Fact Check

Did an Anti-War Protester in Moscow Display Apologetic Sign?

While sharing a viral photograph of a protester, some claimed it was taken during a demonstration in Moscow.

Published Feb 26, 2022

TBILISI, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 24: Demonstrators wave a large Ukranian flag as Georgians rally in support of Ukraine after Russia began it's military invasion to the country on February 24, 2022 in Tbilisi, Georgia. Overnight, Russia began a large-scale attack on Ukraine, with explosions reported in multiple cities and far outside the restive eastern regions held by Russian-backed rebels. (Photo by Daro Sulakauri/Getty Images) (Daro Sulakauri / Getty Images)
Image Via Daro Sulakauri / Getty Images
A man in Moscow protesting the invasion of Ukraine carried a sign that read, "I'm Russian, sorry for that."

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, protesters took to the streets in various cities around the world to express their opposition to the outbreak of violence.

Thousands of protesters even took to the streets in Russia. The British news outlet The Guardian reported that as of Feb. 25, 2022, 1,800 Russians had been arrested protesting the war, and some faced professional retaliation as a result.

One image in particular went viral around the world. Some characterized it as depicting a man attending a protest in Moscow while holding a sign that said, in English: "I'm Russian, sorry for that."

"'I Am Russian, Sorry For That': Hundreds In Moscow Take To Streets To Protest Against Putin’s Move, Detained," a headline from India.com read.

The image was tweeted with no comment by Radek Sikorski, chairman of the European Parliament:

The photograph is real, and the man was attending a protest against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the protest didn't take place in Moscow, or even in Russia. The man was photographed at a demonstration in Tblisi, the capital city of Georgia, a country that shares a border with southern Russia.

Journalist Jamie Fullerton posted another picture of the man, this time accompanied by two other protesters carrying the same sign. Fullerton said the protest took place outside Georgia's parliament building on the night of the Russian invasion:


Nechepurenko, Ivan, and Dan Bilefsky. “Thousands of Russians Protest President Vladimir V. Putin’s Assault on Ukraine. Some Chant: ‘No to War!’” The New York Times, 24 Feb. 2022. NYTimes.com, https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/world/europe/russia-protests-putin.html.

Roth, Andrew. “Prominent Russians Join Protests against Ukraine War amid 1,800 Arrests.” The Guardian, 25 Feb. 2022. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/25/prominent-russians-join-protests-against-ukraine-war-amid-1800-arrests-putin.

Fullerton, Jamie, https://twitter.com/jamiefullerton1/status/1496927144743739392?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1496927144743739392%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.snopes.com%2Fwp-admin%2Fpost.php%3Fpost%3D396963action%3Dedit

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more

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