Ukraine Calls For Video Game Blockade Against Russia To Motivate Its Citizenry

from the games-are-culture dept

I’ve banged on for quite a while about how video games have long not gotten the recognition they deserve as a major and growing part of the cultural landscape throughout the world. While there is no doubt that there has been a shift in this as time has gone on, it’s still the case that a hefty percentage of the world, particularly older populations, simply don’t put video games on the same cultural footing as literature, movies, television, and music. Which is ultimately quite silly. Video games represent creative and cultural output and the number of people playing them, and the amount of time those people devote to them, has grown consistently throughout the past several decades.

And so we look for barometers to use to point this out to people. Well, I think we got a big one recently. Ukraine, suffering from a war of aggression by a thuggish Vladimir Putin, has called on the gaming and esports organizations of the world to initiate something of a gaming embargo against Russia.

Mykhailo Fedorov, the Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, has publicly called on “all game development companies” to “temporarily block all Russian and Belorussian accounts” in response to Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

In a tweet from his verified account, Fedorov also called on esports platforms to “temporarily stop the participation of Russian and Belorussian teams and gamers in all international esports events and cancel all international events holding [sic] on the territory of Russia and Belarus.”

Now, if such actions were implemented, they would be a mirror to many other corporate and cultural actions already taken on the internet and among IRL sports leagues and organizations throughout the world. The point isn’t that such an action would be novel. Rather, the point is that Ukraine at least sees gaming in the same cultural categories as these other cultural outputs. Whether Ukraine is right about that is something we may get to see answered in real time, as Federov has said this call comes as a way to motivate Russian citizens by denying them cultural output that is definitely in high demand.

These moves, Fedorov suggests, “will motivate the citizens of Russia to proactively stop the disgraceful military aggression” by the Russian government. “In 2022, modern technology is perhaps the best answer to the tanks, multiple rocket launchers… and missiles.”

Whether this works as intended is yet to be seen. First the gaming embargo would have to be initiated and then we’d have to watch how the Russian citizenry reacts. Still, gaming culture in Russia and Ukraine is strong. There are hundreds of game companies with offices in Ukraine, for instance. This, combined with actions that Apple and other tech companies have taken, would certainly be felt on the ground in Russia. Admittedly perhaps not as much as the global community coming together, amazingly, with the seeming goal of obliterating the Russian economy as much as possible, but still it would be felt.

And, while this is far less important, even the call for this places video games in the cultural stratosphere it deserves.

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Comments on “Ukraine Calls For Video Game Blockade Against Russia To Motivate Its Citizenry”

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David says:

Re: Re: Your theory does not hold water

Because that will motivate them to rise up against Putin and dethrone him. Currently Russians still have bread and the games. Take them away, and Putin is in for some really bad time.

Yeah, like it worked with Nazi Germany. Forget it: Russians are not allowed to disseminate the truth (15 years penalty, just been signed into law). So while they may know about it, it cannot enter the public discourse and lead to concerted action. And the whole structures under Putin will continue his course even if he were to suffer a heart attack.

It is not the Ukraine that is in need of a denazification.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Forget it:

Forget it: Russians are not allowed to disseminate the truth

If the old USSR could not prevent the circulation of banned books, in paper form no less, what hope does Putin have in the Internet age? There will still be Russians about who know how to circulate banned information, using paper if necessary.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I’m sorry. I’m not really understanding how smuggled books stop tanks or mortars.

I don’t really understand how a mob of teens, deprived of video games, is going to overthrow their “elected” despot, any more than a group of deluded Trumpists were able to overthrow an American election.

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the sword speaks louder in any specific conversation. And policy in Russia is not very much influenced by popular support.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Entirely different?

Ok, we have a Führer who massaged the Constitution into assigning him interminable leadership rights, who has written deluded political treatises about how his homeland deserves to reign a third Reich after the historical empire followed by a now defunct modern-time empire. He entertains secret police forces, free discourse and the free press is prohibited, dissenters are sent into labor camps or get killed by special agents not-so-secretly. With the doctrine of the inherent superiority of his Volk, he rolls over neighboring countries because their people don’t deserve living on their grounds. They are treated as subhumans and are eradicated if they don’t cooperate, or even then.

With regard to learning from history, I find the situation embarrassingly not entirely different.

The problem is that Russia is way larger than Germany. Even post-USSR, it is the largest country in the world. That makes the recipes for ending WWII unsuitable for WWIII.

David says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Cultural differences?

Just a reminder: Germany was the country where the age of Enlightenment really developed, with religious tolerance being a major cultural topic. It didn’t matter. If the government structures and government support of culture and art forms and media are allowed to take hold enough to direct public discourse, it takes a very dedicated and entrenched populace to deflect course. And the longer you let authoritarianism and fascism fester, the harder it becomes to effect any changes.

Fascism is the doctrine of state interests trumping individual interests, rights, and considerations. The more it ingrains itself into a political system, the harder it becomes for individuals to work against those tendencies as working against those tendencies is making you an enemy of your system and an anarchist, and that’s very easy to paint as unpatriotic.

It happened in Germany, it happened in Russia, actually multiple times since it basically happened in a multitude of countries calling itself communist pretty fast, even if the origins of the respective revolutions/regimes were intended to effect the opposite.

It’s a reason we need Ukraine. They know and cherish what they are fighting for yet.

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John Smith says:

Is Timothy Geigner ready to be diagnosed with prostate cancer?

I saw your article that bashed Josh Hawley for pointing out the war on men. If you get prostate cancer, you will learn that feminists and Democrats made sure that many times more taxpayer dollars are spent on breast cancer than prostate cancer. If that happens, you will grasp that Senator Hawley is right – that there obviously is a war on men.

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This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

There is no validity to your point. Whether or not there is more funding for breast cancer than prostate cancer has literally fuck all to do with whether or not video games and porn are part of the “war on men” or if there’s a “war on men” at all. You are a deluded sad child of a person.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Rocky says:


You know what would increase funding for prostate research? That men stop being “manly” and actually fucking go to a doctor once in a while for check ups.

The men did it to themselves because women go to a doctor or a gynecologist regularly and thus their problems are noted more frequently.

Men on the other hand, they’ll gladly suffer to keep up manly appearances until it’s to late to treat an affliction.

This pattern is repeated all over the world, and if you think feminists in the US and the Democrats have that kind of influence it only means you are an idiot who leaps to the most convenient excuse that fits into your myopic worldview.

“The war on men”, there is no real war on men, we did it to ourselves by being “manly” men. That Josh Hawley thinks computer games and porn has something to do with is just an idiot grasping at any kind of moralizing argument that will resonate with some types of people.

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John Smith says:

Re: Re: Rocky, the Dems are aligned with feminists that don't care about men

Do you have ANY clues about reality? The Democrats have aligned with feminists, and turned their backs on America’s men. They created the Office of Women’s Health, but ignored men’s health. Which is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause, in case you didn’t know that.
Men DO speak up, and they are told to buzz off….and the likes of Timothy Geigner mock men like Senator Hawley that DO speak up about the men.

bhull242 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

While I agree that his point is wrong, I disagree with your reasoning, which is an example of the genetic fallacy.

The main problem with his point is that Tim doesn’t make fun of Hawley for his position on men’s health but for his positions on free speech, the internet, and technology, which are completely unrelated.

Second, the issue is for men who may have prostate cancer or other health issues failing to speak up to their doctors, not for men in general failing to speak up to the government.

There are other issues, but that should do it for now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Strange to assume imposing inconveniences from abroad will motivate ordinary Russians to “overthrow Putin”. They are already resisting without your “help”.

The typical rationale for sanctions has been, “it will hurt the government, and if it hurts the people as well, then that’s an unfortunate side effect”. I don’t agree with that, but it’s strange to see people openly say “we want to hurt the people too, actually”.

David says:


Whatever else the sanctions achieve, they are effective at getting the message out “this is actually a big deal, contrary to what your leaders and media want to make you believe”.

There does not appear to be an exit strategy for Putin, but there may be for Russia. But it’s a long-winded way, given the inner political changes Putin installed in the last decades, and it isn’t clear that anything short of WWIII will get anywhere. The more stark and immediate the contrast between “life before and after we invaded Ukraine” is, the more it may help to start off movements that end achieving anything. Once you reach “it’s always been this way” state, you don’t have a lot of hope left for a change to the better.

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Anonymous Coward says:

I love how Americans always tell on themselves in due time. You all harp on freedoms and the second you get resistance to your bs narrative the true colors come out.

Things like this is why the Great Firewall of China has been a massive success story. For the exact same reason you outlined in this article, lil this damn country hasn’t dealt properly with all of the deaths it’s managed to cause to it’s own populace and here you all are getting boners to satisfy your irrational anti-comunism to such a degree that you don’t mind arming Ukranian nazis.

Anonymous Coward says:


Yes, the Azov battalion exists and Neo-Nazism has grown since 2016, and probably earlier, especially for Ukraine, whom, I dunno, have had their land stolen from them from, I dunno, RUSSIA?

War may make for strange bedfellows, but it’s not like China thinks Russia is an ally.

Have you played Genshin Impact? Fantasy Russia is cast as the antagonists and keeps getting their butts outsmarted, outmanipulated and in one case, straight up SLAUGHTERED with raw power.

Even one of their agents finally decides to book it and join the protagonists. Great showing in that game.

Just one example.

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