Russia’s federal news agency RIAFAN published a story claiming that the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung diagnosed Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko with autism.  Without citing the German publication directly or providing a link, RIAFAN writes “Süddeutsche Zeitung journalists have come to the conclusion that judging by his behavior lately Ukrainian President Poroshenko acts as if he is autistic”.

Website screenshot RIAFAN

Website screenshot RIAFAN

Obviously Süddeutsche Zeitung never published such a story, but the Russian publication Dni.ru certainly did, in April of this year. Since then the fake story reappears regularly in Russian publications, ranging from the far out conspiratorial to the mainstream.

Website screenshot Süddeutsche Zeitung

Website screenshot Süddeutsche Zeitung

The publication of this story could be connected to a 2015 story in the German daily Der Tagesspiegel, in which the newspaper cites a Pentagon study that claimed the Russian president had Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism.

Website screenshot  Der Tagesspiegel

Website screenshot Der Tagesspiegel

Brenda Connors, an expert in movement pattern analysis at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, R.I.  said Putin carries a neurological abnormality because his neurological development was significantly interrupted in infancy.

Website screenshot USA Today

Website screenshot USA Today