Hackers took over Bulgarian media to broadcast a meme that Russian President Vladimir Putin loathes.

He hates it so much, he made it illegal to display inside the country. The graphic shows the dictator wearing makeup in front of a rainbow flag.

Hackers, activists, and social media users have launched their own campaigns aimed at disrupting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as NATO and the West respond with crippling sanctions and companies flee.

The Kremlin has tried to stem the damage by blocking social media sites, making it illegal for the media to call the war an “invasion” instead of a “special military operation,” and arresting thousands of anti-war protestors – all as the Russian economy starts to collapse and citizens flee before they’re conscripted or made destitute.

“Enough is enough — Open your mouth!” demonstration in Berlin against the homophobia anti-gay laws in Russia, August 31, 2013. Nearly 5,000 people rallied, starting in the western part of the city and ending in front of the Russian embassy. Photo by by Marco Fieber | ostblog.org is marked with CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

The meme was first posted online in 2013 to protest Putin’s “anti-gay propaganda” law that prohibited Russians from posting or broadcasting anything pro-LGBTQ. That same law has been used to prosecute a teenager for posting photos of shirtless men on social media.

The “extremist” graphic was banned in 2017, for “alleging non-standard sexual orientation of the president of the Russian Federation.”

Just days ago, hackers took over the online stream of Bulgaria’s biggest broadcasters, which includes several sites allowed to be shown inside of Russia. According to reports, cyber warriors gained control by hacking into the sites’ hosting provider.

For 20 minutes, the group displayed the meme with the words, “Make Love, Not War.”

Ukrainian officials have called on hacker groups to help them fend off the Russian invasion, urging them to take down Russian websites and scramble their communications capabilities.

This report appears courtesy of our media partner LGBTQNation.com

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