Porn site ads are being used to spread news about Russia’s war against Ukraine

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russia ukraine war porn ads

A network of campaigners supporting Ukraine against Russia’s invasion of the country have been battling Vladimir Putin’s propaganda machine with the help of porn site adverts.

After Russia began its war against Ukraine in February, the campaign network began raising funds to spend on adverts disseminating truthful reports about goings on in the war, as a counter-point to propaganda lies promoted by the Russian government.

They began placing the adverts on Russian porn and gambling sites, which are less regulated than sites such as news and search sites, so haven’t implemented Russia’s authoritarian censorship laws so rigorously.

Anastasiya Baydachenko, from the advertising agency IAB Ukraine, is part of the network of campaigners raising funds and placing the adverts. A Crowdfunder campaign named ‘Give Russians real news about Ukraine using ads’ was launched by Rob Blackie, head of the Free Russia campaign.

The campaigners have been careful not to openly discuss their use of porn sites online, lest they fall foul of crowdfunding rules. The Guardian reported that they were using porn and gambling sites to place their adverts because such sites were less susceptible to the effects of Russia’s draconian “fake news” censorship laws.

By 27 June 2022 over 300 million adverts placed by the campaigners had been shown online. Blackie said that the campaign was able to run until at least December 2022.

He said: “We don’t know how long the war in Ukraine will go on for, or how long Putin will stay in power. So we’ve started to plan for the long term – so that we have a sustainable team, funding and organisational base. Right now we have around 60 volunteers as well as many more people in our partner organisations.”

“We as a united team are communicating with Russian and Belarussian audiences in order to bring correct messages about war”

Anastasiya Baydachenko, pro-Ukraine news advert campaigner

Baydachenko said: “We as a united team are communicating with Russian and Belarussian audiences in order to bring correct messages about war, about losses, about consequences, and all other important issues that is closed for the Russia population because of strict governmental control and governmental propaganda.”

Porn sites have proved to be helpful platforms for spreading the truth about Putin’s warmongering, beyond advert placement.

Earlier this year Ukrainian and Russian porn creators posted videos on Pornhub featuring them talking about the invasion or showing scenes of the carnage, rather than their usual explicit adult content.

Read next: OnlyFans blocks Russia-based creators (over payment problems, rather than morals)

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Jamie F

Jamie F

Jamie is a freelance writer, contributing to outlets such as The Guardian, The Times, The Telegraph, CNN and Vice.

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