While we only need to turn on a TV or hop onto Twitter to see the devastation Vladimir Putin is causing in Ukraine, it can be easy to forget that Russian citizens don’t necessarily have that kind of freedom. For most people, their news comes via state-run media outlets—meaning that Putin and his Kremlin cronies are the ones creating the narrative. While their increasingly unhinged president continues to wage war with Ukraine, most Russians aren’t seeing the devastation he is creating AND they’re being fed lies about the reasons their friends and family members are being sent off to die in a perhaps unwinnable war. To get any sort of anti-Putin sentiment out into the world, protestors have had to get creative. One brilliant way they’ve done that: Leaving five-star restaurant reviews that are all about Russia’s tyrannical leader.
As The Daily Beast reports, many of Russia’s most popular bars and restaurants have been hit with a wave of five-star reviews via Google and other review sites, in which the “diners” in question skip the appetizer completely and go straight to the main course by sharing the real news of the deadly attacks Putin is masterminding against neighboring Ukraine. If you’re wondering what the specialty is at Moscow hotspot Romantic, for example, The Daily Beast notes you’ll find that “5,800 Russian Soldiers died today, 4,500 yesterday. Stop your aggression, don’t let your kids suffer, if you go to war you will not come back.” (According to some media outlets, Russian mothers are claiming their sons were tricked into military service and didn’t know they were going to war.)
Go to Google Maps. Go to Russia. Find a restaurant or business and write a review. When you write the review explain what is happening in Ukraine.
Idea via @Konrad03249040
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) February 28, 2022
Wow, interesting tip circulating on how to fight the state media propaganda inside Russia. Go to Google Maps, find a restaurant in a Russian city, & leave a review explaining what is really happening. I just looked up a few restaurants in Moscow and yes, people are doing this! pic.twitter.com/EelTRT57w9
— Vlada Knowlton (@VladaKnowlton) March 1, 2022
Here’s a Trip Advisor review for the Hotel Metropole in Moscow pic.twitter.com/MlZU8gWaYX
— Steluc Brooks #FBPE (@StelucBrooks) March 1, 2022
While word of the tactic has spread on social media, and people have encouraged others around the world to let Russia’s citizens know what is really happening, some platforms have caught onto the trend—and are flagging the “reviews.”
Whether via a glowing review of Moscow’s swankiest restaurant or other means, the message is getting through—as evidenced by the number of Russian citizens seen risking their own lives to protest their tyrannical leader. On Sunday, according to Reuters, Russian police arrested more than 2,000 protestors in 48 cities across the country for speaking out publicly against Putin.
(Via The Daily Beast)