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Zelenskyy's photo at a concert for the military in 2014: we find out where the truth lies

A photo showing Volodymyr Zelenskyy being held in the arms of men in military uniforms is being actively circulated on social media. Fake newsmakers write that this photo was allegedly taken in Horlivka on 17 April 2014, during the occupation of the city, and that the men in uniform are "Apalchyans". Let's find out what really happened during the Kvartal 95 concert for the military.

The men in uniform holding Zelenskyy in their arms are Ukrainian soldiers. The scene takes place near Kramatorsk in 2014, immediately after Kvartal 95 performed an outdoor “field concert”. 

A photo of Volodymyr Zelenskyy being held up by men in military uniforms has been widely circulating on social media. According to the fake newsmakers, the photo was taken in Horlivka on April 17, 2014, the third day of the city’s occupation. The armed men, they claim, are so-called “pro-russian militia.” 


“Please tell me one thing; just answer one question. Do you think it’s normal or appropriate to perform concerts for occupation forces?” asks Iryna Mykhailova, who posted the photo in the Incredible Ukraine Facebook group, garnering over 500 likes. 

The post, like many others, includes a screenshot of a comment by Volodymyr Petrovich, who wrote even more emotionally: “Is it too difficult for you to take a similar picture with our soldiers? With them holding machine guns and you — you shitty commander — with a silly microphone. This isn’t Photoshop, it’s a real photo.”

The photo, or rather the screenshot from the video, is indeed real. But the context is different.

In reality, the uniformed men holding up Zelenskyy are Ukrainian soldiers. The scene took place near Kramatorsk in 2014, right after Kvartal 95 performed an outdoor “field concert.”

“Unfortunately, many people who were in the audience that day are no longer alive, and the war still rages on…” reads the caption of the video posted in late 2019 on the Servant of the People — Donetsk Region Facebook page. 

The same footage can be found on Studio Kvartal 95 Online’s official page, posted on August 25, 2014, the day after the concert. The caption says that it’s all happening in Kramatorsk on Ukraine’s Independence Day, August 24, 2014. The video is titled “Come back alive, come back victorious”. 

The screenshot provided by the fake newsmakers can be seen at 2.55 minutes. However, the video shows a distant shot where we see the performers inviting soldiers on stage at the 2:55 mark, where they unfurl a Ukrainian flag together. Just before the national anthem plays, several soldiers lift Zelenskyy up in celebration.  

The aforementioned Volodymyr Petrovich allegedly quotes Svitlana Serikova. We didn’t find her, but Volodymyr exists. His page is dominated, to put it mildly, by criticism of Zelenskyy and all the Kvartal 95 members. However, there’s no screenshot. Perhaps he deleted it. Iryna Mykhailova, in turn, quoted Oksana Merkulova. We didn’t bother to look for her. Just keep all these facts in mind.

Please don’t get us wrong. We aren’t against criticism, but it should be constructive, and not based on lies small logo

фактчекерка на всі крильця
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
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