I am developing controversial political games in Russia. Because of my last game, the Communist Party of Russia hunted me down, and I was forced into hiding, moving in with distant relatives.
EDIT: I have to leave for a couple of hours, but I will be back later. Thank you all for your questions and support!
Good afternoon, folks! My name is Georg, last time I did an AMA here,I talked about the challenges of creating a controversial adult game with some releigious overtones in Russia and all the threats that came from the opponents of such content, including religious fanatics and sex-negative conservaties.
And now, to balance it out, I was able to anger the Russian Communist Party by making another game. In essence, it’s a branching narrative game about a time traveler meeting with the Joseph Stalin himself. Through the course of the game, you can try to kill Stalin, change his worldview, and even seduce him and partake in some hot gay action with him (cue all the jokes about luxury gay space communism). There are 27 endings planned, each one with an exploration on how the world would look depending on the outcome of your conversation (and actions).
In May I announced the game, there was a slight surge of interest, but I just could not have imagined what would happen next. A small Polish gaming media learned about Sex with Stalin. The Poles generally do not like Stalin for obvious reasons, and they were delighted to see this game, One made by a Russian, to boot. It made some waves on the general european scenes, and ultimately attracted the attention of some of my compatriots who still worship the cult of the Great Leader. Tempers flared, and then even some of the largest Russian state-owned media outlets joined in on the action. At first, there were only a few disapproving nods, but then the host of a political talk show (imagine the very worst of your political commentary show, only with much more shouting) decided to devote a whole episode to the “Defilers of the Great History of the USSR”. Representatives of the Communist Party were also invited there. Of course, they could not appear indecisive. The Communists immediately convened a meeting and made a statement that the game should be immediately banned, and the authors punished by fine, or better yet, imprisoned. By making such game, in their opinion, I dishonor the history of our country and insult all the citizens of Russian. Their leader - Zyuganov, called me a Nazi collaborator. They also tracked down Stalin’s great-granddaughter, and talked her into writing a letter to Putin. Quite a few things in our country can be solved by writing a letter to Putin.
After this, all hell broke loose. Journalists besieged me - they constantly called me on my mobile phone (so much for privacy), drowned me in vaguely threatening mail, and even came to my hometown and showed the house where I live and all my neighbours’ houses on live TV. They showed my face, name, place of residence on a number of Russian political shows, and continued to discuss the game in major talk shows. In the evening, after seeing one such show, I decided to go out and get some air to clear the head. Some stranger came up to me, claiming that he knew me from somewhere. I tried to get away from him, but he followed me right to the very doorstep of my house. The very next day, someone threw some eggs at my house windows. By this time I received so many threats that I started to simply ignore them. In the end, after reading a couple tens of messages about how I should be sent to the Gulag, be shot and maybe then quartered, it’s unlikely that I’ll learn anything new by reading another. I decided that I could no longer expose my family and neighbors to all this, and went into hiding. Some distant relatives living in a smaller town sheltered me for a while. Even then I could not sleep peacefully. It was reported that the Investigative Committee (our country-wide prosecution department) began a preliminary investigation, and there was a significant chance that they will go ahead with prosecution. In our country, only about 1% of all cases results in acquittal. You can imagine my dismay. Or maybe you can’t, but I was very dismayed.
I am fond of brewing Russian moonshine called Samogon. This is a pretty fascinating aspect of Russian culture dating back centuries, my grandfather and great-grandfather all did this. I like to drink samogon, too, but I always drank in moderation. But stress from all this happening got to me and I started to drink more, much more. I was incredibly lucky that my relatives who sheltered me supported me and did not allow me to drink myself to death . Then, and I could not believe my luck, it all passed. The media switched to other topics (new sanctions, the threat of war with Iran, etc.). The Investigative Committee either decided not to prosecute, or my case got buried in bureaucracy and there was no political pressure to pursue it anymore. Threats mostly stopped, too. I guess no one was this mad to actually travel to my neck of the woods. I mostly stopped drinking, got back home and returned to developing my games. I don’t know what awaits me in the future, but so far I am alive and free.
P.S. And apparently I just can’t lead a normal boring gamedev life, so I somehow got involved with Ukrainian developers making a game that makes fun of Russian security services. I guess I should prepare for a visit from the FSB (this is the russian analogue of the FBI). Hopefully, I won’t be shot and buried in on of Russia’s cold forests.
Some proof that I’m not lying about all that jazz:
Stalin’s granddaughter (only available in Russian):
The game itself:
And the game that will probably cause FBI to murder me:
I am still in Russia, but I am forced to live not at my home. So far, everything has calmed down, but probably before the release I will have to leave the country.
I talked to Russian IT'ers in China who moved there and just kept a server in Russia so they could easily do their job from a distance. China is(was) cheaper too so maybe that's an option? Unless you plan on making a game about Xinnie the poo having gay sex too. Then I'd consider some European country :D
Hmm, no, never thought about doing something like that
I'd look at your options. Never hurts to plan before they block you from traveling.
It would be a lot less stress on you, your neighbours, friends and family. Only downside is not seeing them often..
Easy for me to say this, but obviously you need to decide how close you want to cut it.
It's hard for me to be without family and friends.
It's harder to be locked up for making a game
Imprisoned, maybe. House arrest, much more likely. I hope I understand you correctly.
You should. I know now that you must not like communists much, but what is your opinion on Putin? Has he says d anything about it? Also, I'm pretty sure Stalin's last remaining direct relative lives in USA, would she support CPRF?
I have mixed feelings about Putin. He did a lot of good for the country, but a lot of bad, too. There's corruption everywhere and many industries stagnate. And medicine becomes worse, too. I haven't done a lot of research on Stalin's living relatives, only know about the one living in Russia, the one who is vocally against the game.
Well, you're always welcome here in the US!
Thank you, I hope.
I have been fan of yours long time.
You are social hero in RUSSIA!!
Please, tell me where you live and we can share only good vodka!
Fucking Lol comrade!
Thank you. But I must be vigilant, who knows if you're a dude from the FSB. PM me your contact info, we can get in touch.
I am not dude from FSB.
I only need full address and time you are home.
We will come, I mean, I will come to your wearing grey jacket and we walk to woods for beauty trip together.
I like to walk in the forest.
I hear forest in Siberia is quite beautiful
Yes, especially in winter.
So where ya hiding at then buddy?
Somewhere in the snowy steppes.
Which existing popular games in Russia do you think would be under similar harassment without the developers being somehow protected by a high official?
In Russia, many games received negative reviews from the press and members of the government. For example - Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Company of Hero 2. If you take the indie segment, then it’s more difficult. Many people are afraid to make games that violate the modern laws of Russia. For example - an insult to authorities, and some get persecuted because of pornographic content.
So does Call of Duty escape censure because they have fans very high up in government? Do such things commonly happen?
There was some censorship in Call of Duty - a few characters and scenes were renamed there, and in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 they even deleted the whole act - "No Russian". I think it is a miracle that this game was not banned in Russia, but there was also a movie "The Death of Stalin", and it was banned in Russia.
That film was fantastic. I'm curious, have you lived outside of Russia, or studied? Your English is incredibly good, not just functional but with the casual tone of native speakers. It's an odd image to reconcile this aspect of your character with the frozen backwater you're currently residing in!
No, I've never been outside Russia. Thank you for your kind words
How does your family feel about you creating the game? Were neighbors mad at you as well?
My family is unhappy with this, but still support me. I remember their faces when they found out about "Sex with Stalin" and they saw me on TV in the show, and my grandfather read about this in the newspaper on the way to work and even called me. The neighbors began to look at me strangely, but I had not seen them for a long time.
Does the Communist Party have anything to do with communism?
The modern communist party has a very indirect relation to communism. They do practically nothing, and also have forgotten the foundations of their ideology. Now they even go to church, although atheism in the country was proclaimed in Soviet times. Moreover, now they enjoy all the benefits of capitalism without any remorse.
Can you verbalize what that indirect relation is?
I mean, they have not been promoting the ideology of communism for a long time. In fact - now they do not do anything, do not develop the ideas of communism and do not adhere to them, in Russia - they are one of the puppet parties of our government that were created to create the illusion of democracy on an elections. Maybe it sounds a little messy, sorry for my English.
Perfectly clear actually. Is this knowledge/awareness of the the system common in your country? You seem to have a done a good job avoiding being indoctrinated by the propaganda.
I think it is, but most people seem to be fine with it. Some, of course, are completely deluded.
Sounds like the Russian equivalent of the American Republican party.
You do realise that Sex With Stalin literally sound like something that was developed just to provoke them commies? I mean, you did know that you are going to piss them off, but was that your goal? Or you tried to prove/highlight something in society?
Yes, it was a statement of sorts. I am against erecting false idols. Stalin’s reign is controversial, times were hard, I understand all that. But what happens right now in contemporary Russia is horrifying. The victory in the Great Patriotic War (that’s how we call WWII around here) is attributed solely to the dictator, sacrifices of the people are sidelined. Joseph Stalin is a brand now. This was my way to protest this. But I did not expect that this game would get so much attention.
Can you make a game where you play as Rasputin and you have to balance politics with having a boner so large that sucks needed blood from your brain?
Sounds interesting. I remember that.
how do you plan on staying hidden while doing AMA? I'm know nothing about cybersecurity but if someone who finds this thread and your comments won't there be people who can track you?
I’m using a privacy-oriented VPN, so I don’t think it’ll be that easy to track me. But I am still in Russia, so...
But they know your name and you admitted to living with relatives. That narrows it down a ton doesn't it?
Yes, they know a lot about me, and there's not a lot I could do. It's very easy to get or buy data on citizens here
If the private key in your vpn profile was generated remotely, make sure it was transmitted to your device over a TLS encrypted connection (or SSH), and get rid of CAs that might have ties to the russian government (I don't know if there are any).
I get it. Thanks!
Can you make a version where the object of the game is to break into a prison and kill Jeffery Epstein? Also, fuck commies. I'm glad you're giving them a much deserved ribbing.
I'll think about it. Thank you for the idea and support!
Why did you select your gentres?
Do you mean genres?
For me, this is an interesting experiment to combine the visual novel genre and the dating simulator, so it looks like something unusual and unlike other games.
How do we know your telling the truth? Can you provide some proof?
There are no calluses on my palms
Can you convince Stalin to expand his gulags?
Yes! The game has more than 25 endings. Also you can persuade Stalin to become a rapper. https://imgur.com/MsFqfRS
Oh my god.
I need this game now.
h my god.
I need this game now.
The game will be released in this year.
Any plans on making Pegging Putin?
I did not think about that.
Why does it taste bad when you have orange juice after you brush your teeth?
I don’t think it does, really. I think it just becomes a bit more sour.
It's complete and utter bullshit. First, Communist Party of Russia has completely no power in Russia nowadays. Second, hundreds of thousands people in Russia hate Stalin, shit on him on the Internet in every possible way and face no repercussions. Third, modern Russian government sponsors and encourages movies which depict soviet people as idiots, and soviet period of russian history as bloody. Moreover, not a single major russian news agency wrote about this? Even the most liberal ones, like Meduza or Novaya Gazeta. Source - i live in Russia, never heard of this guy and his shitty game. I am not communist at all, just hate when such bullshit appears on reddit.
Do you know the movie The Death of Stalin? It was banned in Russia. Communist party can’t influence big politics, but they are capable of such things. Make a big proclamation, stir up some media personalities. And anyone living in Russia knows, there are quite a few people out there who consider Stalin a saint, for real. Anyone who says something bad about him or even makes a joke is a blasphemer in their eyes.
If you need proof, let me know.
The part about news agency is straight-up lies. I provided some sources in the master post, here are some more:
why are (some) Russians so precious and sensitive about the past and their country?
In Russia, the freedoms of its people was always secondary to the needs of the country. The vast territory, the need to defend and settle it. For centuries, it was taught that a single person is nothing and one must sacrifice himself to serve his motherland. So you could say that there's a historical conditioning at play.
To be fair, we have the same thing in the US we just brand subservience as "individualism", but what that word really means is individualism for the rich and serfdom for the poor. We thrive on the illusion of freedom without the actual freedom part.
May be. There is no ideal country in our world.
Hang on there,buddy.I’d strongly recommend you to leave this place moving to an actual country at least till the time mr.khuilo dies(which I think is pretty soon).Are you still doing dev works on something at this moment?
Thank you so much for your support! Now I continue to develop my games - "Sex with Stalin" and "Boobs Saga".
Oh my, the names of them games are sweet!Good luck with those,mate
Where do you see the Russian Federation in thirty years?
Don't know, to be honest. Putin's holding out on naming his actual successor, so who knows. One thing for sure, life won't be much easier.
I heard many crazy stories about samagon. Why do you like them?
Making samogon is a very interesting hobby for me. You can make the product taste like almost anything. And if you do it properly, no hangover. I also make some traditional medicine infusions.
So it really is just Russian version of moonshine (and probably much older than Moonshine). I've had blueberry flavor shine, cinnamon flavor shine, cherry, peach, watermelon, apple, sour apple, etc...
I like to make samogon (Moonshine) out of cane sugar or rice and then age it in a cask. Tinctures are made from the wild flowers and grasses.
You know russia isn’t controlled by the commies anymore, right?
This is true, but the Communists have connections in the government.
If you have to leave the country which country are you planning to go?
I really hope that I'll be able to stay in Russia, I have family, friends and loved ones here. If worst comes to worst, I'm thinking Ukraine or Poland. I have some friends there and they generally hate communists there. Have a few ex-coworkers living in US, too, but that's much more far-fetched.
Wait, what the seriously honest sh"t is that? I mean, heeeeey, S. is a person! Did you ever think about it? Yes, noone care about dead ppl, like they will never ever come again, but... Why doing this trash? No-no-no, I don't mean plot, I mean "adult" things. Ha, why do adult men need such a game, I didn't mean to hate ya, but I mean why do you do this actual sh.... So, why not trying something that means? Nobody tries to make super interesting program for learning life things. I mean school app. Yeah, we already have a lot of that stuff, but is this enough? Does it matter? Changes anything? Try hard to make it healthy and pretty, so ppl would learn how to live. And when you will have an idea of project about learning stuff, make it. We all need a rest. Not bloody sins, yo, I know ppl like sins, but it's darkside of the world, darkmind of a man. I don't really like dirty things, ow, so... That was thoughts of a man who half-clear inside. Nah, I mean I do sins, but only with words and sometime drawings, but I am not about kill everything just for fun. Yeah, I actually did not try your game, man. So that was just givin' thoughts. You can ignore if you want, that's your life, on your side. I am doing that I wanna do. So I wanna go and see more stuff about any theme and etc. Goodbye, if you ask, hello.
The main idea is to give the player the opportunity to talk with Stalin. There is not much adult content in this game. This is not a porn game.
For example, you can persuade Stalin to abandon repression and become a rapper. Or tell him about Justin Bieber. And then Stalin decides to blow up the Earth.
https://imgur.com/MsFqfRS https://imgur.com/KQW6QV6 https://imgur.com/qjz7SsX
Does Putin’s party support this game or not?
They did not comment.
Wouldn't you like to emigrate?
I really hope that I'll be able to stay in Russia, I have family, friends and loved ones here. If worst comes to worst, I'm thinking Ukraine or Poland.
Have you ever heard of, or played Metal Gear Solid 3, and what was the reaction to the game like from the government, if there was any at all?
I know about the game, but I think no one covered it in Russia, and it wasn't banned.
Ever considered leaving the country for another safer locale?
Yes. But I have family here.
Why would you just make an alias developer name. Cuz you probably have to get paid at some point huh?
I was always pretty open about the development. I have a YouTube channel, mainly for Russian community.
Doesn’t Stalin’s great grand daughter own a shop in Portland?
Turns out there are several living granddaughters out there. One lives in Russia.
Would you do anything different given the opportunity?
Don't know, really. I'm trying to walk my own path, but sometimes it's difficult, even scary.
Do you use anything to mark yourself and your location online? As in proxies, VPN and such? If so could you list what you use?
Yeah, I use VPN and Tor Browser to protect myself.
Have you played Fap Queen 2?
Fap Queen 2
Sorry, but I didn't play it
Are you familiar with David and Daniil Liberman?
No, I don’t think so.
Oh well. I honestly never heard of you and your game before.
Here are questions:
- Do you think your death threats were funded/supported by Communist Party or any other officials or is it tankies with no power?
- Did you make any money off your game?
- What do you think of new Ministry of culture? (You know, the lady)
I think all this happened on a tip from the Russian Communists.
Sex with Stalin is still in development. The price will be minimal. And I will give part of the earned money to nursing homes, in addition to this I also promised my animator % of sales.
Little is known about her, but her past statements of a decade ago are very funny and at odds with the position of the authorities.
Why did you create this? Why disrespect Stalin like this? I mean, I know he was a cruel man but if it wasn't for him the Nazis wouldn't have been beaten and there would be no Russia today.
I treat the person of Stalin adequately, but I am against creating false idols. The story can be treated differently, the time was hard. But what is happening now in Russia is horror. The victory of the peoples of the USSR is attributed to one dictator, ignoring the sacrifices of people. From Josef Stalin made a cult and brand. I decided to make an protest with my game and reflect the problems of modern Russia and the new cult of Stalin.
So are you still in danger from the communist party or are you currently out of the country? Or would even answering that be too dangerous?
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