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Anti-war hotline targets 40 million Russians

A digital phone network has been set up that allows Russian speakers and expats from around the world to call citizens of the Motherland directly, and inform them of the atrocities being committed in their name by Vladimir Putin in Ukraine.

#CallRussia is aiming to contact 40 million Russian citizens, in what the campaign organizers described as an initiative “to bypass Vladimir Putin's propaganda and information blackouts, activating the Russian diaspora around the world to arm Russians with facts about Putin's brutal and illegal assault on Ukraine.”

The campaign has been orchestrated by what it describes as “a global network of professionals in technology, advertising and communications” headquartered in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania – itself a potential next target should Russia succeed in conquering Ukraine.

Together the experts have compiled a database of Russian phone numbers, and coded a technology platform assigning these to Russian-speaking volunteer callers from all over the world.

‘Horror and lies’

"Vladimir Putin rains horror on Ukraine and blacks out information sources that could reveal his lies,” said Paulius Senūta, a campaign organizer based in Vilnius. “#CallRussia will personally connect Russians and volunteers for the most important conversations of their lifetimes.”

It is hoped that raising awareness of the true nature of Putin’s invasion among ordinary Russians will inspire them to protest the war in ever greater numbers, putting pressure on the Kremlin to cease hostilities.

"One conversation cannot overcome Putin's evil propaganda, but 40 million might,” said Senūta. “Russians empowered with truth and compassion are the only ones who can stand up against Putin's lies and end this war."

Russian-speaking volunteers should visit www.callrussia.org to be assigned an individual phone number. The website will also “provide peaceful and non-confrontational guidelines for conversation designed to combat Russian disinformation, and track the outcome of calls, as well as collect suggestions for further campaigns to end the war and support the people of Ukraine.”

Putin killing Russians, too

Senūta stressed that the victims of Putin’s imperialist war are not only Ukrainian but also his own people. To that end, the Ukraine government has set up a hotline of its own, to allow concerned relatives of Russian soldiers missing in action or incommunicado to learn more of their whereabouts, it was reported by CNN.

The #CallRussia campaign comes hard on the heels of other initiatives such as Squad303, a digital tool that allows one to send text messages to randomly selected Russian citizens informing them of the war in Ukraine. Visual material is also being used in the fight against Putin’s homegrown propaganda, with archives of photos of the conflict being made publicly accessible to Russians online.

"Putin lies to Russians about where their sons are being sent to die and the atrocities being committed in their names,” said Senūta. “#CallRussia is an information service that will bypass Putin's propaganda machine and deliver verifiable facts that empower decent Russians to stand up and forge a path for peace. The world is counting on them."

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