A Russian influencer has gone viral on TikTok for a video explaining how to drive a Russian armored personnel carrier (APC).
This is Nastya Tuman, a car mechanic and influencer in Russia. According to a profile on Yandex, she learned to drive at the age of 18 and began working on cars because she was tired of mechanics ripping her off. Now she and her husband run multiple YouTube channels and social media accounts where she fixes cars and explains the basics of maintenance.
Tuman’s video comes at a time when reports are flooding social media about Russian soldiers running out of fuel or outright abandoning tanks and APCs in Ukraine. On Feb. 28, Russia’s state telecommunications regulator demanded that TikTok take steps to censor military content on its platform. The video went viral on Twitter Monday with some describing it as footage of a Ukrainian explaining how to pilot abandoned Russian military vehicles. That’s not quite what’s going on.
The video of Tuman in an APC is actually a year old. On February 23, 2021, she posted a video on Instagram of her driving a BTR-series APC in honor of Defender of the Fatherland Day. The short video walks through the basics of starting up the APC and shows her briefly driving it.
On Feb. 27, Tuman posted a video to her TikTok account showing the same footage but with a different introduction. She’s pictured outside of the APC. “If you happen to find a free or abandoned armored personnel carrier, here’s a life-hack on how to start it,” she says in Russian. Then, like in the February 2021 video, she walks through the basics of operating the vehicle.
Tuman did not respond to Motherboard’s request for comment.
Greg Walters contributed to this reporting.