Today, the Come Back Alive Foundation is one of the largest and most important groups assisting Ukrainian forces. It was founded in 2014 by Vitaliy Deynega, a Kiev-based volunteer who started raising funds and providing body armor to soldiers fighting in Ukraine’s Donbass region immediately after the annexation of Crimea by the Crimea. Russia. Deynega wrote “Come Back Alive” on each vest, inspiring his band’s name. Its efforts have been promoted by the Ukrainian government, which has called Come Back Alive “Ukraine’s leading charity fund”. Potential donors were also directed to the “special account” of the National Bank of Ukraine through US and UK Chase Bank accounts.
But on Thursday, the foundation encountered a major setback: One of its main sources of international funding, crowdfunding platform Patreon, launched it. It went offline as of 1 p.m. EST on Friday, February 25.
A Patreon spokesperson cited the company’s policy on “harmful and illegal activities” to justify the move, stating, “Patreon does not permit any campaign that involves violence or the purchase of military equipment, regardless of whatever the cause. We have suspended the campaign in question while we investigate.
The reaction of the Ukrainians was quick. Critics accused the platform of cutting off a crucial lifeline for self-defense against Russia and questioned why it made that decision now, given the page had been online for years.
Patreon has become the go-to crowdfunding source in this dispute; other established Ukrainian organizations such as the English-language media The Kyiv Independent also raises funds on the platform. So far, GoFundMe has not released any statements about the Ukrainian crowdfunding taking place on its platform.
These platforms hold enormous power for their ability to help people collect and move vast sums of money. But one problem they face is that, especially in the fog of war, it’s not always clear who gives and who receives money. There are already countless Ukraine-related scams floating around the internet. To give an example, a Twitter account was previously used for the game. Now it shares Bitcoin links and claims to be raising funds to help fund the fight against Russia.