The war in Ukraine has a great impact on the treatment of information, in particular because of the control exercised by the government of Vladimir Putin on the Russian media. However, there are alternatives that aim to break away from censorship. One of them is Squad303a website that allows you to send SMS or e-mails to Russian citizens, to tell them what is really happening on Ukrainian territory.
The platform, created by Polish developers, aims to break the russian blockade news and communications related to the armed conflict arriving from other countries. Squad303 uses a database with more than 20 million phone numbers and 140 million email addresses which are owned by Russian citizens. Thus, any person in the world can send a message to another random individual, in order to provide more information about what is happening on Ukrainian territory.
As published The Wall Street Journal, Squad303 began operating on March 6, days after the Russian invasion began. Since then they have been shipping around 7 million text messages and 2 million emails, service officials said. In this way, he seeks to alert about what is happening in the war in Ukraine, regardless of what is seen in the Russian media.
The utility has a very simple graphical interface, with a box that randomly displays available phone numbers for communication. Users can copy them and send the message they deem relevant; even some default texts written in Russian are displayed, ready to be shared. They include phrases like “The Kremlin lies! Putin’s war brought disaster to the Russian people! There is no money in the banks, there is no fuel, all foreign companies have left the country! Putin is hiding in his palace in Gelendzhik!“.
Squad303 Aims to Break Russian Censorship in Ukraine War
Since the war broke out, Russia has been fighting with Ukraine and other countries to control the narrative of what is happening in Eastern Europe. On the one hand, official Russian media such as RT and Sputnik have been blocked on countless platforms, and virtually all over the world. In return, the Kremlin kicked off Facebook and Instagram, blocking millions from accessing social media. And even Wikipedia itself has been embroiled in controversy over how the conflict is covered.
And in this permanent “pull and release” between governments and corporations, Squad303 wants to be the alternative for citizens everywhere take another look at the war in Ukraine that Russians see through official propaganda. “Our goal was to break down Putin’s digital censorship wall and ensure that Russians are not completely cut off from the world and the reality of what Russia is doing in Ukraine,” they said from the platform. WSJ.
However, all is not rosy. Messages sent via Squad303 could pose a risk to Russian citizens who receive them. As recently posted The Telegraph, the police began to set up controls in the Moscow metro; in them people would have to unlock their mobiles to see their messages, looking for dissidents. And although the Russian government itself has come out to deny it, there have been multiple arrests during protests against the war in Ukraine.
I am Bhumi Shah, a highly skilled digital marketer with over 11 years of experience in digital marketing and content writing in the tech industry.