Russia: who’s afraid of 5G and why
Virus spraying, brain irradiation and total control – this is what opponents of fifth-generation networks say the authorities use 5G towers for. 5G horror videos are gaining millions of views on YouTube, and tens of thousands of people are members of social media groups calling for an end to exposure. Coda Story tells how the fight against 5G has spread in Russia.
“I run, I ski in winter, I get hardier every day and don’t get sick at all,” says 50-year-old Alexei Fedyunin from Nizhny Tagil. “And I have a watch that shows the number of steps, average heart rate, and so on. When I run at the same speed on a flat embankment, my heart rate is about 140. And boom – I run in [one place], and my heart rate rises sharply – 170-something. Why would it? I did not do any accelerations. I turn my head – this tower is standing right there. “
Fedyunin works as a train driver. Alexei noticed strange towers in the spring. Watching YouTube videos convinced him that the towers negatively affect people. At the same time, they do not bring any benefits – the Internet does not work faster.
Similar symptoms – headache, increased heart rate, blood pressure, feeling unwell – are present in many opponents of 5G. They are firmly convinced that the emerging of new technologies is not good for them.
Muscovite Natalya Chernikhovskaya spent the whole spring watching videos on YouTube, in which English-speaking bloggers told that there was no pandemic, and the closure of cities in a suspicious way coincided with the appearance of 5G towers in them. On YouTube, you can find dozens of the same videos in Russian, shot according to a similar scenario.
Chernikhovskaya is a translator by trade. She and her associates from the social movement “citizens of the USSR” (people who refuse to recognize the collapse of the Soviet Union and the legitimacy of the Russian government) call the masks “muzzles” and do not believe in the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the “citizens” told her that self-isolation is necessary in order to lock people up at home and carry out “some kind of radiation” in Moscow in a test mode. He added that he felt a headache and that he was not alone.
“I decided to tell my subscribers about this and many began to reply that they also had a headache,” recalls Natalya. “And then I also had a headache, some kind of waves … It would let go, then roll back again.”
Chernikhovskaya came to the conclusion that the cell towers were to blame: her head began to ache if she approached them. In addition, they emitted a strong hum. One such tower was discovered right in the courtyard of the house where Natalya lives with her 16-year-old daughter.
The irate Chernikhovskaya recorded a video in which she explained to the subscribers: for the sake of the experiment, the authorities “fry” Muscovites, one should complain about the radiation to Rospotrebnadzor. The video received more than 220 thousand views.
Chernikhovskaya received hundreds of comments – most people wrote that they are also against 5G towers, and “in Europe they have been burned down for a long time, and our people only boast about who has a cooler computer, mobile or TV set with high-speed Internet.”
During the pandemic, the fight against towers escalated and went beyond the Internet. In late May, residents of the Dagestani village of Novy Chirkei recorded a video message in which they promised to burn a nearby tower to get rid of the radiation. In Rostov-on-Don, the townspeople besieged a tower installed without their knowledge, and did not allow equipment to be connected to it, for the fear of being infected with the coronavirus from the tower.
In the Moscow district of Perovo, local residents are collecting signatures for dismantling a cell tower, which, according to them, makes a lot of noise, obstructs the horizon and badly affects their well-being. In Serpukhov, residents have formed an initiative group to demolish all the towers near their houses.
The idea of fighting the towers came to Russia from the West. One of the main ideologists of this struggle is the famous British conspiracy theorist David Icke (the creator of the theory of the reptilians ruling mankind), who during the pandemic convinced his subscribers that the coronavirus was spreading through the towers, and quarantine was invented to make people poor and dependent on the state.
Back in May, YouTube and Facebook management decided to fight against statements about the connection of 5G technologies with the coronavirus pandemic and blocked Icke’s pages, but his video managed to gain more than 30 million views.
Moreover, British viewers, inspired by his ideas, took to the warpath: during the Easter holidays alone, 22 attempts were made to set cell towers on fire in the country.
In April, the British radio station Uckfield FM held a sensational broadcast in which a guest who introduced herself as a nurse said that 5G literally sucks air from people’s lungs.
The authorities had to intervene and issue a warning to the radio station – but the audio recording has already spread across English-speaking Facebook.
What is 5G
“5G is just a new generation of the cellular communication protocol, which by and large does not differ from the previous four in anything except speed,” explains Stanislav Shakirov, technical director of the public organization RosKomSvoboda.
“Websites are getting heavier every year, videos are getting better quality, and more comfortable use requires a faster connection between the devices and the base station. The transition to 5G is necessary for Russia. Otherwise, the Internet in the rest of the world will be faster than ours.”
There are only three 5G towers in Moscow – the Moscow City Hall website indicates that three pilot zones have appeared in the capital, in which cellular operators are testing new communication standards. The commercial launch of 5G networks in the city is scheduled for 2022–2023. There is no agenda on covering the whole of Russia with a new generation of cellular communications: the frequencies necessary for this are occupied by the military and Roscosmos.