Why, Vladimir, What an Oddly Deep Voice You Have

His video address to BRICS forum appeared to 'bizarrely' make use of a deep-voiced alternate
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2023 11:27 AM CDT
Putin's Voice 'Bizarrely' Dubbed in World Speech
Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers his remarks via video during a meeting during the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Thursday, Aug. 24, 2023.   (Marco Longari/Pool via AP)

Vladimir Putin addressed a forum of leaders from Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa this week by video, and two odd things stand out from his BRICS speech. The first is the video address itself—Putin couldn't attend the forum in Johannesburg in person because he would have risked arrest under a war crimes indictment from the International Criminal Court in the Hague, reports the Hill. But the second is the voice that emerged from the video, which clearly was not that of the Russian leader.

"Bizarrely, the version of the video played to the summit in Johannesburg was dubbed by a voice actor who made the Kremlin chief sound like either a Hollywood villain, 1970s soul star Barry White, or a gangster being interviewed for a TV program whose voice had been dubbed to protect his identity," per Politico. You can listen to a sample here. The Kremlin did not explain the dubbing. But the original version of the message that appeared on the Kremlin website featured Putin himself, and he was coughing a bit. The Kremlin apparently decided to try to improve things, Putin-style, in the version released to the summit. The Hill wonders if it was done via an AI-powered voice changer.

As for the substance of his speech, Putin said Russia would resume its suspended grain-export deal with Ukraine if certain conditions—such as the lifting of sanctions—are met. During the summit, Putin sought generally to shore up support for Russia and to reiterate his allegation that the West is responsible for the war with Ukraine. (More Vladimir Putin stories.)

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