European MPs targeted by deepfake video calls imitating Russian opposition
The pranksters managed to talk on behalf of Navalny’s ally, Leonid Volkov with European politicians using a deepfake filter, Moreover, the conversation was in a video call.
The pranksters Vovan (Vladimir Kuznetsov) and Lexus (Alexey Stolyarov) contacted the chairmen of the foreign affairs committee of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, as well as the British politician Tom Tugendhat and, using deepfake filters, pretending to be Alexey Navalny’s comrade-in-arms, Leonid Volkov. This is not the first time that Western politicians have been tricks by pranksters.
It is amazing that pranksters were able to fool everyone with just a voice, with the chairman of the Latvian Foreign Affairs Commission, Richard Kols, the false Volkov communicated via video in Zoom – and no one suspected anything.
Richard Kols noted that it was impossible to distinguish the deepfake from the real representative of Navalny via video. According to the politician, the only thing that confused him about the online meeting was that it was short.
— Rihards Kols (@RihardsKols) April 22, 2021
The Latvian TV channel, LTV published an “exclusive” interview with Volkov, in which he said that the video blogger Yuri Dud agreed to head Navalny’s headquarters. “Perhaps thanks to Yuri Dudyu we will succeed in what we have not been able to do so far – to get into the Russian parliament,” said deepfake. The deception became known when Volkov himself sent a letter to the TV channel, where he indicated that it was not the first time that prankers had been acting on his behalf. LTV management deleted the interview and apologized.
The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament, Marko Mihkelson, claims that a video call to parliament from an impostor who introduced himself as Alexei Navalny’s associate Leonid Volkov was organized by “Russian special services.”
According to Mihkelson, making a deepfake of this level is quite a difficult job. Therefore, he believes that what happened was an operation by the Russian special services.