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Russian president Vladimir Putin has not warned the World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab that his ‘days are numbered’

IN SHORT: Putin has not threatened the head of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab. This claim is entirely fabricated by a site that has been publishing false claims for nearly a decade.

Social media posts on sites such as Facebook, X (formerly Twitter), and the conspiracy theory-friendly video sharing platform Rumble claim that Russian president Vladimir Putin has publicly threatened World Economic Forum (WEF) founder and chair Klaus Schwab.

A headline shared as a screenshot in almost all of these posts reads “Putin Warns ‘Globalist Terrorist’ Klaus Schwab His ‘Days Are Numbered’”. The screenshots also include a “Fact checked” label below the headline.

The headline was published on a website notorious for sharing false information, and the claim itself has already been debunked. We dug into the details.


Quotes entirely fictional, unrelated to real Putin speech

Although most versions of this claim only include a screenshot of the headline, this claim was first made in an article that provided more details about the claim.

Putin’s remarks were supposedly made during a speech on 5 October 2023 at a meeting of the Valdai Discussion Club, a Russian thinktank and conference organiser. Putin did deliver a keynote speech at the club’s 20th annual meeting, which was covered by major news outlets including Reuters and the Guardian.

However, Putin made no mention of Schwab or the WEF. News reports focused on Putin’s comments about Russia’s nuclear weapons programme, political relations with China, the death of Russian mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin in August, and comments on various international groups. (In particular, Putin complained about “western influence over the world”.)

The Valdai Discussion Club published a full English transcript of Putin’s speech and the subsequent discussion with its research director, Fyodor Lukyanov. This also includes no mention of Schwab or the WEF.

Fact-checking organisation PolitiFact has debunked this claim, finding that the quotes attributed to Putin were fabricated. 

There have been no other reports or official statements from Putin referring to Schwab as a “globalist terrorist” or threatening that his “days are numbered”. So where do these false claims come from?

Infamous ‘fake news site’ back with a new name

The claims were published on a website called “The People’s Voice”, although it is better known by other names. 

The People’s Voice was founded in 2013 by infamous British conspiracy theorist David Icke and Sean Adl-Tabatabai. Adl-Tabatabai has claimed that Icke left the project after he revealed to Icke that he was gay, although Icke denies this. Adl-Tabatabai and his husband Sinclair Treadway eventually set up a similar site called “Your News Wire”.

Despite claiming to be a “news” site, Your News Wire regularly published false claims, including the dangerous pizzagate conspiracy theory. In 2018, fact-checking and journalism organisation Poynter found that its claims had been debunked by fact-checkers at least 80 times and its posts on Facebook had been labelled “False” on the platform at least 45 times. 

Shortly after this, and seemingly in order to avoid fact-checking labels being applied to its content on Facebook, the site changed its name to NewsPunch. The site may now have reverted to the name The People’s Voice.

The People’s Voice publishes content that is similar to, and just as unreliable as, that published by NewsPunch and Your News Wire. The “Fact Checked” labels on articles like its article about Putin and Klaus Schwab do not refer to actual fact-checking or verification. 

The site now seems to be run by a company named “Fact Checked Limited”. This appears to be an unsubtle way of making its false claims appear more reliable.

It is often helpful to look up the name of a publication if it is unfamiliar. In this case, the People’s Voice and previous iterations of the site are known for publishing false claims. This is just one example of this.

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