Over the weekend, news of Russian president Vladimir Putin unleashing nearly 800 lions and tigers on the streets of Russia caught the attention of social media.
The fake news report, which many believed was real, suggested that Putin used the beasts in order to stop people from going outside during the current coronavirus pandemic.
The news report in question also added that Russia has 306 coronavirus cases and one death so far. Many on Twitter believed that Putin also gave Russians a directive of staying indoors for two weeks or they could face a jail term of five years.
However, as it turned out, the video showing a lion on the street was actually taken during the year 2016 in South Africa. Another video also surfaced of a lion walking around at night in India, which many thought was taken in Russia. While the news is now confirmed as fake, it still went viral across social media platforms.
“Vladmir Putin has given Russians two options, you stay at home for two weeks or you go to jail for five years,” one user incorrectly informed his followers. “Putin has dropped 800 tigers and lions all over the country to push people to stay at home, stay safe everyone!”
Vladimir Putin has given Russians two options
You stay at home for 2 weeks or you go to jail for 5years
No middle ground
RUSSIA Vladimir Putin has Dropped 800 tigers and Lions all over the Country to push people to stay Home.. Stay Safe Everyone! pic.twitter.com/41KOjl8vNe
— Mohammad Ahmed (@MohammadAhmedDh) March 22, 2020
— Aadan Caydiid (@weriye_yariisow) March 22, 2020
— WaQar Ameer Sathio (@Bolo_WaQar) March 22, 2020
Many were quick to reply with some hilarious comebacks. “I recommend hippos and alligators for the holdouts, let’s bring this thing under control,” a Twitter user mused.
i recommend hippos and gators for the hold outs, lets bring this thing under control
— toast 'wash your hands' fam (@toast_fam) March 22, 2020
“Russian President Vladimir Putin released 800 tigers and lions across Russia to devour anyone who comes out. Stay home or die hard, GOAT,” another joked.
Russian president Vladimir Putin released 800 lions and tigers across Russia to devour anyone who comes out. Stay home or die hard. GOAT pic.twitter.com/9LXz6DLIf9
— Kelvin M. Ashong (@Mawunya_) March 22, 2020
“My country, they will eat the tiger,” a Russian Twitter user said in reply. “This is a joke right,” another person replied in confusion.
My country they will eat the tiger
— Mayor of ijéshà (@FadelEmmy) March 22, 2020
This is a joke right?
— Daniella (@Mo_Daniella) March 22, 2020
Jokes aside, others were just in awe of Vladimir Putin himself, or just believed he is plain crazy. “The real boss man,” one user wrote. “This man is just raving mad,” another said in horror.
— Temi (@Temzy_o) March 22, 2020
This man is roving mad
— Valentina Emeruwa-Daniel (@ValieDan) March 22, 2020
Some Twitter users couldn’t believe so many people were quick to believe the news. “I really didn’t know I have to tweet this, but the overflow of this image on WhatsApp and social media has moved me to tell Russia didn’t leave lions on road to quarantine people at homes,” one user pointed out.
I really didn't know i have to tweet this, but the overflow of this image on whatsapp and social media has moved me to tell Russia didn't leave lions on road to quarantine people at homes. pic.twitter.com/ZMp1v1M6g0
— Dr.Sadia Ramzan (@SadiaRamzan16) March 22, 2020
Many were also shocked that some high-profile names such as British politician and business magnate Alan Sugar were asking on Twitter if the news was real or not.
“If anyone ever tells you that billionaires earn their wealth through intelligence and merit, remind them that Alan Sugar thinks Russia has released lions to keep people inside,” one user wrote in disbelief.
if anyone ever tells you that billionaires earn their wealth through intelligence and merit, remind them that alan sugar thinks russia have released lions to keep people inside https://t.co/xamph6tzLE
— jack (@_jackhy) March 22, 2020
Meanwhile, a fake Twitter account of US President Donald Trump also created some hype around the fake video.
“I must congratulate my good friend Vladimir Putin for his bold steps to enforce national lockdown in Russia! He has released LIONS onto the streets! Actual lions! This is NOT a joke! Bravo Vladimir, bravo! #COVIDー19.”
I must congratulate my good friend Vladimir Putin for his bold steps to enforce national lockdown in Russia! He has released LIONS onto the streets! Actual lions! This is NOT a joke! Bravo Vladimir, bravo! #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/dpepZt4R4F
— President Donald J. Trump ᵖᵃʳᵒᵈʸ (@IH8_Obama) March 22, 2020
Safe to say, there are no lions and tigers running around on the streets of Russia and Twitter can now rest easy.
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