Language Clubs, Stolen Camera Photography, Propaganda Bloopers, More: Ukraine Update, June 1, 2022


The Verge: Trucking simulator shelves Russia-themed expansion after Ukraine invasion. “Euro Truck Simulator 2 has shelved an upcoming Russia-themed expansion pack after the country’s invasion of Ukraine, its developer SCS Software has announced. In a blog post, the Czech Republic-based developer said that it has cancelled the imminent release of the Heart of Russia DLC pack ‘so that it is not perceived in any way as being in support of or tolerance of the aggression.'”

Google Blog: Spotlight: The first Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund recipients. “To help Ukrainian entrepreneurs maintain and grow their businesses, strengthen their community and build a foundation for post-war economic recovery, in March we announced a $5 million Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund to allocate equity-free cash awards throughout 2022. Selected Ukraine-based startups will receive up to $100,000 in non-dilutive funding as well as ongoing Google mentorship, product support, and Cloud credits. Today, we are proud to announce the first cohort of recipients of the Google for Startups Ukraine Support Fund.”

BBC: Ukraine war: Eurovision trophy sold to buy drones for Ukraine. “Kalush Orchestra, the Ukrainian band which won this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, have sold their trophy for $900,000 (£712,000; €838,000) to raise money for the war in Ukraine. The crystal microphone was auctioned on Facebook, with the aim of buying drones for Ukraine’s military.”


PetaPixel: Ukrainian Family’s Stolen Camera Found with Photos of Russian Soldiers. “Ukrainian soldiers recently found a digital camera in a destroyed Russian armored vehicle. Apparently looted from a Ukrainian family, the camera’s memory card contained both photos by the family as well as casual snapshots revealing the lives of Russian soldiers as they invade Ukraine.”

Daily Beast: Ukrainian Intel Blasts Cringey Bloopers From Russian Military Propaganda. “Fighters from the Russian republic of Chechnya who have been recruited to fight in the war in Ukraine have been making videos of their attempts to look courageous and mighty in the war. But the videos appear to be staged, according to outtakes Ukrainian intelligence officials have obtained from one of the fighters.”

Notes from Poland: Russia using disinformation to stir hostility between Ukrainians and Poles, warn security services. “Russia is using disinformation to stir animosity between Poles and Ukrainians, warns the spokesman for Poland’s security services. As an example, he pointed to the response to a recent killing in Warsaw, which the Polish far right falsely sought to blame on Ukrainians.”

BBC: Students accuse lecturer of sharing Russia war lies. “In a lecture obtained by the BBC, Prof [Tim] Hayward outlined an argument that the renowned aid organisation, the White Helmets, may have helped fake a chemical attack in Syria. Russia has said the attack was ‘staged’. It comes after he and a number of other academics were accused of spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine by MPs in the House of Commons in March – something Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said the government would ‘crack down on… hard’.”

New York Times: For Russian-Speaking Ukrainians, Language Clubs Offer Way to Defy Invaders. “Since Russia’s invasion, a number of language clubs have opened in cities in western Ukraine. Teachers and volunteers are reaching out to millions of displaced people who have fled to the relative safety of western cities like Lviv from the Russian-speaking east — encouraging them to practice and embrace Ukrainian as the language of their daily lives. An estimated one in every three Ukrainians speaks Russian at home, according to researchers, and many of them — outraged by the violence of Russia’s invasion — are enthusiastically making the switch as a show of defiance.”


RTL Today: High-tech race to map Ukraine’s damaged historic buildings. “Many of Ukraine’s historic monuments have been destroyed in the three months since Russia invaded, but cultural experts are working to conserve their memory using cutting-edge technology and 3D scans. One of them is volunteer French engineer Emmanuel Durand, a specialist in 3D data acquisition, who is assisting a bevy of architects, engineers, historic building experts and a museum director to record buildings in Kyiv, Lviv, Chernigiv and Kharkiv.”


Top10VPN: Russian VPN Spending Since the Invasion of Ukraine . “The Russian Federal Treasury has published over 200 official procurement documents for VPN technology with a combined value of almost $10 million since the invasion of Ukraine. The documents reveal state officials’ need to circumvent their own government’s censorship of the internet in Russia.”

Brown Political Review: Russia and the New Disinformation Regime. “The current Russian disinformation strategy is much different than propaganda of the past; it works in incredibly high volume, it’s so drastically detached from the truth, and it aims to confuse its citizens and enemies. Primed for the modern day, this strategy offers Russia an easy tool to achieve its goals while leaving few solutions to address it.”

New York Times: Russian Academics Aim to Punish Colleagues Who Backed Ukraine Invasion. “Some academic researchers in Russia are quietly working to prevent colleagues who have supported their country’s invasion of Ukraine from being elected to the Russian Academy of Sciences this month. If they succeed, they will deny those who back the war a prized credential that confers prestige in Russian institutions of higher learning. Their campaign could also show that some acts of protest remain possible despite a government crackdown on dissent.”

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