What just happened? While those within the tech industry are throwing their support behind Ukraine and its people, World of Tanks creative director Sergey Burkatovskiy has come out in public support of Russia, a move that has resulted in his firing.
Burkatovskiy revealed his stance in a now-deleted Facebook post, announcing that he supports “the operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the DPR [Donetsk People’s Republic] and the LPR [Luhansk People’s Republic].”
But it seems Wargaming, the company behind the popular MMO, certainly doesn’t feel the same way. A day after his post, Burkatovskiy posted another message confirming he had “broke up with the VG,” with VG translating to WG, or Wargaming.
PC Gamer notes that Wargaming is a Belarusian company that employs hundreds of developers in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv. It told Russian gaming site Cyber.Sports.ru that Burkatovskiy’s view is his personal opinion, and that it categorically does not coincide with the position of the studio.
“He has been let go and is no longer at the company,” it added.
Wargaming added that it is now focused on helping its Kyiv workers and their families. The company’s Kyiv studio has already made a $1 million donation to the Ukrainian Red Cross that will help support hospitals, doctors, and displaced citizens.
“At Wargaming, the safety and security of our employees is the top priority. Currently, all available company resources are helping and supporting our 550+ colleagues: providing them with alternate housing, early salary payments, additional funds to aid travel and relocation.”
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has seen Wargaming temporarily halt its global advertising and redesign ads to remove images of advancing tanks and other military vehicles. Advertising has now resumed with the new assets, but it is still on hold in the Ukraine “as we believe it is inappropriate and insensitive to advertise our games while it is the centre of this conflict.”
There has been a barrage of responses from the tech industry to the Ukraine crisis, from Elon Musk claiming SpaceX could stop the ISS crashing into Earth following Russian sanctions, to major crypto exchanges refusing to put a freeze on all Russian citizens’ accounts.