The Great Photoshopic War

The Russian Ministry of Defense is no novice to “beautifying” aerial photography (you may remember the brazen attempt to push photo-shopped satellite imagery as “proof of a second plane” in the MH17 downing.

Today, the Photoshop experts at the MoD went into romantic comedy mode.

At 16:42 Moscow time, the official account of the MoD published the following tweet:

originalMOD“With a decision of the Supreme Commander of the Russian Military, the Airforce has started an air operation against ISIS”

Just an hour later, the MoD deleted this tweet, and posted the following, much cooler photo:

notoriginalMOD(identical caption as above)

You don’t need to do forensic analysis on the photos to conclude that the top photo is the original, and the bottom one is a photoshopped fake (a terrible one, at that – whoever did it added a new shadow below the airplane but forgot to remove the identical shades under the ladder and the wings).

Ok, so one could say: nothing TOO wrong with that, they took a less than glamorous photo from their Latakia airbase and re-positioned it in some movie-worthy desert.

Problem is, that first plane isn’t even in Syria. It is a photo from the MoD’s archive, taken at the Command-and-Staff Center 2015 Military Exercise. You can find the original here.


This was not the last time they put this geographically enhanced photo to use. In just one day following the original publication, the doctored photo has become a staple for illustrating Foreign Ministry tweets about the attacks in Syria.


The question is: if Russian MoD are lying about something as basic (and unnecessary) as this. what are they not lying about?


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