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May 19, 2022 4:50 AM   Subscribe

This Hacktivist Site Lets You Prank-Call Russian Officials [archive] To protest the war in Ukraine, WasteRussianTime.today auto-dials Russian government officials, connects them to each other, and lets you listen in to their confusion.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs (19 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
The pranking functionality is currently down but they're working on it: updates via Twitter.
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 4:51 AM on May 19


There's a handy pronunciation chart here for future callers.
posted by wenestvedt at 5:41 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Excellent.
posted by Paul Slade at 6:17 AM on May 19


The group of artists, activists, and coders behind the site is, according to Shera, called the Obfuscated Dreams of Scheherazade.

Now this is the cyberpunk hellscape I was promised.
posted by howfar at 6:23 AM on May 19 [32 favorites]


So how long will this work? Like how long will it be til the Russian Government sends out a memo saying "if someone calls you claiming you called them, just hang up."
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:39 AM on May 19


Да, это работает
posted by JohnFromGR at 6:40 AM on May 19 [3 favorites]


OMG, I want to call a russian so bad. When is it coming back?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:13 AM on May 19 [1 favorite]


They should do this with email but connect them with the Icelandic horses from the post below.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:34 AM on May 19 [6 favorites]


Like how long will it be til the Russian Government sends out a memo saying "if someone calls you claiming you called them, just hang up."

Taking this (for a moment), as a serious military tactic rather than the amusing middle finger it is, it seems like, (a) quite possibly longer than one might reasonably expect and (b) just getting to that point could be worthwhile.

If your country is getting bogged down in a war you expected to win in a fortnight, and are being told that the reason for this is the massed power of NATO fighting a shadow war against you, getting a memo that could easily be taken to mean "our telecoms infrastructure and/or infosec are vulnerable and/or compromised" is hardly likely to boost your morale. On the other hand, ignoring the problem could spread paranoia too. And, on a third hand, responding late might be worse than not responding at all. The fact that it's only a nuisance, not a direct security threat, means these are maybe less obvious decisions than one could think. Large organisations often mistime, botch or just misconceive their responses to issues like this. Institutional politics can badly hamper this kind of response, and I can't imagine anyone is having a great time in the office right now already.

No idea if any of that could make it a worthwhile or scalable tactic. But I guess my point is that asymmetrical tactics of this kind are largely a form of psychological warfare, and part of its effect is very often in the weaker actor forcing the stronger actor to change behaviours or beliefs. For example, you could reasonably argue that the effect of insurgent tactics in Vietnam on US military discipline, integrity and efficacy can still be observed today. The lesson to take from it all is probably that it ultimately doesn't matter much where you kick the Man: just keep fucking kicking.
posted by howfar at 10:42 AM on May 19 [7 favorites]


I'm still laughing about how that pun does not work in translation and yet made me laugh... A+ post title!
posted by inexorably_forward at 12:56 PM on May 19 [5 favorites]


OMG, I want to call a russian so bad. When is it coming back?

Me. Please, someone update this the INSTANT it is working again.
posted by corb at 2:41 PM on May 19


I also came here to commend the post title :)
posted by bigschmoove at 4:14 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


There must be some work-themed pun that would work in translation. “It’s working? Okay, I’ll call back when it’s on its break.”
posted by Comet Bug at 5:35 PM on May 19 [1 favorite]


Latest update, Friday morning (TL;DR still not up):
We've spent the last few hours trying to find the problem and now we know where it comes from: our phones run too hot when too many click at once. We haven't managed to cool them down fast enough yet and the ventilators are still in the mail.

But that doesn't mean you should stop clicking! We'll open the lines and as soon as they run too hot, we'll stop again, blow on the phones and start all over.

Are you up for a fun friday?

You nasty little callers seem to love this website a little too much 🌺❤️🎉

The rush was too much - we blow diligently and report when we are back!
posted by Ten Cold Hot Dogs at 4:01 AM on May 20


Metafilter: just keep fucking kicking.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:51 AM on May 20 [1 favorite]


So I'm not a progammer, but presumably there needs to be a queue so they don't have too many people calling at once? Hopefully they're working on something like that. And also some fans.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:22 AM on May 20


How long do you suppose it takes the phones to cool down after each over-heat?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:23 AM on May 20


Is there an archive of recorded calls? There only seems to be the one example on Twitter.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:22 AM on May 20


Claiming it will be back up Monday:
Since thereʼs no fun calling people out-of-office, and the Russians called it a day already, weʼll be back on monday.
We'll announce an exact time on Twitter: @ringringrussia.
posted by corb at 11:09 AM on May 20


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