On Tuesday, March 8, a group of Lithuanians launched the “Call Russia” campaign. Its participants intend to make 40 million calls to ordinary Russians to inform them about the war in Ukraine.
To do this, volunteers have created a website with millions of Russian phone numbers that are obtained from public registries. Paulus Senuta, an advertising specialist and one of the authors of the project, says that it was inspired by reports that the residents of Russia and Ukraine, even close relatives, who find themselves on opposite sides, do not find a common language with each other. In an interview with BNS, he says:
“When a woman is bombed in Kyiv and her mother in Moscow doesn’t believe what her own child tells her, it’s scary. We invite all Russian-speakers of the world, not just those living in Lithuania, to join and take part in our initiative. We hope that thousands, hundreds of thousands of people will take part.”
The authors of the “Call Russia” project expect to make 40 million calls – this is how many numbers are stored in the database, and a random contact is generated by simply pressing a button.
Volunteers recommend how to behave in a conversation, based on the advice of psychologists. Participants need to introduce themselves and tell about the purpose of the call, tell about their ties with Russia. To participate in the initiative, in order to establish a closer connection between the interlocutors, Russians who are culturally or otherwise connected with the country are invited.
Psychologists recommend not trying to change the attitude of Russians, as well as not only talking yourself, but also listening to the interlocutor, writes bb.lv Senuta warns of the inevitable complexity of conversations, since the population of Russia is in a completely different information environment, having a fundamentally different idea of what is happening in Ukraine. One of the authors of the project says:
“We ask you not to have an angry conversation about who is right and who is wrong here, but to talk about the tragedy on the human side – dying people, about women giving birth in the subway. In times of confrontation, the only thing that can make a difference is a simple human conversation.”
Senuta agrees: “Human tragedy is perhaps the only thing on which everyone can agree.” He says that he has already made several calls, talking to his acquaintances after the invasion of Ukraine began. Despite the personal connection, they all turned out to be very difficult: “I was convinced that we really are from different planets, we have no common points, starting points.”