The prime minister of Russia stood in handcuffs inside a cage, looking downcast, as a judge questioned him.
The video showing Vladimir Putin on trial for corruption and terrorism was clearly a fake, but it went viral anyway — attracting millions of viewers since it was posted on YouTube several days ago, the Associated Press reports.
Called “The Arrest of Vladimir Putin,” the video comes a week after thousands of Russians protested in Moscow against the prime minister, who will run for a third term as president March 4. Putin was president from 2000 to 2008, and has been prime minister ever since. He is widely expected to win the presidential election, despite the public’s discontent, which peaked with widespread protests in December.
One Russian viewer for whom the video resonated commented on YouTube: “Putin is a terrorist and a war criminal. His mistakes are not small, and two wrongs don't make a right.”
The video was made by piecing together news footage of the 2010 trial of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky and of Putin participating in the 2010 census.
Putin’s supporters, too, have used faux video to get their message across. In a series of videos called “Russia without Putin — Russia Without a Future,” imagining a supposedly hellish future without the long-time leader, news footage is shown of food lines, riots, the homeless and military conflict: