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Russian E-Commerce Platforms Block Anti-War Goods

Valery Sharifulin / TASS

Russian e-commerce websites have started blocking products carrying anti-war symbols and messages in favor of pro-war items, independent media reported Wednesday.

“With the invasion of Ukraine, areas previously far removed from politics have started to get politicized,” said Avtozak Live, an independent YouTube and Telegram channel.

The outlet said it has found “thousands” of ads for war-related queries on the popular online marketplaces Wildberries and Ozon, “hundreds” on the classifieds website Avito and “dozens” on Yandex Market.

The items range from clothes with wartime symbols — such as the Latin letters “Z” and “V” — to drone repair shops tailoring their services for war purposes.

Online sellers not directly associated with the war also provide discounts to the veterans of what Russia calls its “special military operation” and their relatives.

“Even a tombstone maker created mock-ups for tombstones to those who ‘died in the special military operation’,” Avtozak Live said.

SberMegaMarket, a subsidiary of the Sber banking and tech giant, was the only online platform where Avtozak Live said it was unable to find pro-war products for sale.

Meanwhile, a seller who tried posting an ad-selling a badge with the phrase “no war” had their post permanently blocked.

“The ad contains inaccurate information or signs of speculation on a socially important subject,” an attached image of Avito’s automated message said.

Avito declined to respond to Avtozak Live's requests for comment, the outlet said.

Anti-war products still make it onto some of the platforms despite what appears to be an effort to drown them out, the outlet said.

Ozon and Yandex Market were the only platforms that displayed searches for goods with anti-war symbols, but Avtozak Live said there were “no more than a dozen such ads.”

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