Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

'Police-Detecting' Ad Helps Italian Store Owner Beat Russian Sanctions (Video)

Police approach the rotating ad in Moscow

The owner of an Italian market in Moscow has come up with a unique way of bypassing Russia's laws on sanctioned European products, creating an advertising board that shows an entirely different image when approached by police.

The advertising board, which promotes "forbidden Italian delicacies in Moscow," is equipped with software that can identify policemen and rotate to show a new image promoting Russian dolls when they are near, according to a video posted on YouTube.

"Introducing the first advertisement that doesn't want to be seen. For ordinary people, it advertises the forbidden Italian delicacies … but for those who shouldn't see it, it changes to a typical Russian ad," says a voiceover accompanying the video.

The video shows workers at the Don Giulio delicatessen assembling the "police-detecting" software before placing it on an advertisement board, just 250 meters from Russia's Ministry of Interior Affairs.

While nothing happens when plain-clothed passersby walk past the board, if someone in a police uniform approaches, the advertisement immediately rotates to show the matryoshka dolls, the video shows.

The Moscow Times could not immediately verify the authenticity of the "police-detecting" advertisement.

Last August, Russia introduced a year-long ban on most fresh food imports from the EU, Norway, Australia, the U.S. and Canada in response to Western sanctions against Moscow over the annexation of Crimea and its support for rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables all fall under the ban, which expires Aug. 7 but could be renewed.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more