Ukraine's Invasion
Something you can do free, in 10 minutes

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has horrified
and seemingly left the average non-Russian helpless.
Yet there is something many of us can do and there is
not an unrealistic chance that it might just
sow the seeds of change. Are you up for it?



There is no point going into the hows, whys and wherefores of Putin's invasion of Russia.  We have all seen the news, read the papers and accessed some of the online media.  What is clear is that very many in Russia actually buy into the Kremlin's propaganda even if there are a very few who bravely (it is against the law) speak out against it. Indeed, in the early stage of the invasion over 30 Russian SF professionals, led by Sergey Lukyanenko (a 2023 SF Worldcon Guest of Honour), have published a statement in support of the invasion, Putin, and conduct of the Russian army.

Kakiv City Hall before and after Russian special operations in March 2022

The reason for this support is largely two-fold.  i. years of propaganda (both direct and cultural) and  ii. the removal of opposing voices and Russia's independent media as well as the recent cutting off access to non-Russia news and major international social-media platforms.  This last means that the average Russian simply does not know what is going in Ukraine other than the version fed them by the state.

There is little point engaging in discussion with such people, but what can be done is sow a small seed of doubt. Undoubtedly, some of you will have contacts (perhaps professional or SF fan contacts) or friends or acquaintances in Russia. You may not be able to argue with them, you certainly can't send them links to foreign news of YouTube video (the Kremlin has blocked them) but you can send two short videos by e-mail attachment. Even if out of curiosity, though not all, many recipients of such an e-mail sent by someone they know will be viewed.

The first video is a news item, not on the war itself but, on the average Russian's perception of the war. Russian's who have bought into their state propaganda will dismiss any other view of the war but they can recognise the veracity of their own perceptions.  If this short news item rings a vague bell as to "Hey, that's what I think," then maybe they will question the news item's other message as to why  Russians think that way.

The second video is a short message to the Russian people by Prime Minister Johnson.  Now, Johnson may not be your idea of a good politician but, as was signalled in the cult, SF classic Dark Star (1974), a concept's validity does not depend on its origin.  Here, in this case, he is  making a valid point, so just go with it.

You can download both videos from YouTube to your PC.

The URLs are here.

Video 1:

Video 2:

If you do not know how to download YouTube videos then use a good, free online YouTube downloader.  Currently, a reasonably good one is

A little way down the screen there is a box in which to paste a URL (web address).

Paste in the first of the above two YouTube URLs and hit return. It will take a few seconds as accesses and processes the video. The screen will change and there will be a number of options given you to as to the file format to download.

This usually works but if you get an advert screen just hit 'refresh' and, if needs be, reload.

When the screen changes you will see a picture from the video and to its right a series of boxes, each of which are file format options.

The green boxes are mp4 files. And usually the second green box is the 360 resolution option, which is the one you want.

Click on that and wait.

Again, this usually works but if you get an advert screen just hit 'refresh' and, if needs be, reload.

Allow for it to download to your download folder.

Then repeat for the second YouTube URL.

Once downloaded to your PC, you can then attach these videos to an e-mail to send.

Regarding the covering e-mail message, there is little point arguing your case or being abusive, or being lengthy.  Be concise, friendly and polite.  In case it helps, the below is the wording one of us used in their message sends.

Hi [insert name]

Hoping that all is well with you.

I know things seem a little different over at your
end: I do understand there is a perceptual divide. But,
as you cannot access parts of the internet, I thought I'd
share the attached with you.

You may not agree with these but I thought you'd like to
see, if only to know what is out there: knowledge - even of the
uncomfortable/different is everything.


Then attach the two videos to the message.

These days most e-mails allow up to 25 or 30MB worth of attachments, and these together (at 20MB) are well below this limit.

Of course, if you have your own form of words then that would be better: you know your own Russian contacts and friends.

Equally of course, not all Russian friends and contacts will respond to these videos, but equally some will. If this causes just a few to question the Russian State's propaganda and seek out world news, and then spreads the news among their own close circle, then this can only help.

Finally, it may be that you are already doing something in your own way about the suffering Russia is causing. If so, then good on you. However, it is arguably better to do as much as possible. So if you do have Russian contacts, or know of people who do, then do consider this line of action. It is free and it will only take 10 minutes.

Thank you for reading this, and good luck.


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[Posted: 22.4.20 | Contact | Copyright | Privacy]