Ukraine battle: What does facial recognition machine assemble of Putin’s backdrop crowd?

Putin backed with military personnel at his New Year's addressPicture supply, Getty Pictures

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President Putin gave a televised take care of on New 12 months’s Eve

By Jake Horton, Adam Robinson & Paul Myers

BBC Actuality Confirm & BBC Monitoring

Social media is awash with claims, repeated on information web sites, that Russian President Vladimir Putin surrounded himself with actors for his New 12 months’s take care of and at outdated events. Nevertheless what is the proof?

We frail facial recognition machine to determine these sorts of allegations.

The Russian president has a observe file of posing at events the obtain simply among the many attendees at the moment are now not what they appear.

A BBC Russian investigation in 2020 discovered that some events introduced as impromptu conversations with on an ordinary basis people had been undoubtedly crammed with suited native officers.

The blonde woman

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Social media posts, and information web sites such as a result of the Photo voltaic and the On an ordinary basis Mail, possess prompt a blonde woman has been taking half in quite a few characters at only a few outdated events with Mr Putin, together with a fishing day out in 2016 and a church supplier in 2017.

Others, together with a Ukrainian information file, notify she might be part of Russia’s Federal Guards Service (FSO) – a safety pressure that protects excessive leaders.

We’ve got frail facial recognition machine to evaluation the face of the woman inside the New 12 months picture with these in 2016 and 2017, producing low match outcomes of 29% and 28% respectively.

“Often, a similarity rating of 75% or elevated needs to be considered when attempting for an id match,” says Professor Hassan Ugail, Director of the Centre for Visible Computing on the College of Bradford.

Subsequent, we when put subsequent the photographs from the events held in 2016 and 2017, which generated a 99.1% rating, strongly indicating that these two are of the identical specific individual.

This woman has been recognized in Russian media as Larisa Sergukhina. Each events at which she regarded took area inside the Novgorod predicament the obtain she is a member of the regional parliament for the United Russia Social gathering, which backs Mr Putin.

After we when put subsequent her 2016 picture from the boat along with her reliable celebration portrait on-line we obtained a 99.8% match. Ms Sergukhina shall be listed as a result of the founding father of a corporation that trades fish in Novgorod.

The woman on the New 12 months take care of has been named in Russian media as Anna Sergeevna Sidorenko, a captain and safety pressure physician. Evaluating her face on the occasion with a picture taken from a video interview posted on-line by the Russian Isvestia newspaper gave a 99.5% match. Her title additionally seems on a contributors checklist of a Russian safety pressure regiment revealed by the Ukrainian intelligence suppliers and merchandise.

The fishermen

We then regarded into claims only a few neighborhood of men in fishing tools, photographed with Mr Putin on a ship in 2016.

Evaluating the faces on the boat with these inside the church by facial recognition machine gave us similarity scores of over 99% for all 4 males, so we regarded further into their identities.

We discovered proof all of them labored inside the Novgorod predicament, and a minimal of three of them look like fishermen.

Aleksey Lyashenko (1) is the chief of the fishing crew pictured with Mr Putin. We all know this from his social media accounts besides to profiles revealed concerning the crew on-line.

Yevgeny Lyashenko (5) is Aleksey’s son. He shall be named inside the profile as part of the identical staff. Each Aleksey and Yevgeny possess social media accounts which affirm they’re father and son.

In response to the identical profile, the crew is part of the native agricultural conglomerate often called Evrokhimservis, whose deputy fashionable director is Larisa Sergukhina (3).

Sergey Alexandrov (2) is quoted in Russian media as a fisherman. We discovered his social media profile which reveals him on a ship sporting fisherman’s clothes.

We could not purchase a social media profile for man quantity 4, nonetheless we discovered a picture which matches him on which any individual has commented “How did it occur with Putin?” with the reply: “He met only a few instances with Putin at work in Novgorod”.

One different picture posted on-line claims two of those fishermen additionally met Mr Putin posing as farmers inside the Stavropol predicament. Nevertheless when evaluating the faces of the farmers highlighted with the 2 fishermen, facial recognition reveals decrease than an 8% similarity for each.

The ice cream vendor

There had been only a few completely different examples the obtain blonde women people had been highlighted as attainable actors at events inside the previous, together with two photographs of a lady serving ice cream to Mr Putin at an air current in 2017 and 2019.

The photographs listed here are from the side, and of decrease decision, which makes facial recognition unreliable, so we will now now not exhaust it to assemble a judgement.

Nevertheless we discovered an interview on Russian tv in 2019 with a lady recorded claiming to be the ice cream vendor who served the president on each events.

And inside the occasion that they’re the identical specific individual this would not be particularly heavenly supplied that they’re each taken on the identical air current, visited by Mr Putin two years aside.

Folks possess claimed that the identical woman who provided Putin ice cream had posed as a member of employees at Aeroflot, a Russian airline, nonetheless but as soon as extra, facial recognition is now now not a sterling machine which which to evaluation the photographs on this case.

There turned as soon as additionally an instance in Would possibly presumably moreover when people claimed an injured soldier who met Mr Putin true by a sanatorium talk about over with had been pictured with him in a manufacturing facility beforehand.

However, inside the occasion you saunter the faces of the person from each events by facial recognition it reveals round a 25% similarity, indicating there’s now now not a match.

Additional reporting by Olga Robinson. Graphics by Jana Tauschinski.