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The Cyber Resistance To Russia’s Ukraine Invasion Is In LA, Too

An infographic in Russian displaying red text against a photo of what appear to be dilapidated warehouses.
An infographic created by a hacker group shows how money spent on the war in Ukraine could be used to clean up environmental problems in Russia.
(Screenshot courtesy of Oleksiy)
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The Cyber Resistance To Russia’s Ukraine Invasion Is In LA, Too

In the month since Russian troops invaded Ukraine, a cyber resistance movement has emerged around the world — including in Los Angeles.

One of the many volunteers in the online resistance is Oleksiy, a Ukrainian immigrant whose day job is in property management. For weeks, he’s been working long hours online in what he calls an “info war” against the Kremlin’s blackout of independent media.

“We are trying to share truthful information about what is going on in Ukraine into Russia,” said Oleksiy, who didn’t want his last name used to protect his family in Ukraine.

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From his home in downtown L.A. he connects with a team of other volunteers around the globe, many of them Ukrainian, in San Francisco, New York, Germany, Poland, and also Ukraine, he said.

Oleksiy said his group of volunteers is part of the broader cyber resistance to the war, which includes aglobal movement of hackerstaking on Vladimir Putin’s government. Some activists claim to have hacked Russian state television and government servers.

Illustrating The Cost Of The Invasion

In a phone interview, Oleksiy said his group isn't really hacking but is instead doing “public relations and marketing.” They’re creating accounts on Russian social media to post photos and news about the war and the casualties on both sides.

The group has also created several websites that carry infographics about the invasion’s financial impact for Russia, something he believes could have a deeper impact for those who might otherwise agree with the war.

“We are trying to explain that one day of war costs like 400 schools,” Oleksiy said, or “100,000 miles of roads.”

Early on, he and his group even posted information about the war in open forums like Russian restaurant-review websites, he said.

“We use all the tools we can get,” Oleksiy said. “We use modern technology — and even not only technology, but some creative approaches. Like we have a newsletter that anyone can print on their printer, and put it in the mailbox of their neighbors.”

The websites and social media accounts they create don’t last long — the Russian government eventually catches on and shuts them down, so Oleksiy’s group is frequently creating new ones and starting over.

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“They are blocking us every day,” Oleksiy said. “It’s something that every few days we have to reimagine how we communicate, and rethink what we’re doing.”

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