Putin.Sucks is a website created by Ukrainian refugee Sofiia Kadetova in late 2022. Its aim is to raise awareness about the millions of Ukrainians impacted by Russian president Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked invasion.
As importantly, it shares Sofiia’s personal story and generates revenue for the World Central Kitchen—an organization that feeds the many disadvantaged people still in Ukraine, seeking safety in nearby countries or returning to their ravaged homeland.
Even through her displacement, Putin.Sucks gives Kadetova a digital headquarters to spearhead her grassroots opposition initiative. Or, in her own words, “My love for my country of Ukraine is the energy behind this website.”
The design and messaging of Putin.Sucks is straightforward and impactful, inspiring profound change and providing vital assistance. There’s an immediate call to action presented to the visitor in the form of three t-shirts for sale, proceeds from which go toward the World Central Kitchen.
But the distinctive aspect of the site is its driving force: Kadetova herself. Through her story, we’re brought face-to-face with the inspiring reality of a survivor who left behind everything in search of the safety we too often take for granted.
In the coming years, there will be many attempts to rationalize Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine—whether the economic reasons, historical grievances or the maniacal desperation of a dictator seeking to solidify a more dominant geopolitical position.
But for most of us, this speculation on motive won’t resonate the same way as a rallying cry that distills the essence of the anti-war effort: Putin sucks. It’s simple, jarring and removes the academic nuance that will eventually—whether intentionally or not—obfuscate the fundamental cruelty of launching an attack that destroys the lives of millions of innocent civilians.
THE .SUCKS PERSPECTIVE
Saying something “sucks” is one of the English language’s most effective ways to convey displeasure. It can be used in marketing campaigns to capture the shared frustration with a problem a product aims to solve, or used ironically to showcase an offering to a community of like-minded individuals. It’s a way to succinctly summarize all the complex exasperations one may have with someone, something or some event.
Putin.Sucks is as righteous an application of the term as we’ve ever seen. The anger felt toward Russia’s deluded oligarch, the intense sympathy felt for the millions caught in the crossfire, the desire to help in any small way possible—that all branches off of a mission statement as pointed and noteworthy as “Putin sucks.”
So while Putin.Sucks may be the first website to target a world leader in dire need of accountability, we certainly don’t expect it to be the last. The systems that deepen inequality, the corruption permeating our highest offices, the appalling abuses of power that stigmatize the most vulnerable among us—all of these are fine targets for the next iteration of a .SUCKS domain registry.