As people and platforms speak out against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government has implemented several censorship measures for those residing within Russia. Earlier this month, a group of Polish programmers called Squad303 decided to circumvent this problem by releasing 1920.in, a website that allows individuals to contact those residing in Russia.
“A nation that is to pay a huge price because of the shameful decision of the dictator Putin to attack an independent Ukraine by armed forces. The joint action of all the states of the free world, as a response to Russia’s aggression, will lead to the collapse of the entire country,” the website states on its homepage. “However, nearly 150 million Russians do not know the truth about the causes or course of the war in Ukraine. It is fed with the lies of the Kremlin propaganda. There is no free media in Russia and the internet is censored.”
As first reported by the Wall Street Journal, 1920.in randomly generates a number or email address for users from a database that contains approximately 20 million cellphone numbers and nearly 140 million email addresses. Anyone in the world can attempt to contact the phone number or email address, with the option of sending a pre-drafted message in Russian that tells people their media is censored.
“Our aim was to break through Putin’s digital wall of censorship and make sure that Russian people are not totally cut off from the world and the reality of what Russia is doing in Ukraine,” a spokesman for Squad303 told the Wall Street Journal.
Russia’s social media crackdown has cut off many opportunities for people in the country to get information from beyond its borders. Russian regulators have restricted platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in the country, and is even considering labeling Facebook an “extremist organization”.
Responding to reports that the Russian government is considering designating Meta as an extremist organization for its policies in support of speech: pic.twitter.com/Y8sUbZDSML
— Nick Clegg (@nickclegg) March 11, 2022
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