Actors Recorded Videos for ‘Vladimir.’ It Turned Into Russian Propaganda.

Title: Celebrities Unwittingly Used in Russia’s Online Information War Against Ukraine


Internet propagandists aligned with Russia have leveraged the support of at least seven Western celebrities, including Elijah Wood and Priscilla Presley, to record short videos in an attempt to bolster their online information war against Ukraine. This revelation comes from recent security research conducted by Microsoft, shedding light on the extent of Russia’s manipulation tactics in shaping public opinion. The celebrities, misled into offering words of encouragement to someone named “Vladimir” struggling with substance abuse, had their messages edited, manipulated, and shared online by Russia-aligned trolls.

The Deceptive Strategy

According to Microsoft’s findings, the celebrities were approached through the Cameo app, a platform connecting fans with their favorite stars. Under the guise of offering support to an individual named “Vladimir,” the propagandists managed to deceive the celebrities into recording short videos that were later manipulated to serve their agenda. The videos were embellished with emojis, links, and logos of media outlets, presenting a distorted narrative to audiences online.

Implications of Russia’s Information Warfare

Russia’s use of Western celebrities in their information war against Ukraine underscores the sophisticated tactics employed to manipulate public opinion and sow discord. By leveraging the credibility and influence of well-known personalities, the propagandists aim to amplify their messages and lend legitimacy to their distorted narratives. This strategy is designed to exploit the trust that fans have in their favorite celebrities and divert attention away from the truth.

The Role of Social Media Platforms

The incident also raises questions about the responsibility of social media platforms in combating the spread of misinformation and propaganda. While platforms like Cameo provide opportunities for genuine connections between celebrities and fans, they can also be exploited by malicious actors seeking to manipulate public discourse. It is crucial for these platforms to implement robust verification processes and ensure the authenticity of requests to protect both celebrities and their fans from falling victim to such manipulative tactics.

The Importance of Media Literacy

The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of media literacy in today’s digital age. As audiences navigate an increasingly complex media landscape, it is crucial to question the authenticity and credibility of the information they encounter online. By developing critical thinking skills and being vigilant about the sources and context of information, individuals can better protect themselves from falling prey to misinformation campaigns.


The use of Western celebrities in Russia’s online information war against Ukraine highlights the lengths to which propagandists will go to shape public opinion. By exploiting the trust and influence of celebrities, these manipulative tactics aim to distort narratives and further Russia’s agenda. The incident underscores the need for increased vigilance, media literacy, and platform responsibility to combat the spread of misinformation and protect individuals from falling victim to such deceptive campaigns.

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