Expressing my Personal Opinion

Kyle Freedman
6 min readMar 1, 2022

To address my personal failures:

I never understood heartbreak until I experienced it myself. For most of my life I considered those who would gripe and moan for weeks or months over a lost relationship as weak. It was only until I felt it myself, ran from room to room in a state of panic and angst that I knew — this is real. I didn’t respect the pain others had felt because I did not know what it was like.

For most of my life, I have ignored the actions of both my own government and those of others that are considered our allies.
Because I was not personally affected.
Because it was convenient for me, I have been able to blissfully ignore injustices around the world. As an American, I am protected thanks to my countries military and economic might. The dollar is the world’s reserve currency. Who is to tell us we cannot bomb Afghanistan? Who will challenge us if we lay claim to areas in turmoil? How easy it has been for us to hide our actions and obscure our intentions to cover our greed.

I cannot alter my inaction in the past, but I ask any and all who read this to keep me honest to this promise;

Moving forwards, I will not remain silent again.

I lived in Ukraine for two years. It was my shelter throughout the entire pandemic. Kyiv is my home. Colleagues of mine and their families are being bombed. People that I know personally are currently in danger and afraid for their lives. For the first time in my life, War is touching directly people that I love dearly, and War is really, really fucking real.

Virtus Pro Esports as an organization has ties to the highest ranks of the Russian Government. Alisher Usmanov is the owner of ESForce, the holding company of Virtus Pro. He is one of only twenty-nine individuals sanctioned personally by the European Union. As a member of Putin’s inner circle, I consider him equally responsible for the Russian human rights abuses currently ongoing within Ukraine.

RuHub, another company under the ESForce umbrella, made social media posts on their CSRuHub and Dota2RuHub twitters on February 28th, 2022. The screenshots of these posts are below.

The above screenshot of the CSGO RuHub Post translates to:

(tweet one begins)
“We at RuHub have been banned from speaking out because it is likely that our leadership approves of war and the killing of Ukrainian civilians.

But dear subscribers you should know! This is a war started by Russia, Putin is a thief and a terrorist. The Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian army are heroes.”
(tweet one ends)
(tweet two starts)
Come out on the streets of your cities and protest against the power of thieves, murderers and bandits.

Russians are a strong people and we can overthrow this power.

Hold on Ukrainians! We are with you!

Russian warship — go fuck yourself.”
(tweet two ends)

The Dota2RUHuB post roughly translates to the same message, but in the opposite order.

The Dota2RUHuB post roughly translates to the same message, but in the opposite order.

All of the above messages were deleted within ~five minutes of going live.

Later, the “true” Virtus Pro social team posted a response.

.

The tweet on the bottom is from the “True” VP social team.
It translates as follows:

“RuHub accounts have been hacked. We do not allow harsh language, agitation or insults in official communities. Studio employees have no prohibition on personal positions.”
(bottom tweet ends)

Five minutes later, the top tweet (that was also nearly instantly deleted) was posted by the hackers:

“The RuHub social media has not been hacked.

The company’s management and the holding company continue to lie.

RuHub, Epic Esport Events, Virtus.pro and other units of the holding company support the decision to bring troops into Ukraine, and actively seek us dissenters together with the security service.”
(top tweet ends)

It’s quite possible the above is all propaganda; VP was truly hacked, and everything written in their name was a lie.

The Virtus Pro organization is not unknown to the Russian language esport community. At the recent 10-year anniversary celebration of Na’Vi in Ukraine, many Virtus Pro members were invited and flew to Kyiv for the festivities. We’re all friends, have been for years. Esports unites us.

After these tweets went live, members of the Russian speaking community reached out to their friends in VP to confirm the leaks truth or untruth. To discern the “real” stance of Virtus Pro Esports on the current war in Ukraine.

The statement made by Na’vi should help you decide for yourself what the informed DotA community considers the true feelings of the Virtus Pro organization and ESforce Holding.

If that is not enough, I would ask you to consider the abject refusal of the Virtus Pro organization to condemn the ongoing war and invasion of Ukraine in their official statement.

Their official statement, is that they have no statement on the war.

I am personally sickened that a company that I used to respect, that has been involved in my community for YEARS is using something as asinine as disqualification from a DotA tournament to downplay death, destruction, and the attempted erasure of the entire Ukrainian people.

The safety of my friends, colleagues, their kids, their loved ones, and all those in Ukraine being actively bombed is what matters.

This isn’t just about DotA.

UEFA, FIFA, F1, the IOC, and many other sporting organizations will no longer do events in Russia or allow the Russian team to participate.
Apple will no longer sell its products in Russia.
Maersk has just suspended all container shipping to Russia.
America, Europe, New Zealand, Taiwan. Democratic nations worldwide.
The sane amongst Russia’s citizens.
All are all united against Putin. Against autocracy, fear, and pain.

This is the moment of our generation.

We are all together.
The Ukrainians who defend their home.
The Russians who risk imprisonment and death to protest a despicable war.
The Poles, Romanians, and Moldovans who work tirelessly to secure the safety of refugees.
Protesters worldwide urging their governments to take action.

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Whether you like it or not, you are currently at war.
While your tweet, tiktok or text may not change the world, it demonstrates you have picked a side.
You must pick a side.
If I were to remain silent, I would consider myself complicit.

How will you feel in ten years? What will you tell your family that you did? Will you be proud?

Those of you have suffered and watched as the world ignored you.
Who watched me, Kyle, ignore you.
I’m sorry. I won’t do it again.

Please do me a personal favor.
Please do not make my mistake.
Please do not remain quiet.

Ukraine, my friends, real people, are in real danger, right now.

You don’t have to do anything with your life.
Please, just do something with your day.

— Kyle

Slava Ukraini

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Kyle Freedman

You don't have to do something with your life. Just do something with your day.