Endangered Cultural Heritage, NFT Fundraising, Spanish-Language Disinformation, More: Ukraine Update, April 5, 2022


Bloomberg: Ukraine Raises $600,000 Through Museum NFT Sales to Help Rebuild. “Ukrainian MetaHistory NFT-Museum sold 1,282 artworks on its first day of sales, raising 190 Ether cryptocurrency tokens for the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, the museum said in an email. The NFTs are meant to document the war through artwork that features rubble and destruction, Ukrainian soldiers, fires burning and the Ukrainian flag.”

Coda Story: Russians face grim options on social media. “Evgenny Domozhiroff, an opposition politician in Vologda, Russia, had not been blocked on VKontakte, the Russian version of Facebook, during the 11 years he conducted anti-corruption investigations. Nor had he been shut down in a decade of posting outspoken criticism of Vladimir Putin and local officials. But on March 26, Domozhifoff was blocked. He wasn’t surprised.”

Ars Technica: World of Tanks maker closes studios in Russia, Belarus. “Wargaming, the developer behind the massively popular military MMO World of Tanks and its spin-offs, has decided to close its offices in Russia and Belarus amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.”


Washington Post: A lab in rural Virginia is racing to preserve Ukraine’s cultural heritage. “Housed in the Virginia Museum of Natural History in Martinsville, the Cultural Heritage Monitoring Lab is the museum world’s version of a war room: a network of computers, satellite feeds and phones that represents one of the newest tools being employed to protect national treasures threatened by natural disasters or geopolitical events. Created last year in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Cultural Rescue Initiative — a world leader in this field — the lab is compiling imagery of Ukraine’s cultural sites to help track attacks on them.”

NBC News: Russia disinformation on Ukraine spreads on Spanish-speaking social media. “As that war rages, Russia is launching falsehoods into the feeds of Spanish-speaking social media users in nations that already have long records of distrusting the U.S. The aim is to gain support in those countries for the Kremlin’s war and stoke opposition against America’s response.”

Los Angeles: Column: Gen X TikTok is recycling the culture of the late Cold War, and what’s old is new again. “As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine passed the month mark, and reports emerge that Russia’s nuclear forces have been placed on high alert, the culture of the late Cold War has made a swinging comeback. Think of it as Cultural Cold War 2.0, with Russia as stand-in for the former Soviet Union.”


Reuters: UK links “malign cyber activity” to 3 Russian intelligence services. “Britain attributed malign cyber activity to parts of three Russian intelligence services: the FSV, SVR and GRU, publishing a factsheet on Tuesday that set out what it said were organizational details of Russia’s cyber capabilities.”

The Times: Explicit photos sent to Ukrainian refugee women looking for shelter. “Ukrainian women seeking safety in the UK say they have been sent explicit images by men exploiting the Homes for Ukraine programme. Women who posted on Facebook groups set up to connect refugees with British households said they had also been verbally abused by men. They added that messages they had received from men on Facebook’s Messenger app had deterred them from coming to Britain.”


Ukrainian Institute: Call to suspend cultural cooperation with Russia and international presentation of Russian culture. “The Ukrainian Institute reiterates its call to international and Ukrainian cultural institutions and individual professionals, academic community, and civil society organisations to suspend any cooperation with Russia. We consider this a necessary step to push back the aggressor that launched a violent and unjustified invasion against Ukraine, a sovereign and peaceful European country, and has long instrumentalised culture and soft power for political propaganda and manipulation of public opinion.”

The Conversation: Guns, tanks and Twitter: how Russia and Ukraine are using social media as the war drags on . “Information warfare is no longer an additional arm of strategy, but a parallel component of military campaigns. The rise of social media has made it easier than ever before to see how states use mass communication as a weapon.”

The Conversation: Cyberattacks have yet to play a significant role in Russia’s battlefield operations in Ukraine – cyberwarfare experts explain the likely reasons. “As the war has evolved, it’s clear that analysts on both sides of the debate got it wrong. Cyber operations did not replace the military invasion, and as far as we can tell, the Russian government has not yet used cyber operations as an integral part of its military campaign. We are political scientists who study the role of cybersecurity and information in international conflict. Our research shows that the reason pundits on both sides of the argument got it wrong is because they failed to consider that cyber and military operations serve different political objectives.”

Bellingcat: Russia’s Bucha “Facts” Versus the Evidence. “Initial reports from human rights organisations on the actions of Russian forces have detailed violence targeting civilians. Interviews with local residents, meanwhile, have accused Russian troops of carrying out summary executions of unarmed men over suspicions they had fought for Ukrainian armed forces in the Donbas in 2014, or even ‘simply for having a tattoo of Ukraine’s national emblem’. Russian officials have pushed back against these claims.”

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