Clicks that send a message.
If you watch content from Russian YouTube channels, then you’ve probably noticed several directions owners have taken since their country invaded Ukraine on February 24th.
Depending on how they handled the new global situation, I either continued watching — in the hope that they will still be able to monetize their videos — or have unsubscribed, as a form of disapproval regarding their social stance and behavior.
Let me explain.
Note: This article only refers to those YouTubers who maintained a neutral or anti-war stance. Those who support Vladimir Putin’s genocide never had me as a subscriber anyway, and many of those channels are more than likely suspended by now.
Many YouTubers started documenting their new life in Russia, especially the changes that occurred after the international sanctions kicked in.
They are an important source of information from the area, I support their actions, and I am still subscribed.
Others share — as much as they are allowed to — their thoughts on the matter, their fears, and hopes for the future.
They are the ones who can help other Russians see the events in Ukraine from a new perspective, one that can eventually bring about much-needed action and change.
I cheer for them. Still subscribed.
“Business as usual” or paused channels.
They either try to avoid repercussions from their abusive government, and prefer not to address the war in Ukraine, or are still processing the current context.
I am OK with both reactions. This is an unprecedented situation, we need time to adjust.
The owner left Russia, uploads rarely, and mainly to let their subscribers know how they are, and what their next steps will be.
I detailed in a previous article why I consider Russians who fled the country, cowards.
You can read it here:
However, I also consider there are levels to this cowardice.
The one in Scenario 4 I can accept as a coping mechanism. Not a great one, but still, self-preservation.
Subscribed, for now.
This is it. This is where I unsubscribe.
I find it a matter of social responsibility to send a message that this behavior is insensitive.
It’s the “I left Russia. Check out my travel vlogs!” channels.
These are the YouTubers who treat the present context as an opportunity to grow their online presence and boost their earnings.
Should one make the best of any life context? Sure, but not when there is such a great contrast between your actions and what is happening to someone else.
Russians fleeing Russia are seen as refugees and victims of Putin, just like Ukrainians.
Yes, they are victims of their regime, but when considering the tragedy in Ukraine, these two types of victimhood support no decent comparison.
Russians have choices. Ukrainians’ lives have been destroyed. You cannot compare the stress of having to move to another country because you’re too big of a coward to stand up for your rights in your motherland, with the torture and murder of civilians in Ukraine.
You’re in a new country and you start “exploring”? You act as if you’re on a vacation, shooting videos about the culture, the food, and available entertainment? Then bye. I do not want to support you. I don’t want you to gain an audience or make money from a situation where you demand victim status but act as if you’re on holiday.
It’s disrespectful. I may consider resubscribing when your decency makes a comeback.
Until then, I hope you’re safe but I really don’t want to see what you’ve been up to.
Thank you for reading.