The control of information flow by American tech companies during Russia-Ukraine war is scary

Leonard Sengere Avatar
Putin Russia

We are living in the Information Age. When I first heard that term, I thought it was cute and did not think much about its implications. The past few years, and the first two and half months of 2022 especially, have revealed what the information age really entails. 

The information age started in the mid 1900s and “access to and control of information” is the defining characteristic of this age. Some define it as, “an economy primarily based upon information technology.” It is also called the digital age, computer age or new media age.

Access and control of information has always been important throughout history. What changed in the mid 1900s is that new technologies allowed us to do this at a scale never before seen in human history. 

Our reliance on this technology that has truly allowed for the global village only grew as the years went by. We take it for granted but it is ridiculous that we can sit through the same lecture with someone 10,000km away. Or that we can browse through ancient texts from different civilizations from the comfort of our homes.

That involves access to information and we are thankful for it. Today, in most of the world, the main cause of ignorance is just unwillingness to learn. The information is readily available with the click of a button. Hence why the United Nations classified internet access as a basic human right. 

Access to information has transformed lives, economies and the world at large. However, there is that second and more important aspect of the information age that we love to ignore – control of information.

The control of information

He who owns the medium through which information is shared controls the information. Unfortunately for the world, most of the advancements in information technology came from only a few countries. The United States being chief among those countries.

From the United States army through DARPA coming up with TCP/IP and the ARPANET. To Xerox and its Ethernet protocol, Xerox network system, PARC universal packet and other advancements. American colleges were also integral in the development of the internet.

While players from other countries contributed to the creation of the internet as we know it today, there is no denying the Americans played a significant role. To make it worse for the rest of the world, the American effort was three-pronged – the government, academia and the private sector all played huge roles. 

It is no surprise then to find that, decades later, American companies still have a degree of control over the internet. 


The largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) own the largest portions of internet infrastructure including network access points, extensive cabling, routers etc.

Top tier ISPs include; the American CenturyLink, Cogent, GTT, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. And players from other countries like Telia Carrier, NTT, Tata, Singtel, Telecom Italia Sparkle and others.

The other American companies that have control of the internet but are not Tier 1 ISPs are Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook. These 4 companies now own about 10% of all submarine cables.

Even when it comes to the work being poured into new age satellite internet, the Americans are at the forefront. We saw Ukraine beg Starlink for satellite internet access after the war disrupted their internet. Facebook (Terragraph) and Google (Taara) are also working on other ways besides cables to provide internet access. 

Data centres, server farms, cloud services

Data centres host computing and storage systems to enable the delivery of web services. They are important for the internet as it is today. Like they say, data centers are where cloud computing lives. 

American companies Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM are joined by the Chinese Alibaba Cloud to make the top five cloud providers in the world. 

Amazon, Microsoft and Google now account for more than 50 percent of the world’s largest data centers across the globe. Talk about dominance.

Of the other largest data centre companies in the world, you will find that most are American.

Internet services themselves

Here is where we actually interact with the internet. There is yet more American dominance here. Everything from Google Search, Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Zoom, WhatsApp and almost all of the other popular services have an American company behind them. 

It extends to the operating systems on our machines; Android, iOS, Linux, Windows and Mac are all American. Even the browsers we use to access the internet services are American, with most of us using Chrome and Safari which have around 88% of mobile browser market share and 82% for the desktop.

As you can see, we are at the mercy of the Americans. As Russia found out the hard way. We cannot even keep track with all the companies cutting Russia off from vital services. See this article on some of the actions most of the American companies have voluntarily taken to protest the Ukraine invasion.

The information war

One particular sub-war we are seeing is that of information. For years we have observed the big tech companies in the US flex their power to control what can or cannot be said on their platforms. 

Their politicians pressured them into censoring viewpoints they didn’t like and Big Tech resisted for a while but then caved and proceeded to go beyond where we thought the line would be. 

It all started with Donald Trump running for president and freaking out liberals. Many felt he used social media to win the election and fought to make sure that never happened again. That same Trump is now in social media purgatory, cut off from all the major social networks.

That was the first major incident of Big Tech stretching their terms and conditions to control what can be said on their platforms. In the years since, words like misinformation, disinformation, fake news, dangerous etc. have been abused to shut down certain arguments.  

As a result, moderators at these American companies hold the power to steer conversation in a certain direction. A simple misinformation label is enough to severely choke a message out. This practice of shutting down one side of the conversation is now in full display in Russia.

No Russian perspective on Russia-Ukraine conflict can be shared

What history teaches us is that we need to know the motivations and rationale of those we disagree with. To this day, we still study who Hitler was and what drove him to the actions he took. We try to understand how he saw the world and then critique his viewpoints.

Let the bad ideas be shared publicly so that all can see how ridiculous they are.

No such thing is allowed today about Russia. On YouTube, even a documentary on Ukraine-Russia relations from years back was flagged. Why, you ask? The documentary shows that this current conflict is not in black and white. There are nuances to the issue that even some in the West were talking about years back. Especially the US and NATO’s role in the tensions.

The Americans fear that if people hear Russia’s side of the story, they might sympathise with them. The story has to be Russia bad, Putin bad, Ukraine good. Note that this could be the case or it could not. In either case, even if people heard Russia’s side of the story, very few would support the invasion of Ukraine and the lives that have been lost. 

We’re reminded of “it’s mostly a peaceful protest” whilst a building was ablaze in the background.

Even with that being the case, the American companies that control the flow of information won’t let you hear what Russia has to say. RT, Sputnik and all Russian sources have been crippled. Try to visit RT’s YouTube channel and you will be told it’s no longer available in your country. Never mind that you are Zimbabwean and only want to know what both sides are reporting about what’s going on so you can get a better picture of where the war is.

The Americans are controlling the narrative. We hear that Russia’s army has been embarrassing itself and Putin may be forced to negotiate as they are unlikely to achieve whatever it is they wanted to achieve. See, we don’t even really know what Putin hopes to achieve, the Americans don’t think we should know. All we need to know is that Putin is a bad bad man.

The Russian media has been reporting the opposite of the narrative we are being fed. They are talking about the war effort going well. Of course, such news has been labeled propaganda. Is it though? We all hope that’s the case but we just don’t know. We could be crossing our fingers thinking the war is close to concluding when it’s just getting started. That’s what sucks when one side of the story is suppressed, we are left wondering what the truth really is.

I fear for Zimbabwe

Russia is a powerful country and yet the tech sanctions have damn near brought it down. If Zimbabwe was ever cut off like Russia was, we would have completely collapsed already. In all this we are reminded that when we rely on any outsider for anything we are vulnerable. That’s the disadvantage of the one world village dream. 

We are but cogs on the world stage, completely at the mercy of the nations that control even a simple messaging app like WhatsApp. Therefore after this war is over, I hope all countries that are not strong US allies realise that that they need to reduce the risk posed by our reliance on American controlled technologies. 

We shall look at Zimbabwe’s chances should American Big Tech cut us off. I don’t fancy our chances.

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  1. fungai

    Thanks for your article but War is wrong and this is 2022. Can you feel what it is like for all those families in Ukraine and Russia who have lost their loved ones? Thousands of lives lost on both sides. War is wrong no matter who wages it.
    And Big tech is not just USA. China also has Big tech companies. The Big 9 -Amazon, Google, Facebook, Tencent, Baidu, Alibaba, Microsoft, IBM and Apple

    1. Mthembo

      Can you feel what it is like for the Russians. A group of mercenaries (NATO) who were formed to “defend” against the Soviet Union, where now piling nuclear weapons and bio weapons on its boarders. The same NATO that refused Putin’s offer to join NATO. The same NATO that signed an agreement saying they will not expand eastward from then Western Germany. The same NATO that has a history of pillaging middle Eastern, African countries and South American ones. I would be concerned too. Wouldn’t you.
      The truth is people are so used to people fed the false narrative that European people are the good guys and they do no wrong. News flash Russia is the only “European” country which did not partake in the slave trade or the colonization of Africa. And remember when the Americans where fighting the Nazis, they where also lynching black people back at home concurrently. Even black soldiers in the same army fighting the Nazis where not treated the same or paid the same. Black people who believe all that western propaganda should be ashamed of yourselves. You are humiliating your ancestors. You are a disgrace to African pride. American law enforcement are busy performing target practice of our black brothers. The Ukrainians are busy forcing our students to fight in a war they know nothing about. And they were not even letting black people board trains. Yet here you are busy singing to the tune of the slave master. Black people like you disgust me. When will you wake up and open your eyes!!!

      1. Uchiha

        Ahh, Slaves and the Slave Trade, what a cheap way to win an argument. Can you use only facts relevant to the Russo-Ukraine conflict though? That’d be the pragmatic way to go about it.

        1. Mthembo

          Are you dumb. I just said NATO was stockpiling nuclear weapons on Russian boarders after signing an agreement saying they will not expand eastward. Russia ask them not to allow Ukraine to join NATO. They refuse and continue making bio weapons next door to Russia. Russia gets uncomfortable and annexes Ukraine the same way it did Crimea, or its in the process anyway.

          1. Daniel

            I dare you to show us a document signed by NATO stating that NATO would not expand eastwards. There is none. What you and Putin and the russians have is just rethoric. Show us where in ANY treaty (or any other agreement) it says such a thing.

            What you refer to treaty is probably the German Treaty (the “2+4 Treaty”), and there is absolutely NOTHING saying that on the treaty SIGNED by the russians themselves. In fact, Gorbachev himself acknowledged that there was none. What it says is that there would be no non-German NATO forces stated in the GDR territory. That’s what it is stated in the treaty and that is what it binds both parties. No such thing is even implied to any other eastern country.

            As for the “spirit” like the russians say, it is all haysay in diplomatic cables and talks between delegations. And yes, it was considered, it was a possibility, but nobody ever implemented such a promise. At the time it was convenient for the americans to not expand eastward as to not burst the USSR dissolution, but today is a different scenario altogether. Of course the German chancellor at the time talked too much, but then again no agreement was ever made and it was all discussed (i.e., CONSIDERED, not promised) at high levels of diplomacy.

            All in all, what we are seeing is a war that is not going according to Putin’s plans, and he was a genius to have done what no other soviet leader managed to do: have the Finns finally realize how dangerous it is to be a neighbour of Russia without nukes.

            And finally, as for the war itself, one has to be very blind to defend what the russians are doing. And let’s not get start on the whataboutisms for the many errors americans also did in the past. As we all know, one error doesn’t warrant or excuse another.

      2. Malcolm Curve

        Urgh stop the lies. Russia was never rejected from joining Nato they are the ones who have been against Nato from the day of its formation up to now.

        Russia was a small boy at the time of the Berlin conference otherwise they would have gladly jumped at the opportunity to exploit African resources. Look at how Russia colonized the middle East and failed dismally in Afghanistan. Russians have a history of spreading communism which breads dictators, corruption, human rights abuses and poverty in every country it touches. Thats why the West always subotages their attempts everytime. Russians are very evil ask anyone who has lived under communist oppression, black people are no exception and we only escaped the hand of Russia because at the time of african colonialism Russia could not sit at the big table. During WW2 Russia’s Stalin even combined forces with Hitler to kill hundreds of millions of innocent people in order to destroy and conquer Europe. There is a lot of evidence now about Russians supporting apartheid south africa when the West had slapped Boers with sanctions over the way they were clamping down protesting black south africans.

        Just stop with the lies. sit down

        1. Leonard Sengere

          See, I love this. Mthembo shared his thoughts on the Russia-NATO conflict. Malcolm Curve countered Mthembo’s arguments. This is what discourse is. Everyone hears the different points of view and see how they stand up to scrutiny.

          Now imagine I moderated this exchange and decided one of the viewpoints was ridiculous and proceeded to censor it. If you found out one side had been censored you would think that it contained crushing arguments that I didn’t want people to hear. Regardless of whether or not that was the case.

          When two competing ideas/stories are scrutinised, one will fall by the wayside. So, no to the West censoring some sides, it’s counterproductive.

          1. Monty

            This is a very narrow minded view of moderation.

            Today it is very easy to pay people to amplify your voice 1000x with so-called troll farms, and tomorrow AI will do it automatically. It just takes money and a disregard for the truth. Imagine if your site was mainstream and Putin saw it. He would flood the comments with thousands of posts similar to what Mthembo wrote. If he used worldwide IPs, an anti-censor stance couldn’t stop it.

            They would drown out real debate.

            Trump also has money and a disregard for the truth. His campaign and his followers paid for all kind of nonsense to be published on social media and liked by fake accounts so big tech’s algorithms propagate them to others. In terms of winning strategy, it was brilliant.

            Just wait a few years until chat bots get more advanced. Social media (including comment sections) will be censoring more and more in an attempt to filter out bots until they become indistinguishable from people, and the online world will be a mess of disinformation…

      3. GG

        It’s not the Americans who started the this slavery business but the Africans and the Arab traders .Get your f….cking facts straight

    2. Leonard Sengere

      I agree Fungai, war is terrible. We all wish they had resolved their differences before resorting to this course of action. As you said, lives have been lost on both sides and the Russians knew that lives would be lost when they invaded. So, why were they adamant to go through with that, knowing the consequences – on human lives at least? The reason can’t be Putin = Bad and irrational. If we are to learn from this we need to have a nuanced discussion about the situation.

      That’s proving hard to do because those that can control the narrative simply won’t let us hear what the Russians are saying. So, the problem is how the war is being covered. One side has the support of the West and no other analysis is allowed. How can we avoid the same in the future if all we are allowed to know is that Putin is a madman?

      And yes, big tech is not just USA but it’s mostly USA. When it comes to social media, which has become de facto media, China is not really a global player. The platforms that the rest of the world uses are mostly American. China is focused on its own over a billion citizens. So, in this information war, Twitter becomes bigger than Tencent.

  2. Hardleton


    I’m an insecure little bitch bully who can’t handle my significantly weaker former victims teaming up with rival superpowers so I had to make little Ukraine mine by force before she got out of my reach by joining the other guys.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The objectivity is just oozing from this one. But yeah, that’s one way to put it. Or it could be similar to the Cuban Missile Crisis when the USA freaked out when Russia deployed ballistic missiles in Cuba. It was understandable that the USA freaked out. Nobody wants an adversary setting up shop in striking distance. So, the nuance to the Russia-Ukraine war is the perceived threat of Ukraine joining NATO to the Russians.

      Who wouldn’t be insecure? And before someone cries out, this is in no way support of the invasion. It’s simply trying to objectively understand what led us here.

  3. Executioner

    This article deserves a standing innovation. It is done ✅ quite well . It’s all propaganda through out these social media companies.The real story is behind the curtain.thanks leanard Sengere for the arty

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The suppression of one side of the story sucks. It actually works against the suppressors. When we see someone being silenced we subconsciously (or consciously at times) assume they must have some truth that the powers that be cannot stand. By silencing the Russian side, we all wonder what it is they are afraid we will hear. So, whether or not Russia’s position is reasonable, a significant number of people will believe it has to be.

      They should just let us hear whatever it is, after all the West claims it’s all gibberish.

  4. DK

    Control of information is a tool which even those who do not own medium of communication use to gain control. An international law should be put down to censor those countries who throttle the internet or deny their people internet access when their interests are threatened. With all the technological advancements, Russia should by now have had rivals to the American ICT giants, and even a rival to the internet. There are very bright minds in Russia who have been very good at producing cracks, hacks and some of the most difficult computer viruses and antiviruses.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      You’re right there. Russia should have followed China’s playbook. Do whatever it takes to have your own ICT giants. This being a global world and the internet being a collaborative effort, you will still be vulnerable but not to the extent that Russia proved to be.

      Russian hackers and programmers are extremely skilled. Russia should have enabled a proper industry to sprout up. Not to rely on Western solutions.

      Now one looks at the dismantling of Huawei by the US under a new light. China’s efforts to exert control over the internet and internet infrastructure has been met with resistance from the US. They know that this power is almost as good as nuclear power in today’s world, after all nuclear only works as a deterrent, you can’t really use it willy nilly.

      1. Anonymous

        couldnt agree more

  5. UnRuly Chief

    great and informative article…this war is more of the West against Russia more than it is of Russia against Ukraine…we need to start investing in our own tech as Africans…i know the full story im saddened by the loss of innocent lives and displacements and the distraction of property and livelihoods but understand Putin and sympathize with Russia

    1. Leonard Sengere

      That’s the great take away. We need our own infrastructure, own platforms. At least so we have a little independence.

      1. UnRuly Chief

        that is very critical and of course they will fight against Africa’s indipendence…they killed Gaddafi for that we need stategic partners and allies to achieve this…i go for the famous “Look East Policy” with different terms obviously…we need to invest in tech more than ever before

        1. Leonard Sengere

          Unfortunately you’re right. Watch how even China’s Huawei was cut down to slow their growing influence in tech. Gaddafi for all his many many faults also preached the United States of Africa and for that and his proposed currency regime for Africa and the oil reserves in his country, he died.
          So Gaddafi and Huawei show us that there will be resistance to efforts to gain true independence and so we will need allies for sure.

          1. UnRuly Chief

            unortunately this wont be easy to realize because Africa is divided mainly between the so called revolutionary parties and the new democrats which are still largely opposition parties…revolutionary parties are largely connected to the East mainly because historial liberation ties while the Democrats depend on the West…the alone proves that Russia-American war deeply embedded in virtualy the whole world…either you align with the West or with the East (loosely translated either you befriend America or natuarlly you are aligned to Russia and China

  6. 20

    Good article…the Huawei USA conflict is a good example…with both sides wanting control…it’s own of the reasons I hardly use Facebook but alas I’m still tied to WhatsApp…is there no way to break these monopolies

    1. Leonard Sengere

      The other powerful countries let America get too strong, controlling the medium we use for communication. It’s going to be difficult to get ourselves from underneath their thumb. We all rely on US tech and innovation it is scary but we don’t quite have viable alternatives. Some might argue that in some cases we have African, or even Zimbabwean solutions but for some reason we still prefer the American ones. I must concede though that in most cases the American options are better but we gotta be willing to endure inferior products that our own.

      1. The Empress

        That’s the problem right there. All people are willing to use an inferior product if they have to pay for it, but if the product is free?
        They will accept nothing but the best (Facebook/WhatsApp vs Sasaai for instance) so now all these alternatives have an uphill struggle. First they have to think up an idea that’s new and innovative enough to attract people to their platform, and then develop as fast as possible to grow to decent extent all the while hoping that the big boys don’t outright copy their idea and crush them before they become a threat.
        So even if some homegrown alternative ever manages to survive there’s still the next solution for the big boys, the almighty Dollar they’ll be offered so much money it would be an actual sin to say no thanks.
        And if all else fails. Take offence at something that your own citizens posted on the platform and ban it calling it a threat to national security and thus deplatforming it from the Internet. (Trump tried to do it to TikTok)
        So there are many ways to ensure that control information and the Internet will remain in Western hands

  7. Malcolm Shingirai

    Let Russia be a lesson to us Africans, we need leaders who support growth and prosperity in their nations. This is done through enforcing their freedoms and encouraging their growth. Let’s have an Africa where African startups don’t waste time fighting with corrupt government officials but instead are allowed to thrive. Only then will our people be able to design and invent technology which weans us away from Western dependance. A Ukraine allied to Europe and the US is a great threat to Russia and as such must have known the risk but they chose to forge ahead with the false hope that Europe would fight a nuclear Russia. Insanity.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      +100. This right here is the truth. It is depressing too because we realise we need competent leaders who are not too focused on power retention but rather on building their countries. Our track record in Africa is terrible. That’s too bad because the utopian United States of Africa would be a force. Never going to happen, in our lifetime at least.

    2. UnRuly Chief

      that being said we must also know that even this local start ups will still be abused in almost the same way by our own leaders…look at Econet it is privately own and the biggest player in our Tech industry but wen our political situation is tense or wen it thratens the ruling elite (for instance wen the opposition is mobilizing for rallies or protests) they are forced to slow down or even shutdown internet services. So on top of having our own infrastructure we need strong institutions esp in the judicial sector so that any misguided polices will be challenged

  8. Malcolm Curve

    All it takes is a visit at major discussion forums like Reddit and Quora where many russians come online to discuss their views to know what Putin is trying to achieve. Sources like Reuters and AP news are the world’s most unbiased news sources and they deliver objective facts all the time. It’s very simple, Putin wants to conquer Ukraine and bring back the mighty Soviet Union and also he’s very very afraid of NATO expansion. Above all Putin is a dictator and Nato expansion also means democracy expansion. The russian elite are not ready to accept democracy in their country and they want to protect the status quo which has gained them billions in wealth. Everybody knows about that.

    At the same time Russian media and press are worse than ZBC. The West is trying to protect people from Russian propaganda. It has emerged that Russia assembled a team of tech gurus to spread fake news about their ‘heavenly sent’ special military operation in Ukraine. But they were countered successfully.

    History has shown time and again that whatever the Kremlin says cannot be taken as gospel. If you want you can check it for yourself, visit all Russian news channels online and you’ll be shocked by the level of state praise and rhetoric, in fact Russia has made it illegal in their country for people to speak freely against the state. Yes I understand that the West is shunning Russian media away but even if it was not shunned it will have no impact because they spread hogwash anyway.

    What else would you expect from an ambitious dictator like Putin apart from lies to justify his disastrous gambles with the russian army and putting the world at risk of a nuclear war?

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I agree with some of what you said here. However some of it feels Kool Aidy.
      1. You’re proving the point I was making that the West is making it hard for the average global citizen to even the Russian side of the story. Personally I frequent Reddit and can use VPNs to view the geo-locked content but that’s beside the point.

      2. Reuters unbiased? Mostly, but they have agendas and no prizes for guessing how they lean. Example:

      3. As for the West protecting us from Russian propaganda, they are not our prefects. They are not the overlords that decide what is news and what is propaganda for the whole world. Especially when they are not an impartial judge. Has the West itself never run propaganda to support their foreign policy positions? Uh, where are the weapons of mass destruction that Saddam died for? Where is the evidence that Trump colluded with Russia? Now even the NYT reports the Clinton campaign was responsible for that whole story.
      My point is the West is not this godly entity not capable of lying to look good and further its own interests. Hence we need equal airtime for both sides of the story. Same thing we are calling for in Zim as regards the message of the different political parties. Let’s hear all of it and make up our own minds what makes sense. So, while I agree that we can’t take what the Kremlin says as gospel, we also can’t take what the US says as gospel.

      4. Lastly, you admit that the West is censoring Russian media but dismiss it because you think what the Russians have to say is hogwash anyway. That’s not a healthy position. If the tables were turned and Russia controlled world media, they would censor the Ukrainian/West side of the story, calling it hogwash. Like they are doing within their borders. That’s why we cannot have anyone censored. Let them all tell their lies so we can have proper analysis and debates on it to get to the truth.

      Remember Putin lies, Biden lies, Trump lies, Mnangagwa lies, Chamisa lies. So the ‘ambitious Putin’ as you put it, is not unique in the slightest.

  9. D1vant

    Yeah, great take…. Hopefully the big tech in Liquid intelligent technologies can help us achieve African information independence, take sasai, Buddie beatz etc, let’s support our own

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yes, there is some activity by African countries that needs to be supported so we can have a modicum of independence. The pieces are slowly coming together but a lack of deliberate vision to work towards that goal could delay this effort.
      As citizens we need to sacrifice and support local. In most cases our homegrown solutions are still inferior to the ones developed by billion dollar American companies. But if ours are ever to improve we have to support them.

  10. Objective

    Have failed to share your Russia Today news videos on Bittorrent and Pirate bay? You might travel fox news Tucker Carlson or 700 Club or CBN. Right-wing American Christians believe Putin is the son of God liberating Ukraine from the antichrist.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yeah, if you look hard enough you can find the Russian side of the story. My point is that it should be right where the pro-Ukraine news is – on social media where most of the world now lives. It’s not enough for Zanu to say well if you go to CCC’s website you can read their manifesto (do they have one?).
      My point is the CCC’s message should be available in the same places Zanu’s message is. Not on the Pirate Bay.

  11. Try Dziva

    We are gullible. Take the following statement, “it’s no longer available in your country.” It would take me a second to bypass that nonsense by installing a virtual private network VPN software and change my country on the device to say America. Information rather knowledge is what is missing.
    Ignorance masquerading as “tech” is what’s limiting us. Every hurdle supposedly mentioned in this article can be easily solved by a simple “google.”

    To survive in this world we just have to question everything we hear and are told by media.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      You’re missing the point. All this information can be found if someone has the means and knows how and where to look. Unfortunately, most of the world now gets their news from social media where there is heavy censorship. We may not like that people get their news from social media but that’s reality and we have to act accordingly.

      You are right that we should question everything. Problem is most either can’t or won’t. So, the hurdles you dismissed are real and are too high for most people. The issue is not that the hurdles can be jumped but rather that the hurdles exist. That’s why the narrative through the mainstream channels should comprise different viewpoints in equal measure to allow for analysis and debate. Only then can the lies be exposed.

      Oh, if you changed your location to America through your VPN you would still see the censored version of the story. Only in Russia can you see the Russian side of the story.

    2. The Empress

      This reminds of the days of Jonathan Moyo would pop up on Z TV news frothing at the mouth complaining about all the bad stuff the BBC was saying about the Zim govt. But here’s the thing over 90% of the viewers would’ve to take his word at it because we had no Internet or couldn’t afford DSTV!
      Now you talk of VPN’s and changing location etc etc. You are the 10%!
      To the powers that be, you’re already a lost cause. This ban of Russia and its point of view is meant for the other 90% of the world. Those people are not so sure about the truth of the matter and are not vested enough in the whole thing to go through to go through the hurdles required to find out news about the war. So these people will be given a one sided view of the war and they won’t think too much about it.
      Remember this is just someone looking to keep up with current events not a student studying for university, and your VPN solution will soak up time and data just to find information about something that they may be interested in but don’t really don’t care much about.
      Too much effort for very little gain.
      And for a lot of zimbos the vpn is kept on standby just incase someone has another senior moment nd decides to cut off WhatsApp and nothing else.

      1. BeIT

        Haahhh empress anondiita bho. Interesting reads from all y’all

  12. Andile

    Great article, impeccable analysis. Some important questions raised there

    1. Leonard Sengere

      I’m glad you are not one of those who think the article is a love letter to Russia. There are questions raised by this war and its coverage.

  13. Prince

    Okay- we get your point – you like Russia and are miffed that they are portrayed as or ‘appear’ like the ‘bad guys’
    Well the thing is – THEY ARE! the bad guys. They are the aggressor and they’re ‘side of the story’ is ridiculous. Now most people will call them out and will rightly block them from abusing their podiums to propagate lies, hate and further their murderous war. Whoever likes Russian stories can get plenty – but of course they will be disappointed that it will largely be in dubious company that the most egregious lies will be celebrated as profound truths.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Don’t create a strawman. You purposefully misinterpret the point. You know I don’t like Russia and am not miffed about their portrayal as a result. You know this because I never said so.

      You say their side of the story is ridiculous. Let it be told then and if it is ridiculous people will see it for themselves. We can’t have a few companies from a few countries decide what is ridiculous and then proceed to censor it.

      Most of us do not agree with Russia invading Ukraine but only a few of us are willing to truly understand why it’s happening. If your view is it’s only happening because Putin is a hateful, murderous dictator then you’re being naive. If you think that view of the conflict is enough to help us avoid similar incidences in the future you’re reasoning like a child.

      If you’re not interested in finding out why, that’s okay. At least ask yourself, Why Now? If Putin has always been this terrible man (not defending him here) why did he wait until 2022 to do this.

    2. Prince

      You don’t go to church and ask for the podium to ‘tell’ the murderers ‘side’ side of the story
      Or go to a Trump rally and ask for the podium to speak of the virtues of democracy!
      Equally you cannot demand a platform before decent folk to spew hatred and justify a war on a peaceful sovereign state!
      You can have those conversations in the hinterlands of the fringes – for – good shouldn’t be silenced by evil – neither should evil be put on some painfully contrived equal footing with what is right –

  14. Mabhena

    The author was evidently raised on the “f*ck up and blame the west” school of thought. You can’t whine about American companies when your own government can (and has) just switched off the internet during a working week because of rumour that someone was organizing a protest.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Oh no, this guy doesn’t think the West is perfect – he must be Zanu. That’s how that sounded. But jokes aside.

      You’re strengthening my point Mabhena. I don’t support it here when Zanu does it and I don’t support it when the West does it. If you see no problem with having a few countries (mostly the US) control the narrative then I think you’re the one exhibiting some Zanu-ness.

      Discourse involves integrity in understanding the various viewpoints. Not censorship of different minds. If you can’t see the problem with having a sovereign nation that is beholden to act in its own interests having the power to decide what the world can or cannot hear, I don’t know what to say.

  15. Mabhena

    Kuthwa Russian perspective… You are honestly trying to find news that will help make the fact that millions are being displaced from their homes more digestible? That’s callous man

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Dude, are you saying we shouldn’t study Mein Kampf to understand what led to Hitler’s convictions? We certainly must, so that we can get to the root cause and help disavow those who could also think in those terms, of their conviction.

      You built a strawman. No one is looking for news to make the deaths and displacements digestible. We are looking for answers. What led to this horrible war? What exactly is going on on the ground? To get to those answers we need to hear from both sides.

      It’s not as simple as Putin is bad and Russia is losing. Seriously, it’s never that simple.

      Think of the Land Reform programme in Zimbabwe. We were horrified to see the white farmers kicked out in the way that they were. Some were beaten, some were killed I believe. Most will agree that that was terrible. In trying to understand what led us there and how we can try to avoid it in the future we of course had to look at the broken promises that were made by the British govt. See, that doesn’t absolve or justify the way the Zim govt retaliated, but it paints the whole picture. We can only analyse a situation when we have all the competing ‘facts.’

      If someone is mugged or raped and people prod to understand where and how it happened, they are not trying to make the mugging or rape digestible, they are trying to help reduce the chances of it happening again. They are not sympathising with the mugger or rapists. So, even though that victim was not to blame, they and everyone else can come out of the experience with a lesson. If the lesson is, don’t walk alone at night in some areas, then that’s the lesson. The mugger/rapist is still the bad man in the story but since we cannot rid the world of bad men, we can at least reduce the chances of one on ones with those bad men.

  16. Mnangagwa ED

    Reminds me of how the Ukraine Independent is being pushed on Twitter to appear on every feed. This information censure is f**ked up and annoying.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yeah, the whole thing is annoying. We want to hear the competing ‘truths’ so we can make up our own minds not have some intern at Twitter decide what we should or should not hear.

  17. Denver

    Let’s support local tech, apps, networks & not rely mostly on 3rd parties so that even when WhatsApp stops in Zim we can jump to Sassai

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Yes may man. This whole episode should strengthen our resolve to have our own solutions. We have mooched off others’ innovation and investment for years. Let’s build and support our own.

      1. 3man

        Let’s start by embracing the likes of Chikumbutso Maxwell

  18. The Empress

    So Mr Putin woke up one morning and thought to himself.
    “Violence is not the answer it is the solution”
    So while Putin maybe technically a Dictator (he was elected via election.)(an allegedly rigged election but he was elected!)
    I think that we can all agree that he is not clinically insane. And also the entire population of Russia is not clinically insane. So with that out of the way, aren’t we interested in knowing why Putin felt that waging a war was the only option left? Or why the population so far seems fine with the situation.?
    Oh we can’t because the Russian point of view has been scrubbed entirely from the Internet!
    This new trend of curating the information available to the people of the world is dangerous. And the amount of control that one country has on the various points of access to information is extremely dangerous.
    Now basically the USA can choose what information is released so they can decide for the people of the world what they should be interested in, worried about or whether they should be angry about something.
    And if you can control what the people of the world know you can use them to apply pressure on their govts if those govts don’t want to toe the line. China did this by building the Great Firewall so they could basically directly control the information that people in China could access. The USA was more ambitious and went about in a different way. Their way offers the illusion of freedom but once in a while people bump up against the bars surrounding them. Like now when we see how easily they can shut down the flow of information from someone they disagree with. This has been our reality for quite a while now we just didn’t know it.
    (Bear with me whilst I paint you a picture)
    Lithium is the new oil since the future is electric. So very large amounts of lithium are going to be required to make all those batteries for cars and the like that will power that future. So just like how oil makes the world turn right now lithium will be the energy source of the future. A country with large amounts of lithium can rapidly find itself in the crosshairs of the big boys of the world.
    So Bolivia went through a coup ď ètat in November of 2019, but the world news basically didn’t talk about it. There’s been no talk of sanctions being applied for the toppling of a democratically elected govt just silence from the USA in what the USA government likes to call it’s backyard and also silence from the EU.
    Why is Bolivia important?
    Well Bolivia has in its possession about a quarter of the known lithium, basically dig a hole you get lithium. And the president of Bolivia had the bright idea of nationalising the mining of all lithium in the country and incidentally kicking out of the country the various American companies that were currently mining lithium in the country.
    Lo and behold a the first coup d’ ètat since the failed attempted coup of 1984 occurred and the silence in the Western media was deafening.
    This is I would argue the earliest Alpha Test of the reality we live in right now. Where the USA via its USA based media outlets as well as those in Europe revealed their ability to control the flow of information on a global scale. Now in 2022 we seem to be at the Beta Test where a bit of fine tuning is happening. Next target China or….?
    (Bolivia has had nearly a 190 coup d’ètats in its history! )

  19. The Empress

    It’s a bit of a conundrum.
    For most people in Africa it would be a nightmare to live in the authoritarian regimes of North Korea, China and Russia, and they dream of living the type of lifestyle that they have in the USA.
    But I also know that the various governments of the USA basically threw everything but the kitchen sink to try and stop the people of various countries in Africa from gaining independence and then sponsored quite a few wars on the continent. Whilst the authoritarian regimes in various guises are basically more than half the reason why all the countries in Africa are independent today.
    So when the west profess to be our friends. I have quite a lot of doubts…lol

  20. Sagitarr

    Very interesting thoughts came out of the discourse here. I’m no political/social scientist (happy to be a software engineer) and will not pretend to be one. I read some elementary stuff on the main political/economic theories i.e. capitalism, Leninism, Marxism, socialism and communism. In doing so other interesting terms came up oligarchies, proletariat, Utopia and Dystopia to list just a few. Read these up if you have the interest, time and energy.
    Most thinking on this platform seems Utopian. I submit that control is intrinsic to any functional system on earth (hence the existence of a food chain). Homo sapiens are at the top of this food chain currently. Control leads to suppression of varying levels and maybe “unfair” at times or to other “subsets” but tends to make the maintenance of the status quo much easier on the controllers and may conversely lead to extinction of the controlled.
    I also stumbled upon a 2022 list of oligarchies and Zimbabwe is one of them (the only one in Africa according to the source). The others are Russia, China, Iran, USA, North Korea, Venezuela, Ukraine, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. An oligarchy is a govt where power is held by a select few individuals or small class of powerful people. The West’s sanctions are after the Russian oligarch and proxies. Russia & Ukraine are both headed towards Dystopia.
    Whilst the example of the Garden of Eden came up as a Utopian example most folks can picture a Dystopian scenario – destruction, starvation, post-apocalyptic because they’ve experienced them or learnt from those who survived etc. This brought me to the conclusion that, all existing political/economic systems today will end up being Dystopian because all resources are limited….in the same way that great ancient civilisations perished (e.g. Mesopotamia). Stay healthy and enjoy life whilst you still can, this is a world of illusion.

  21. Anonymous

    Americans are not good people

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