Did Putin really say this quote about GMOs and vaccines?

We came across this message being forwarded on a Singapore-based Telegram group:

The message shares an image of what appears to be a quote by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

According to the quote, Putin had allegedly said that humans have a choice in adopting a more “healthy upward trajectory” or “follow the Western example of recent decades and intentionally poison our population with genetically altered food, pharmaceuticals, vaccinations, and fast food that should be classified as a dangerous, addictive drug”.

It is not specified when or at what event Putin had said the quote.

The Telegram user that forwarded the message then says that the “Sg PAP” (People’s Action Party in Singapore) is allegedly “doing all these to the population” and that we have a “huge organised crime network here”.

Quote has been circulating since 2016

When we did a Google search of the quote, we found two sources which published the quote in full – the first by fact-checking website Snopes, and the other on a post shared on Facebook page ‘Farmer’s Footprint’.

Without going into spoilers too soon, let’s first take a look at the context in which the quote was shared on Facebook page:

The post from May 2019 includes a link to an article published on wisemindhealthybody.com and is attributed to another website, realfarmacy.com.

It is important to note that the original link to the realfarmacy.com article is broken.

The article credits the quote from yet another article by a “Baxter Dmtry on Yournewswire.com”.

Once again, it is important to note that Yournewswire.com now appears to be a rather questionable betting website:

Interestingly, Baxter Dmtry (also erroneously spelt ‘Baxter Dimtry’ further down the article) and Yournewswire.com are notorious producers of fake news. According to a 2018 report by Poynter, its articles had been “debunked at least 80 times, and [had] its posts fact-checked as false through Facebook’s fact-checking partnership at least 45 times” then.

Dubious source aside, we were also unable to find the purported “report prepared by the Security Council (SCRF) circulating in the Kremlin” in 2016 from which Putin’s alleged quote was attributed to.

Looking at the factcheck by Snopes published in October 2016, we also read that none of the articles that Snopes came across cited or linked to the source of the Putin statement or the original report from which it was supposedly taken. Snopes also notes that the article is “little more than pro-Russian propaganda intended to appeal to Americans who subscribe to anti-scientific views about vaccines and foods”.

Is Putin anti-vaccination?

More importantly, while the alleged quote suggests that Putin has an anti-vaccine stance, the reality does not appear to support that insinuation. Snopes pointed out that in early 2016, the Russian government was boasting that the country’s scientists were developing vaccines for the Zika and Ebola viruses.

As we know, Russia has also developed its own COVID-19 vaccine, the Sputnik V, and was reported to be the first country to authorise the use of a COVID-19 vaccine in August 2020.

However, it is important to note that while Putin had urged Russians to get vaccinated and revealed that he had received the Sputnik V vaccine, he had also “made a dig at two Western vaccines – Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca – by claiming that they have dangerous side effects” during his annual call-in show in 2021.

Therefore, we cannot also completely rule out the possibility that Putin was solely dismissing Western vaccines in the alleged quote.

Due to the lack of the original source of the quote, we thus rate the claim as likely false.

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