Substack, an online platform popular among independent authors and media used to create newsletters and mailings, has found itself in a scandalous situation. The platform’s website allows users to find the best publications for each country, with a globe with a map of the selected country displayed on the search page. On Substack, it shows the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea as part of Russia.

Screenshot of the Substack website page

The fact that Substack is an American company headquartered in San Francisco adds to the absurdity of this situation. However, this does not prevent it from working with Russian and openly pro-Kremlin authors who freely publish Russian propaganda on the platform.

An example of Russian propaganda on Substack, in which the author writes about the collapse of Ukraine

The top publications and authors on Substack from Russia include English-language posts from accounts that promote anti-Ukrainian messages to Western audiences.


In particular, from the Kremlin “expert” Mark Sleboda, who spreads narratives about Ukraine’s inevitable defeat.

The platform itself has not announced any suspension of operations in Russia and continues to operate there.

At the end of last year, Substack was already at the center of a scandal due to the lack of an adequate content moderation policy. The Atlantic magazine accused the platform of distributing mailings with Nazi ideology. Substack co-founder Hamish McKenzie said that the platform would remove content that incites violence, but leave other extremist mailings because “exposing ideas to open discussion is the best way to strip bad ideas of their power.”

Therefore, we can hardly expect an adequate response from Substack to moderate and remove Russian propaganda. We sent a media request to Substack for a commentary, but did not receive one at the time of publication. We will update the news as soon as the commentary is available.