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MP explains why Russia may block ‘World of Tanks’

The developers have recently announced an in-game campaign to raise money for Kiev

‘World of Tanks’ – a popular war-themed multiplayer online game – might soon face a ban in Russia, the deputy head of the Russian State Duma’s information policy committee, Anton Gorelkin, said on Thursday. The company behind the acclaimed video game might be in violation of new legislation on “enemy financing,” he added.

Russia should “stop sponsoring Western gaming studios,” Gorelkin declared in a Telegram post, suggesting officials create a welcoming environment for domestic game developers to encourage them to provide “worthy alternatives” to their Western counterparts.

The lawmaker also pointed out that ‘World of Tanks’ might well fall within the scope of legislation that would soon come into effect. “I would not be surprised if the Prosecutor General’s Office [demands] a ban on such games after the law comes into force,” he said.


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The MP was referring to a bill on banning any information resources collecting money for an enemy amid an armed conflict. The legislation, which was adopted by the State Duma on Wednesday, would require restrictions to be imposed against any websites or apps either collecting money for a side of the conflict Russia is fighting or spreading information about the ways to provide such funding to Russia’s enemies.

The legislation will be applicable if Russia is engaged in an armed conflict or conducts an anti-terrorist operation or is involved in any other action requiring the deployment of its military forces.

The bill has not yet been passed by the Russian Federation Council – the upper house of the nation’s parliament – or signed by the president. Financing or providing material and technical assistance to a foreign state with the aim of undermining Russia’s national security is already punishable in the country with up to a life sentence.


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Gorelkin also accused many Western gaming titles of being “full of Russophobic sentiments.” He claimed World of Tanks – or rather Wargaming Group Limited, the company behind the popular game – was “openly declaring their support for the Ukrainian Armed Forces” and planning to provide the Ukrainian troops with money collected “from Russians, among others.”

On Wednesday, Wargaming did announce what it called “its biggest charity initiative” across all of its titles, which include multiplayer online games for PC, consoles, and mobile platforms. The company encouraged players to buy “special Ukraine-themed bundles with customization elements.” All the money raised is to be handed over to the Ukrainian state-run UNITED24 fundraising platform, the company said, adding that it would supposedly be spent on ambulances.

The company also said that it had previously donated more than $ 1.3 million to Ukraine out of its own funds and as part of an internal fundraising campaign among its employees.


The UNITED24 project does have a section dedicated to “medical supplies,” but it also collects money for what it calls “defense.” A donor is allowed to choose a section it wants to provide the funding for, the platform’s site states.

October 20, 2023 at 03:21AM

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