Ex-Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Takes Sides in the Russian Invasion of Ukraine


Dorsey, who is CEO of payment services Block, formerly Square, is the second big name from Silicon Valley to choose a side in the Russian war.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine seems to herald a new era among Silicon Valley companies and bosses. 

In the past, tech tycoons often chose to follow the traditional line observed by the bosses of companies in other sectors on geopolitical or political issues: remain neutral to avoid alienating a potential reservoir of customers or to avoid having the doors of a market closed. 

This rule was particularly observed in tech because tech companies most often have global ambitions. These groups want to be everywhere and capture every possible audience.

Companies have often turned a blind eye to calls for violence using their platforms or refused to take a stand on issues of human rights and freedoms, particularly in China and other non-democratic countries.

MARCO BELLO/AFP via Getty/Shutterstock/TheStreet

Millions of Dollars to Help Ukrainians

You have to believe that things are about to change. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla  (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report and SpaceX, has been helping Ukraine and Ukrainians for a few weeks now. The billionaire had Starlink terminals sent to the country to allow cities destroyed by Russian Shelling and bombing and remote areas to continue to have Internet access. 

Musk has also had generators sent to supply electricity to Ukrainian areas whose infrastructure has been destroyed. 

The richest man in the world on paper even went so far as to propose to Russian President Vladimir Putin to settle the conflict by a duel between them. Musk is still waiting for an answer.

Now another big name from Silicon Valley is following in Musk’s footsteps. Jack Dorsey, the very discreet former CEO and founder of Twitter  (TWTR) – Get Twitter, Inc. Report has just shown where his sympathies lie. He has just, through his Start Small, LLC fund, made donations of several million dollars to Ukrainians. Dorsey is the CEO of payment service company Block  (SQ) – Get Block Inc Class A Report.

This money has been distributed to seven NGOs or charities involved in helping Ukrainians. This money — $7 million — was distributed on March 10 to CARE, World Central Kitchen, Sunflower of Peace, Razom, Mercy CorpsGlobalGiving and to Ukraine Nova.

Each of the non-profits received $1 million, according to the Start Small, LLC donation tracking site.

“Nova Ukraine is grateful to Start Small for supporting our mission – helping the people of Ukraine. As the situation on the ground in Ukraine changes daily, this donation gives us flexibility to respond quickly and provide humanitarian relief where it is needed most,” a spokesperson said in an email statement.

On its website, Nova Ukraine, describes itself as a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine and raising awareness about Ukraine in the United States as well as in the rest of the world.

“Through your generous donations, we fund a variety of efforts to help the people of Ukraine and to strengthen Ukraine’s democratic society,” Nova Ukraine said. 

We are seeing immense demand from local partners on the ground that are bravely helping those in need — neighbor to neighbor in some cases,” GlobalGiving interim CEO, Donna Callejon said in an email statement. “These local leaders and their teams are deeply committed to their communities, and we are committed to supporting them at every step, with the help of generous donors around the world.”


Showdown Between Silicon Valley and Moscow

Dorsey’s generous donations come as Russia restricts access to Twitter, and in the midst of unprecedented generosity from the crypto space of which he is one of the evangelists.

The giants of Silicon Valley are also the target of the Russian authorities who have blocked access to Meta Platforms’  (FB) – Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report Facebook and Instagram services. WhatsApp, the group’s other messaging platform is restricted in the country. 

These sanctions are part of a communication war between Moscow and Silicon Valley. Meta, formerly Facebook, for example decided to ban Russian state media channels on its platforms and dismantled and blocked Russian propaganda networks despite protests from Moscow. Twitter also did the same.

Between threats, blockages, the tech giants have not been in the odor of sanctity since the Russian invasion of Ukraine which started on February 24.

“At a meeting on organizing hatred for the Russian people,” Russia’s space chief tweeted recently, according to TheStreet’s translation of the tweet, with a hijacked photo of seated uniformed generals. In the photo Dorsey and Zuckerberg are in the foreground.

Rogozin has already taken it out on Musk after he proposed the idea of ​​a deadly fight between him and Putin.

“You, little devil, are still young,” Rogozin tweeted at Musk, quoting a fairy tale by Alexander Pushkin, a Russian poet known for disguising political messages in his stories. “Compete with me weak;It would only be a waste of time. Overtake my brother first.”

To which Musk responded by saying: 

“And … um … [flicks wrist] we should form a book club,” Musk tweeted. “A fool with a heart and no mind is just as unfortunate a fool as a fool with a mind without a heart,” he added quoting Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel “The Idiot.”

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