NAVI Cuts All Ties With Russian Esports Company ESforce Holding
Ukrainian esports organization Natus Vincere (NAVI), has terminated all cooperation with the Russian esports company ESforce Holding. As a result, NAVI has also ended all ties with organizations under ESforce Holding. These include the esports club Virtus.pro, the tournament organizer Epic Esports Events, the Russian-speaking broadcasting studio RuHub, and esports media portal cybersports.ru. NAVI stated that this decision was made because while on one hand its employees were living in bomb shelters, ESforce Holding denied this "horror" that is taking place amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This follows a now-deleted tweet from RuHub that said employees opposing the invasion were being chased. RuHub claims that the tweet was made by a former employee with unauthorized access to the account.
NAVI cuts ties with ESforce Holding citing their public denial of the “horror” happening in Ukraine
NAVI explained how the Russian invasion has affected Ukraine, its citizens, and NAVI’s own employees and players since it began six days ago, on 24th Feb. The organization stated that ESforce Holding had publicly denied the “horror” that is happening in Ukraine. According to NAVI, this ignorance is "inhuman" and "unacceptable," thus all ties have been severed with ESforce Holding.
Additionally, NAVI expressed its gratitude to the employees of these organizations who did not fear making their voices heard.
In a since-deleted tweet from RuHub, a statement was made that RuHub, Epic Esports Events, and Virtus.pro were supportive of sending troops to Ukraine and that the organization was searching for employees who disagreed with them with the help of security.
RuHub claims that the Tweet was made by a former employee who possessed unauthorized access to its official account. In another tweet, RuHub stated that it does not prevent employees from having personal opinions.
Thus far, the four organizations under ESforce Holding that NAVI has severed all ties with have not made any public statements on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. ESforce Holding is reportedly owned by VK (formerly Mail.ru Group), which has ties to the Kremlin.
What is the esports community's response to RuHub's deleted tweet and NAVI's decision to end ties with ESforce Holding?
Ukrainian caster Vitalii Nikolaevich "v1lat" Volochai stated that it was a shame that this studio, along with Virtus.pro and Epic Esports Events, were becoming "Putin-inspired bulls**t."
[Translate Via DeepL Translator]
Dota 2 commentators such as Kyle "Kyle" Freedman and Robson "TeaGuvnor" Merritt, who have lived in Ukraine for a period of time, encouraged the community to stop participating in any events organized by Epic Esports Events. According to TeaGuvnor, this would be in line with the actions taken by worldwide esports and sports organizations like Blast, FIFA, and others against Russian teams.
V1lat agreed with TeaGuvnor, adding that Valve and other game developers should check Epic Esports Events' support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Many other esports personalities and teams have voiced their solidarity with Ukraine. In his address to the esports community, Ukrainian CS:GO player Oleksandr "s1mple" Kostyliev urged unity: he noted that esports lies outside of politics, and that esports should provide an environment where people come together.
Furthermore, Valve has indefinitely postponed the Eastern Europe (EEU) Dota Pro Circuit (DPC) 2021-22 Tour 2, which was set to begin in the second week of March.