 14:

Azerbaijan/Iran: Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov visits Tehran (to April 15).

EU: European Parliament's Plenary Session opens in Strasbourg (to April 17).

EU: Luxembourg hosts a EU General Affairs Council meeting.

Iran/UAE: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif visits Abu Dhabi (to April 15)

Moldova/Poland: Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti visits Warsaw (to April 15).

UK/Russia: Chatham House in London hosts a discussion titled "Putin and the Oligarch: State and Big Business in Russia."

U.S.: The 2014 Pulitzer Prizewinners and Nominated Finalists announced in New York.

World: Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) publishes its report on recent trends in military expenditure.

TUESDAY, April 15:

: Russia and Belarus conduct joint military exercises in the Vitebsk region of Belarus (to April 18).

NATO: NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove is scheduled to present a U.S. plan to redeploy assets in Europe as a response to the Ukraine crisis.

Russia: The prime ministers of Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan meet in Moscow to discuss the Eurasian Economic Union foundation treaty.

Russia/China: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Beijing.

U.S.: The first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that killed three people and wounded more than 264 more to be marked.

WEDNESDAY, April 16:

Russia/Georgia: Prague hosts another round of talks between Russia and Georgia on the normalization of bilateral ties.

THURSDAY, April 17:

: U.S. Senator John McCain is due to visit Chisinau.

Russia: A televised live question-and-answer session with Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to be held.

Russia/CSTO: St. Petersburg hosts a Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Parliamentary Assembly meeting.

Ukraine/Russia: Top diplomats from Russia, Ukraine, the United States, and the European Union are scheduled to hold talks in Geneva on resolving the crisis in Ukraine.

FRIDAY, April 18:

: Chinese Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun visits Dushanbe (to April 20).

SATURDAY, April 19:

: Kyrgyz and Tajik prime ministers are expected to meet over border issues.

SUNDAY, April 20:

Azerbaijan: Shamkir hosts an international chess tournament in memory of Vugar Gashimov (to April 30).

World: Christians worldwide celebrate Easter Sunday.

Load more

About This Blog

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

Latest Posts