NewsRussia counters Western sanctions with homegrown imitations

Russia counters Western sanctions with homegrown imitations

The Russians have created a platform similar to YouTube.
The Russians have created a platform similar to YouTube.
Images source: © X | Bielsat
Kamil Różycki

28 June 2024 18:58

Cool Cola, Wkusno i Tochka, or CFC are just a few examples of how Russians have "handled" the departure of many well-known Western brands from their market. After food products and well-known fast-food restaurants, it's now time for a Russian version of YouTube. This is a faithful copy of the original from the USA.

Russia has been familiar with sanctions since 2014 when it first attacked Ukraine, illegally occupying Crimea. The next and much larger series of sanctions, which resulted in many foreign brands leaving the Russian market, only came after the escalation on 24 February 2022.

At that time, brands like McDonald's and Coca-Cola withdrew from the country ruled by Vladimir Putin, and access to many platforms like Facebook and YouTube was significantly restricted. And as it turns out, these effects of the war are among the most painful for millions of Russians.

It’s no wonder that the Kremlin government immediately began working on creating equivalents of the mentioned brands. And so, in the case of McDonald's, almost identical "Wkusno i Tochka" restaurants appeared, and the famous Coca-Cola was replaced by Cool Cola.

Russia fights sanctions by duplicating American brands

Over time, however, sanctions proved ineffective for food products. Russia began circumventing them by importing such goods from neighbouring countries or distant countries like India. Consequently, Coca-Cola, among others, returned to store shelves.

Social media was much more challenging to replace, and although it worked through VPNs, its capabilities were limited. Moreover, media was hazardous for the government's rhetoric, for which it was much better if Russians lacked access to information from the West.

As a result, after many months of work, a Russian YouTube video was created. As the creators mention, it uses functions similar to those of the "unfriendly" service. However, the most important thing is that the equivalent of American YouTube will "promote videos important for Russia."

This is another attempt by Russians to replicate this service. So far, RuTube and VKvideo have been created, but they did not catch on in society. This time it may be different as the interface is almost identical to the original.

Related content