People around the world are trying to break the censorship to reach the Russians: “We want to start a peaceful dialogue”
Volunteers around the world are turning to Russian citizens in unusual ways, trying to break through the Kremlin’s censorship.
A cybersecurity expert who calls himself Jan says a website he set up to reach random people in Russia put him in the Kremlin’s crosshairs. People around the world have clicked on the website more than 50 million times and sent ready-made messages about the war in Ukraine, such as: “Putin is attacking cities and helpless people. He is lying.”
“We want to start a peaceful dialogue,” Jan told CBS News’ Roxana Saberi. “She [people in Russia] cannot learn the truth about the war in Ukraine.”
In Russia, the government has essentially criminalized the dissemination of information that contradicts its own account of the war. Most independent media have closed. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will be blocked.
During the Cold War, the US broke the Kremlin’s censorship wall with radio programs and anti-communist leaflets carried in balloons.
Today’s grassroots efforts are more advanced. A website “Call Russia” randomly generates 40 million numbers within Russia for volunteers to make calls.
“Most … people don’t want to know the truth. But people are still people. You know, nobody agrees that so many people are dying,” said Paulius Senuta, co-creator of Call Russia.
Senuta and other activists say they will continue to reach out to the Russians to share the realities of the war, hoping they will eventually help end it.