Ukraine’s Digital Ministry requests ban on sale of Atomic Heart shooter over Russian propaganda

4 March, 06:47 PM
The game Atomic Heart promotes the idea of the greatness of Soviet communism (Photo:Mundfish)

The game Atomic Heart promotes the idea of the greatness of Soviet communism (Photo:Mundfish)

Ukraine’s Ministry of Digital Transformation has asked Sony, Microsoft, and Valve to ban the distribution of Atomic Heart, a first-person action-adventure shooter, for romanticizing the Soviet era and the game’s implicit support of aggression against Ukraine, its head Mykhailo Fedorov said on Twitter on March 3.

Fedorov attached the letters sent to Sony Interactive Entertainment, Sony Group, Microsoft, and Valve.

"Official requests to ban sales of the Atomic Heart game. I do believe none of these businesses support [Russia’s] bloody regime, murders, or romanticizing communism. Brand new level of Russian digital propaganda – using the gaming industry," he tweeted.

Video of day

Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Oleksandr Bornyakov told NV Techno that this is not the first step in the fight against the game released by a studio connected to sanctioned Russian oligarch Sergey Kiriyenko. Atomic Heart was released on VK Play, which is owned by his son Vladimir.

Bornyakov said that they were guided by the experience with PayPal that suspended its operations in Russia after a request from the ministry.

The ministry conducted non-public communication regarding the non-distribution of the game in Ukraine. Yet, it did not work, and the ministry decided to proceed more actively by sending official letters to the corporations.

"The publicity and the use of Twitter diplomacy have become the basis of our digital boycott campaign," said Borniakov, "We are using all means to achieve results."

On Feb. 21, the ministry officially spoke out for banning the distribution of digital copies of the game in Ukraine, he said.

Atomic Hearts' primary investors are Gaijin Entertainment and GEM Capital, as previously reported by NV. The former is also said to invest in Krupnokalibernyi Perepolokh (perepolox), Russia’s propaganda channel on YouTube. GEM Capital is based in Russia and owned by Anatoliy Paliy, a former top manager at Gazprom – Russia’s state energy company.

Atomic Heart is set for release in Russia on VKPlay, a digital distribution service owned by the Russian social media platform VKontakte (Russia’s substitute for banned Facebook). VKontakte, in turn, is owned by Gazprom. Gazprom is a major financier of Russia’s illegal war on Ukraine.

In effect, one of the main beneficiaries of game sales will be a company that directly finances Russia’s bloody assault on Ukraine.

The game itself is problematic, with plenty of references to Russia’s current invasion of Ukraine. For example, the game makes use of the “Z” symbol that has become one of the main pro-war symbols in Russia and has been banned in many countries, including the Baltic states.

We’re bringing the voice of Ukraine to the world. Support us with a one-time donation, or become a Patron!

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google News

Ukraine Today
Fresh daily newsletter covering the top headlines and developments in Ukraine
Daily at 9am EST
Show more news