This week Russian media publicized a story claiming that Ukrainian authorities had banned coverage of separatist militant leader Arsen Pavlov’s death. Pavlov’s was widely known by his alias Motorola.

This story was widely disseminated by Russia’ Defense Ministry television channel Zvezda and the newspaper Vesti.

Website screenshot Zvezda
Website screenshot Zvezda

Both Zvezda and Vesti feature a scan of a purported letter from the Ukrainian Information ministry calling on media to ignore the topic of Motorola’s death in their news coverage.



Arsen Pavlov was killed in an explosion in the elevator of his apartment building in Donetsk on October 16.

In response to StopFake’s inquiry Ukraine’s Information Ministry said that they had never issued any such instruction. The scanned letter is a fake; the letterhead is a fake, as is the signature of the Information Minister, the original of which can be seen on his published income declaration.


Several editors of both television and electronic media also informed StopFake that there had been absolutely no official instruction on covering Arsen Pavlov’s death.


This event was a major story in Ukrainian media, widely covered and analyzed by in all platforms.