Today the Come Back Alive Foundation is one of the largest and most important groups of assistance to the Ukrainian forces. It was founded in 2014 by Vitaly Deynega, a Kyiv-based volunteer who began fundraising and providing body armor to soldiers fighting in Ukraine’s Donbass region immediately after Russia annexed Crimea. Deynega wrote “Come Back Alive” on each vest, inspiring his band’s name. His efforts were encouraged by the Ukrainian government, which called Come Back Alive”The main charity fund of Ukraine.â Potential donors were also directed to the âspecial accountâ 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 decision, stating, “Patreon does not allow 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 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.