On Monday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced an assassination attempt targeting Russian journalists had been foiled. In a sting operation, the FSB, Russia’s domestic security service, had arrested the would-be neo-Nazi assassins, he said. Among the arsenal apparently seized by the FSB were Molotov cocktails, a grenade, several pistols and a sawed-off shotgun, as well as Nazi paraphernalia, a green wig and copies of three expansion packs to the video game “The Sims 3.” Wait. What?
On Twitter, the veracity of the sting operation came into question. “I genuinely believe this is a dumb FSB officer being told to get 3 SIMs,” tweeted Eliot Higgins, founder of the investigative research unit Bellingcat, which has covered Russia extensively.
SIM cards are small chips used in phones, which would be useful to would-be assassins. Pictured in video footage of the raid, by contrast, were boxed copies of content packs for the life simulation video game “The Sims 3,” including what appeared to be “The Sims 3: Outdoor Living Stuff,” “The Sims 3: Master Suit Stuff” and a third content pack The Washington Post could not identify.