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Thursday, March 10, 2022

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camilia fid3lis nee Patchouli Woollahra

LL needs to look into temporary suspensions of fees for Russians as much as it did for Ukrainians. The people of both countries are united in terms of being massively hindered by the situation, albeit for different reasons. Driving people who never asked for this out with monetary pressures strikes me as a bad move, even if LL has its hands tied on the movement of money to Russian CCs.

Luther Weymann

America's and the world's so-called democracies' response to oppressed people living under military and rich dictators has always been one or two things: 1. Punish the country's citizens with life-destroying financial sanctions. At the same time, the wealthy dictator and their rich friends count their hidden bank money. Or 2. Invade the country with the US military and destroy the country's infrastructure, government buildings, schools, and whatever quality of life was still there. Then the US military leaves and does nothing about the oppressed citizens living under the new oppressive dictator who gets wealthy and repeats the cycle. We selfish, greedy, lustful, envious, gluttonous, wrathful, and slovenly human beings who live on this planet have been in a constant war with each other for millions of years. It's who we are, and that will never change. You've got a few decades of adult life to do something with purpose. Please make the most of it because it always ends before you think it will.

AmandaMagick

This is a very good topic for discussion!!

Lana

I noticed that among Russian SL residents a lot of them are designers.
I think this is because in Russia the level of wages is low, and the Second Life made it possible to earn just like everyone else. Now they have lost that opportunity.

Luther Weymann

Linden Research or whoever owns SL must feel very good about punishing the innocent Russian citizens and SL Residents who must live under the military, secret police, and a dictator. Immediately LR punishes the innocent. So typical of these misguided, mismanaged social justice warrior companies that always attack the most vulnerable and oppressed while claiming they are so righteous for doing so. Over and over and over the SJW community has proven to be nothing less than evil bullies.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

Akirakiyoi raises a fundamental question, which is the unfairness of the whole situation. It's easy to target oligarchs with sanctions — we have their names & addresses, after all. It's much tougher when applying sanctions to all Russians. After all, while we can easily believe that Russian elections are far less rigged than what many believe it to be — in other words, 70% or so of eligible Russian voters did vote for Putin, and wanted his reign as 'dictator-aka-tzar', but that's hardly the whole population of the Russian Federation. A lot simply refuse to vote (for good reasons, too). 30% who appear at the urns did vote against Putin and will continue to do so for as long as Putin allows free elections with secret ballots. That gives — what? Perhaps half of all Russians are not exactly aligned with the regime, and are well aware of the situation in Ukraine and what the West is attempting to do about it? These are the same Russians that were positively enthusiastic when, two decades ago or so, the Russian Federation even earned a 'temporary observatory status' at NATO — and it suddenly even became possible to believe that Russia would not only join NATO, but perhaps even some kind of Pan-European Union? The mind boggles at how many steps we retraced until we went back to the height of the Cold War in 1962 again...

Anyway... I still think that it's 'unfair' to target half the population of Russia who is against their own regime, but powerless to effect any real change, and now have to suffer as well for crimes they never committed nor even endorsed. Imagine that the whole world would sanction the US during the Trump era just because half the population of the US is positively anti-democratic and wants a republican dictator — in the Ancient Rome context of both words! — as their Dear Leader. Why should the remaining US population suffer sanctions for something they never wished for, neither endorsed?

I totally realise that both situations are not identical; after all, not even Trump managed to have the US invade Mexico (or Canada) just because he (allegedly) hated Mexicans — while Putin has no such qualms. But just imagine that Trump had, in fact, attempted to invade Mexico, and the US would be facing heavy sanctions from all countries in the world. Would that be fair for all Americans who voted Democrat in 2016 (and remember they were more than those who voted Trump!)?

Such a moral dilemma is currently being faced by a plethora of Internet-based services who may be called to apply sanctions on Russia residents. For example, I'm a huge fan of Cloudflare, and love the company. They are still providing services to Russia — even under pressure to stop doing so, even though they had to shut & lock down the servers in the data centres they have in the country. But they still keep their service active (outbound data from Russia is just transparently redirected to nearby data centres — just as it happens if there is unpredictable downtime — and the difference is terms of quality is not that big).

You may ask why. Their answers have been posted on their blog: because innocent Russians are desperately seeking access to reliable news sources. Putin doesn't want to prevent non-Russians to access their state-sponsored propaganda websites. What he wants is to prevent Russians from reading about the Truth on the international media. That's exactly the same attitude as China, Iran, and similar governments which restrict access to their citizens, because they fear to expose them to the Truth (and for good reasons, too). Information is power, and those who control information are in control of that power. That's why Cloudflare is still providing service to Russians willing to access the Truth; and they will continue to do so until they're physically forced to stop.

Similarly, on the very popular techy Q&A site StackOverflow, where developers (amog others!) are very active, and come from all over the world, this very same question was raised: should access to Russian users be blocked or not? The company behind StackOverflow noted that this would not really matter in the grand scheme of things. Russian techie-savvy users know very well how to avoid any blocks placed on Russian origin IP addresses (using run-of-the-mill VPNs, for example), and they wouldn't be affected in the least. Rather, it would make it more difficult for less-savvy users to find answers to their questions — and what purpose would that serve, anyway? We're talking about questions about how to configure Windows to use less memory on old computers, for example — not exactly how to write the next Internet worm, or sample code for missile guidance systems. Ultimately, like CloudFlare, the company decided to keep everybody's access to their websites — unless, of course, they're mandated by a warrant to tell them otherwise and legally compel them to obey such a law, if it were put in place — but I hardly believe that this will ever be the case.

Russian content creators in Second Life are well aware of the Truth, and have always been; they were just powerless to prevent their government from controlling it. They are on the same side of the Ukrainian victims — it's just that they can still live without the fear of getting hit with bombs. They nevertheless face a dire period of time ahead — when, thanks to all the indiscriminate sanctions, innocent Russians will suffer from a lack of food, medical drugs, and other primary necessities. It's certainly better to remain in your home with heating and running water and quiet nights without fearing that your house can get hit by a shell or a bomb at every minute — but similar to the Ukrainians living underground on their basements (most of which hastily 'converted' into bunkers but lacking pretty much everything), what matters is the food you're able to place on your table.

Now please don't get me wrong. I'm totally against Putin's War and unwaveringly on the side of all Ukrainians (even those who have fallen prey to Putin's propaganda machine — which, thankfully, are far fewer than Putin hoped for). But I also felt quite encouraged that at the rallies I attended near our Russian Embassy there was a strong contingent of Russian emigrants solidly standing shoulder-by-shoulder with their Ukranian counterparts and shouting anti-Putin and pro-Ukraine slogans as loud as anyone else. That's a good sign, I think, and one that seems to prevail — but it's not universal, as the griefing of Russian regions shows.

That said, I would most strongly condemn any griefing against Russian regions or their residents, and treat such attacks as being pure hate speech and thus against the ToS and Code of Conduct.

As for cashing out hard-earned L$, that's a very sensitive issue, since current sanctions in effect might prevent Tilia from doing that (I'm not sure), although, technically speaking, such sanctions are targeted to specific individuals from Russia (and now from Belarus as well), and not to the general population. It's nevertheless true that most payment systems have stopped operating in Russia — and I feel that Tilia, no matter what its stance is, might not be able to transfer funds to Russian residents, even if the vast majority of Russian residents are most certainly totally innocent (and technically not subject to sanctions!).

I might not agree with the quasi-political, quasi-propagandistic message from @Luther Weymann above, but he is making a point: Russian SL residents are overwhelmingly victims of the system they happen to live in. I'm pretty sure that if they could overthrow their system (and believe that they could have a good alternative), they would — just like most Germans living under Nazi Germany were not exactly dancing and cheering on the streets. They would have voted Hitler out of power and re-establish the former democratic regime (or a new one) — if they could. The same happens today in contemporary Russia — Putin might not be 'a new Hitler', but it's the closest we have to that in Europe right now. Oh, sure, I'm aware that technically there are elections, but we all know about the Russian opposition and how they are treated by Putin's regime.

Anyway, the point being is that this is a war with victims on both sides — albeit some fall prey to bombs and missiles, others to lack of money (and ultimately also lack of food and essential services) — and it's hardly obvious how exactly Linden Lab and/or Tilia are 'helping the cause' if they just cut access to their systems.

All I can suggest at this juncture is for Linden Lab to open up some popular regions for allowing protesters to speak their mind (in the olden days, the Governor's Mansion region was used to stage such protests; but perhaps there are better spots), or, this being Second Life, to exercise their creativity in protesting against Putin's war and its consequence to so many millions of innocents. Keep in mind, however, that it's quite likely that both Russian residents as well as Ukrainian ones might be side-by-side in such protests — and on the same side, too.

At least inside Second Life, Russian residents and Ukranian residents in Russia-occupied cities do not need to be afraid of speaking out their minds (and exercise their freedom of expression!), without fear from being (physically) shot to death...

Jenna Outline

Well sadly artists and creators will have to do what thousands have done before them in history, what I did, to escape boredom and religious repression.

MOVE!

Live in New York, Berlin, Paris, Milan etc. Russia is a wasteland.

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Wagner James Au
Wagner James "Hamlet" Au
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