Ukraine war: What does facial recognition software make of Putin’s backdrop crowd? – BBC

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 cope with and at earlier occasions. However what's the proof?
We used facial popularity device to test a few of these allegations.
The Russian president has a observe document of posing at occasions the place probably the most attendees don’t seem to be what they appear.
A BBC Russian investigation in 2020 discovered that some occasions offered as impromptu conversations with on a regular basis other folks were actually filled with friendly local officials.
Social media posts, and information web sites reminiscent of the Sun and the Daily Mail, have advised a blonde lady has been enjoying other characters at a number of earlier occasions with Mr Putin, together with a fishing go back and forth in 2016 and a church carrier in 2017.
Others, including a Ukrainian news report, say she is also a part of Russia's Federal Guards Provider (FSO) – a safety pressure that protects most sensible leaders.
We've used facial popularity device to check the face of the lady within the New 12 months image with the ones in 2016 and 2017, generating low fit result of 29% and 28% respectively.
"Normally, a similarity rating of 75% or upper must be regarded as when in search of an id fit," says Professor Hassan Ugail, Director of the Centre for Visible Computing on the College of Bradford.
Subsequent, we when compared the pictures from the occasions held in 2016 and 2017, which generated a 99.1% rating, strongly indicating that those two are of the similar individual.
This lady has been known in Russian media as Larisa Sergukhina. Each occasions at which she seemed came about within the Novgorod area the place she is a member of the regional parliament for the United Russia Birthday party, which backs Mr Putin.
Once we when compared her 2016 symbol from the boat with her official party portrait online we were given a 99.8% fit. Ms Sergukhina may be indexed as the founder of a company that trades fish in Novgorod.
The girl on the New 12 months cope with has been named in Russian media as Anna Sergeevna Sidorenko, a captain and army physician. Evaluating her face on the match with a picture taken from a video interview posted online by the Russian Isvestia newspaper gave a 99.5% fit. Her title additionally seems on a participants listing of a Russian army regiment published by the Ukrainian intelligence services.
We then appeared into claims a couple of staff of guys in fishing equipment, photographed with Mr Putin on a ship in 2016.
The similar males, it used to be alleged, were also photographed at the 2017 church service.
Evaluating the faces at the boat with the ones within the church thru facial popularity device gave us similarity ratings of over 99% for all 4 males, so we appeared additional into their identities.
We discovered proof all of them labored within the Novgorod area, and no less than 3 of them seem to be fishermen.
Aleksey Lyashenko (1) is the chief of the fishing staff pictured with Mr Putin. We all know this from his social media accounts in addition to profiles published about the crew online.
Yevgeny Lyashenko (5) is Aleksey's son. He’s additionally named within the profile as a part of the similar workforce. Each Aleksey and Yevgeny have social media accounts which verify they’re father and son.
In keeping with the similar profile, the staff is a part of the native agricultural conglomerate referred to as Evrokhimservis, whose deputy normal director is Larisa Sergukhina (3).
Sergey Alexandrov (2) is quoted in Russian media as a fisherman. We discovered his social media profile which displays him on a ship dressed in fisherman's clothes.
We couldn't discover a social media profile for guy quantity 4, however we discovered a picture which fits him on which anyone has commented "How did it occur with Putin?" with the answer: "He met a number of occasions with Putin at paintings in Novgorod".
Any other symbol posted online claims two of these fishermen also met Mr Putin posing as farmers within the Stavropol area. But if evaluating the faces of the farmers highlighted with the 2 fishermen, facial popularity displays lower than an 8% similarity for each.
There were a number of different examples the place blonde girls had been highlighted as doable actors at occasions prior to now, including two pictures of a woman serving ice cream to Mr Putin at an air show in 2017 and 2019.
The pictures listed here are from the aspect, and of decrease solution, which makes facial popularity unreliable, so we will't use it to make a judgement.
However we discovered an interview on Russian television in 2019 with a girl recorded claiming to be the ice cream dealer who served the president on each events.
And if they’re the similar individual this wouldn't be specifically unexpected for the reason that they're each taken on the identical air display, visited through Mr Putin two years aside.
Folks have claimed that the same woman who sold Putin ice cream had posed as a member of staff at Aeroflot, a Russian airline, however as soon as once more, facial popularity isn’t a competent instrument which to check the pictures on this case.
There used to be additionally an example in May when other folks claimed an injured soldier who met Mr Putin throughout a health center consult with have been pictured with him in a manufacturing facility up to now.
On the other hand, while you run the faces of the person from each occasions thru facial popularity it displays round a 25% similarity, indicating there isn't a fit.
Further reporting through Olga Robinson. Graphics through Jana Tauschinski.
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