Group launches ‘Call Russia’ campaign to counteract pro-Kremlin media narrative

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A group of Lithuanians on Tuesday launched a campaign to encourage Russians abroad to call 40 million compatriots back home and talk to them about what is happening in Ukraine.

The campaigners say they are hoping that direct contact will bypass the narrative in pro-Kremlin media and change the minds of ordinary Russians so as to eventually put an end to the conflict.

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The initiative, dubbed “Call Russia,” has a database of 40 million randomly chosen Russian telephone numbers. A new number pops up every time a user clicks on the campaign website.

One of the campaign’s founders, Paulius Seniuta, said he had spoken to three people he knew in Moscow and the conversations were “very difficult.”

“These people are in completely different information space and have radically opposing views,” said Seniuta, a marketing specialist.

“Sometimes it seemed that we are actually from different planets.”

The website offers tips for callers. It says there should be no “scolding” or “offending” and asks them to be prepared to listen to a differing point of view coming from the person they are calling.

“We ask people to refrain from being confrontational and trying to explain who is right and who is wrong,” Seniuta said.

“We urge people to speak about the tragedy of human suffering, people dying, women who are forced to give birth in metro stations,” he added.

The human tragedy “is the thing everyone, hopefully, agrees on, whatever the country they live in.”

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