Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech at a pro-war rally at a Moscow stadium was cut-off abruptly and on Friday by the Russian state TV. Instead, the state TV started airing pre-recorded footage of patriotic songs. It is not known what exactly happened but authorities have been blaming a technical glitch.
However, reports are that his speech was cut abruptly after he was booed by the audience in the rally. This comes as thousands of Russians continue to protest Putin's decision to invade Ukraine. Several have been arrested for protesting against Putin on the streets of Moscow since the attack on Ukraine on February 25.
On Friday, Putin was addressing a pro-war rally at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow where at least 200,000 people had gathered. The president was justifying his invasion of Ukraine. He was also praising the bravery of the soldiers who were fighting in Europe. However, just a few minutes into his speech, it was mysteriously cut-off prompting confusion among the audience.
Instead, the state television started airing a pre-recorded concert by singer and composer Oleg Gazmanov. The video of the incident was posted on social media which captures the dramatic moment.
A woman translating his speech could be heard saying: "The beginning of the operation coincided by accident with the birthday of one of our military leaders..." before the feed cut out.
Given how strictly the Russian government controls the media, such disruptions are exceedingly unusual. Around 10 minutes later, Putin's speech was replayed from the start to finish before he walked off stage as thousands of spectators waved Russian flags at the 80,000-capacity Luzhniki stadium.
Moment of Embarrassment
Many believe that Putin's speech was purposely cut-off by the state TV because there were people inside the stadium who started protesting his move to invade Ukraine. Reports are that, Putin was being booed by a section of people and the state TV was instructed to cut-off the speech till the rebels were silences.
However, according to Kremlin, Putin's speech at the crowded Moscow stadium to commemorate the eighth anniversary of Crimea's annexation was interrupted by a technological glitch.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesperson for the Kremlin, told the RIA news agency that the outage was caused by a server problem. Earlier this month there was speculation he used a green screen to fake a TV appearance after his hand was seen "going through a microphone".
For the past year, there have been concerns about the Kremlin despot's health and location, with reports that state television aired old video of him to conceal a case of Covid.
His increasingly erratic actions throughout the conflict, according to experts, could indicate a man on the edge of a medical or mental breakdown.
However, even if it was a technical glitch, it isn't the first time that such an incident has happened. The sound had also cut out during the speech of Maria Zakharova, director of the Information and Press Department at Putin's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to CNN's Bianna Golodryga.
Unlike her boss, Zakharova's audio didn't just go out; the entire telecast's audio went out, and there was quiet for nearly 30 seconds while she mouthed words onscreen.
On the other hand, Putin has long prided himself on his tightly controlled "strong man" image, meaning the cutaway might have been engineered to cover up a blip or an embarrassing moment.