Technology companies proliferated in Ukraine before the war. Now the country’s 250,000 IT workers are looking at small ways to use technology to fight back and undermine Russian propaganda.
“We realized the memes helped fight anxiety,” says Anton Volovyk, Reface’s chief operating officer and an alum of the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list. “Humor is one of those areas where we can keep the Ukrainian narrative going.”
“Ukrainians are really, really good at self-organizing under pressure,” says Igor Zhadanov, chief executive of Odesa-based Readdle, which creates productivity apps. “We had dozens if not hundreds of initiatives within the first 48 hours of the invasion with the IT army as an umbrella to coordinate that. But there is no one person who is the head of the IT Army. Different groups are trying to figure out the maximum impact to fight back.”
“There is something very dynamic happening,” says Andreas Flodström, cofounder and CEO of Swedish-Ukrainian firm Beetroot, which does IT consulting and software development. “You are part of the transformation of society, as well as the transformation of the economy and industry, and that goes hand-in-hand with values of freedom and democracy. You can almost feel it in your body when you are there.”
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Come Back Alive
is one of the largest charitable foundations that supports Ukrainian soldiers, founded by the IT specialist Vitaliy Deynega. The organization collected more than 210 million UAH (more than $7M) in 2014. According to Na chasi, the Patreon page Come Back Alive is in the top ten projects by the number of financial donations.
There are several other organizations to support:
- Army SOS, which develops drones;
- Everybody Can, an organization that supports internally displaced people;
- Help on the Ministry of Defense website.