People use Google reviews to tell Russians what’s really happening in Ukraine


People share an ingenious way of letting Russians know exactly what Putin is doing in Ukraine and with his people.

A majority of people in Russia get their news from state television, which portrays their country not as an aggressor in Ukraine but as a victim of the West. Because of this, with all non-state media shut down as well as social media, many may not know how terrible their country’s actions are and how much the people of Ukraine are suffering.

But popping up on social media sites is that handy tip for letting Russians know exactly what’s happening in the war-ravaged neighboring country by leaving business reports in Russian cities.

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It’s not known who first came up with the idea, but posts are circulating on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat with the “useful tip” meaning Russians can see what Vladimir Putin is doing in Ukraine. The stunt comes after masked online “hacktivist” group Anonymous encouraged people to do the same by leaving reviews of Russian companies in a bid to break through state propaganda.

“Go to Google Maps. Go to Russia. Find a restaurant or shop and write a review. When you write the review you explain what is happening in Ukraine,” the group told its millions of Twitter followers earlier this month.

Firefighters extinguish flames outside an apartment building after a Russian missile attack in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, Ukraine – Monday, March 14, 2022

The advice is to find a Russian city on Google Maps before looking for nearby restaurants, shops or other businesses. You can then leave your own review on Google (you can even do it in Russian using Google translator) to tell the true details of events in Ukraine, including Russian rocket attacks on residential buildings and even hospitals in the largest cities.

You can also add images from news websites reporting on the unraveling events in Kyiv, Kharkiv and others. The ploy surfaced when people in Russia say there is no ongoing live coverage of the war in Ukraine on Russian television, even if Russian bombs are falling on Ukraine’s residential areas and Russia’s economy is in a tailspin.

Aside from the disruption to regular television in the early hours of February 24, when Putin announced what he called a “military special operation” in Ukraine, while other scheduled programs continued largely as normal.

A translated review shared on Twitter read: “The food was great! Unfortunately, Putin spoiled our appetites by invading Ukraine. Stand up to your dictator, stop killing innocent people! Your government is lying to you. Stand up! ” and cleaner [sic] and share it with everyone in Russia.”


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