Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has sent the world into a frenzy as images of tanks, fighter jets and bombed out buildings bombard our senses every time we tune in the TV. We are seeing firsthand the images of unfettered brutality as Russian rockets shell civilian neighborhoods day after day. Our media is alight with war correspondents talking about the horrors of war with civilian areas coming under assault and journalists taking fire. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s push into Ukraine has united Europe, NATO and the world in ways he never anticipated. Putin also apparently underestimated the fighting spirit and resolve of the Ukrainian people, who continue to defend their freedom and democratic way of life. 

Unfortunately, the fallout from the Russian military’s brutality is affecting innocent people on both sides of the conflict who do not share Putin’s values, nor do they support his cause.  However, they do share his Russian roots. Guilt by association, or in this instance, guilt by nationality, is a very real problem that can start out small and quickly morph into something very ugly and far-reaching.

Cancel Culture Related to Russia

The practice of “canceling” a person, business or a brand because of negative remarks or comments is a toxic trend that can be exceptionally damaging.  Crisis PR firms like Red Banyan may be needed to help reverse the damage.

Cancel culture as it relates to Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine and the killing of innocent civilians is beginning to emerge as the war stirs up a hornet’s nest of anti-Russian sentiment. People of Russian descent who have no connection to Putin’s war and the horrors caused by his army are now increasingly finding themselves targets of hate.

Do you know what you would do if you were targeted? Red Banyan’s cancel culture crisis communications professionals know how to assess the situation and come up with a proper response if you find yourself the focus of cancel culture or if your brand or business is targeted by an online mob.

Red Banyan’s crisis PR experts will provide you with tips to avoid the pitfalls of cancel culture and provide you with a checklist to follow to help address future crises quickly. Companies and individuals can go from business as usual to survival mode in the blink of an eye. Some organizations or individuals may even face threats of physical violence because of online claims made on social media.

Red Banyan’s team of social media experts can provide assistance. 

How to Handle Anti-Russia Sentiment

One of the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been an all-out global effort to isolate Russia internationally and to look for ways short of armed conflict, to act against Putin. The international community would like to find a way to force him to stop the onslaught against Ukraine and have so far levied increasingly stiff sanctions in punishment.

Local storeowners are taking symbolic actions like refusing to stock Russian products.  Bars are ceasing to sell Russian vodka, with anti-Russian sentiment simmering. As regular people do what they can to show support for Ukraine, it is important to note that there are many Russians who do not agree with Putin’s war. 

Protesters in Russia have been arrested by the thousands as they call for an end to the bloody conflict. It is folly to leap to the conclusion that just because someone is of Russian descent, he or she is a Russian sympathizer or supporter of the war against Ukraine and its people. Seeking vigilante justice against Russian Americans is outrageous and appalling. 

Protecting your reputation is essential if you want to stay in business. False narratives can be exceptionally damaging and bad news travels fast on social media. Don’t wait until it is too late. Red Banyan’s team of online reputation repair PR professionals will help you create a plan of action to address any problems that might crop up. Our communications consultants will help you outline a tailored crisis PR plan and guide you step by step through the process of reputation protection. 

Online Mob Attacks Against Russians

Online attacks can cause complicated problems when you operate a business in a world where so many companies are now trying to divest themselves of Russian holdings. But simply being of Russian descent should not be cause enough for internet mobs to seek to cancel people or sully their reputations online. 

Unfortunately, it is happening now. Red Banyan has already received multiple phone calls from Russians who are being targeted due to their ethnicity. Whether they are Russian Nationals or American citizens of Russian descent, many innocent people are being trolled online and their personal and business reputations are being attacked.  And as we know, a reputation built up over decades of hard work can crumble in an instant when a concerted effort is made to savage someone. 

It is important for people who are targeted to tell their story, challenge lies and press the truth. Because if false information is being spread about them, these falsehoods can take hold. News moves fast and people leap to conclusions, often based on false information. Russian Americans need to be prepared to defend themselves, so that they do not find themselves the focus of an unjust internet firestorm.

Russia and Ukraine Guilt by Association

People and companies need to be judged on their own merits instead of guilt by association, which is unjust. Guilt by nationality is also unfair. Simply having a Russian sounding name should not be justification for internet trolls attacking people who haven’t themselves done anything wrong. This is a type of approach and paranoia harkens back to a very dark time in America. 

In the early 1940s at the start of WWII, simply being Japanese in the United States was justification for being rounded up and placed in internment camps. The fear of Japanese people in America—wrongly described as a “fifth column,” was pure guilt by association.

That was a low point in our country’s history, but one that is important to keep in mind. There are many people of Russian descent in the United States who could find themselves under assault online, even though the possibility of actual internment unthinkable. Self-proclaimed internet fighters are already targeting many Russians. 

Cancel culture is intersecting with geopolitics, creating a nexus between what is happening in the world and what is happening within our own culture, where people leap to conclusions often based on false or misleading information.

Red Banyan’s reputation repair experts have the skills to assess the threat of cancel culture and advise clients on ways to avoid this destructive phenomenon and its harmful effects. Our media relations experts will help devise a plan to protect you from any residual effects from social media attacks , dulling any long-term consequence.

PR Crisis for Russian Americans

Many Russian Americans are wondering how they should react to cancel culture when it is targeted at them or their business. 

Where do you get PR support for Russian companaies? Where can Russian Americans get PR assistance? How should Russian Americans react when they are canceled? How should they respond to anti-Russian sentiment? These are all critical questions for someone finding himself/herself in trouble.

Red Banyan crisis PR professionals can help. If you need advice and assistance from communications experts who can guide you through an internet attack, cancel culture or worse, let us help you navigate this tricky situation. Red Banyan’s crisis communications experts are prepared.