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Russia is Crowdfunding a War

Russia is Crowdfunding a War: Uriel Sinai for The New York Times

Uriel Sinai for The New York Times

The wars of the future will be crowdfunded via social media. (So, yeah, maybe *this *is what Pinterest is for?)

Russian organizations such as Veche, Save the Donbass, and the Novorossiya Humanitarian Battalion are declaring humanitarian missions online while directly supporting an armed insurgency in the favor of President Putin’s government.

The New York Times discovered more than a dozen groups using sites like YouTube and the Russian equivalent of Facebook to raise funds that will go directly to the pro-Russian rebels fighting in the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

However, while the effort is entirely Russian, the money is not. The groups have found some financial aid from the West—albeit, a small percentage—by way of banks and companies such as Western Union and PayPal.

These global tactics of fundraising could actually mean legal trouble for the financial institutions, given their prohibition of doing business with blacklisted individuals or organizations. Meanwhile, these kinds of groups are all too aware of such risk, which encourages them to evolve into new names with new accounts to keep their money on the move.

There have been no exact figures attached to this fundraising network, but the separatist groups identified by The New York Times have claimed millions of dollars in their campaign.

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