On September 23, Facebook’s administration had blocked a group devoted to Russian servicemen allegedly killed in eastern Ukraine, the group’s founder and admin, Russian human rights campaigner, Yelena Vasilyeva has reported. According to Vasilyeva, the group, called Gruz 200 from Ukraine to Russia with over 22,000 members was blocked by Facebook on 23 September along with Vasilyeva’s personal account.
Gruz 200, translated into English as “Cargo 200”, is a soviet era military code used to indicate cargo holding the remains of servicemen. In recent months, several independent Russian media outlets, including Novaya Gazeta, Dozhd TV, Ekho Moskvy and Slon.ru followed the stories of several Russian soldiers allegedly killed or gone missing in eastern Ukraine.
Russian and Ukrainian Facebook users are currently campaigning online under “gruz200” hashtag in order to bring the page back. A petition and an event urging users to contact Facebook administration has been launched to reinstate the group. Meanwhile, a new mirror group had been set up to replace the deleted page. It gathered 1000 followers in only one day.
On September 24, the group was unblocked and is accessible at its former address. It is very likely that this decision had been made thanks to the activities of media activists worldwide. There has been no official statement on the story from Facebook representatives yet.
Meanwhile, another pro-Ukrainian media channel has been subject to closure, with the chances of the Kremlin’s hand at work being high – UkeTube. The event in facebook to restore Cargo-200 has now been renamed to Petition YouTube to restore UkeTube.