As the ongoing and intense issues between Russia and Ukraine play out on the world stage, so too have many organizations in the video game industry offered their support of Ukraine in this trying time. However, one company has been forced to do a little internal cleaning for something to the opposite effect. Wargaming has let go of World of Tanks creative director Sergey Burkatovskiy following social posts in which he supported Russia’s aggressive invasion of Ukraine and its capital city of Kyiv. Moreover, Wargaming has paused advertising in Ukraine and put $1 million USD towards the Ukrainian Red Cross.
It all started with a now-deleted Facebook post by Burkatovskiy in which he signaled his support of “the operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, the DPR [Donetsk People's Republic] and the LPR [Luhansk People's Republic].” It was soon afterwards that Burkatovskiy posted that he had “broke up with the VG,” many considering it to mean he had parted ways with Wargaming and World of Tanks.
A spokesperson for Wargaming would go on to confirm to PC Gamer that Burkatovskiy was no longer with the company.
“Sergey Burkatovskiy expressed his personal opinion on social media which categorically does not reflect the position of the company,” Wargaming said. “At Wargaming, the safety and security of our employees is the top priority. Currently, all available company resources are helping and supporting our 550+ colleagues: providing them with alternate housing, early salary payments, additional funds to aid travel and relocation. We are helping our employees' families to travel to neighbouring countries and organising accommodation for them. And lastly, today Wargaming Kyiv is donating $1 million to the Ukrainian Red Cross.”
With groups such as GSC Game World, 11 bit studios, CD Projekt RED, and more calling for aid to Ukraine, Wargaming also chose to cease current advertisement in Ukraine and has curtailed promotion of military vehicles and gameplay that may be found offensive at the moment.
In the face of these tremendous issues currently facing Ukraine, Wargaming may have lost a major lead, but it arguably chose to do the right thing. Stay tuned as we continue to report on this ongoing story.