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Russia is still listed as a member of the Antarctic Treaty, a decades-old agreement that facilitates global cooperation for the purposes of conducting scientific research in and around Antarctica.
Russia was reported to have received a cold reception from member nations at a May 2022 conference on the treaty, but there is no indication it has announced any plans to withdraw.
There is no evidence there is a secret civilization beneath Antarctica, as a TikTok video suggests.
Did Russia quietly exit the decades-old Antarctic Treaty after blowing the whistle on a multinational cover-up of a secret civilization beneath the ice of the world’s southernmost continent?
That’s what a TikTok video shared in a Sept. 12 Instagram post claimed.
A man in the video claimed that "Russia is now becoming the first country to break ties with the Antarctic Treaty."
"Russia is now stating there is an entire continent" beneath Antarctica that includes "fresh water, lakes, rivers and civilization," he continued.
The post was flagged as part of efforts by Facebook, which owns Instagram, to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
First, what is the Antarctic Treaty, and what is its significance?
The Antarctic Treaty was originally signed by 12 nations (including the United States and Russia) in 1959 and enacted in 1961. It is a 14-article agreement intended to cooperatively regulate any official activity by governments in and around Antarctica. It also stipulates that the continent is to remain a demilitarized zone. Its intent was to foster cooperation and transparency among nations engaged in scientific research there.
Representatives from member countries convene annually, most recently in Berlin from May 22 to June 3. Any sovereign country with membership in the United Nations may join. Fifty-four countries are members today.
While news reports described Russia getting a cold reception at the meeting, there’s no indication Russia withdrew from the agreement.
The conference was held about three months after Russia invaded Ukraine. One senior German official was quoted by the AP saying, it was "not an easy decision to come together here in Berlin at the negotiation table while one consultative party is waging war on another consultative party."
We reviewed news articles and official materials from the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty and found no mention or reference to Russia removing itself from the agreement. On the website maintained by the secretariat, Russia remains listed as an official party to the treaty. It links to an official web page that appears to be maintained by the Russian government, summarizing ongoing projects and expeditions.
We also reached out to the office of the Secretariat of the Antarctic Treaty to ask about the claim, but didn’t hear back.
If Earth were hollow, which claims of civilization beneath Antarctica would imply, that would require the entirety of the planet’s mass to be less dense than the rocks that help make up its crust, a University of Chicago-based geophysics expert explained in a previous interview with PolitiFact. Beyond that, scientists have collected irrefutable evidence that proves the Earth isn’t hollow.
Even though scientists cannot visit the Earth’s interior, they have learned about its composition by analyzing, among other things, the waves produced by earthquakes that run through the Earth’s interior. Those waves slow and change paths as they encounter the boundaries of the internal layers.
A TikTok video shared to Instagram claims that Russia opted out of the six-decade-old Antarctic Treaty and confirmed that there is another civilization beneath the frozen continent.
There is zero evidence corroborating either claim.
We rate this video Pants on Fire!
British Antarctic Survey and the Natural Environment Research Council, "The Antarctic Treaty Explained," accessed Sept. 13, 2022
ABC News via Associated Press, "No warmth for Russia at diplomatic conference on Antarctica," May 24, 2022
The Atlantic, "The Countries Taking Advantage of Antarctica During the Pandemic," May 15, 2020
Express UK, "Putin eye-ing up Antarctica as 'strategic frontier' as Russia and China spark 'concerns,'" June 1, 2022
PolitiFact, "Fact-checking the ‘hollow earth’ conspiracy theory," July 26, 2022
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