You Should Joke, Call Some Russian Officials to Protest the War in Ukraine

Watching the horrific news about the war in Ukraine from afar, you may feel powerless to help. And while there are some specific things you can do to help Ukrainian citizens under siege , once you’ve done that, there’s nothing wrong with doing a little trolling: the hacktivist site WasteRussianTime.today lets you turn robocalls into an act resistance.

The site is simple. You press a button in the center of the screen to automatically dial Russian government officials, which puts them in touch with each other as you sit and listen to their confusion and annoyance. While this may seem like nothing more than a prank, the very act of wasting Russian officials’ time is a form of peaceful civilian intervention. Here’s what else you need to know about participating in hacktivism.

Who made WasteRussianTime.today?

The creators of the site go by the title “Scheherazade’s Troubled Dreams” on Twitter ( @ringringrussia ), where the biography describes the group as “a collective of artists, scientists and dentists who waste the time of Russian warmongers.” Their Twitter is pretty active and I checked it regularly for updates as the dialer feature went offline a few times during my test calls. (More on this below.)

How does the site work?

As Wired explains, WasteRussianTime.today is designed to work by starting a VoIP call, automatically dialing Russian officials from an existing data breach, and then pairing you up in a three-way conversation with the phones of the first two Russian officials to connect.

When you press the dial button, you will not actually be able to speak on the call. More importantly, this is a protective measure to prevent visitors from saying anything that could reveal your identity and put you at risk. Your role is to block the lines. As the website says, “the more annoying the Duma workers, the better.”

What should I do if my call does not go through?

The site no doubt irons out some of the kinks. The @ringringrussia account previously tweeted that while the site sometimes shuts down , “it doesn’t mean you should stop clicking.” They continue: “We will open the lines and as soon as they get too hot, we will stop again, blow on the phones and start over.”

As of Friday afternoon, the Russians are out of work, so WasteRussianTime.today is expected to be up and running again on Monday morning. Then call some officials.

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