Students at Samara University are handing in used electronic cigarettes as part of a donation drive to support the Russian army's invasion of Ukraine, according to a report by independent publication Novaya Gazeta Europe. The drive is being coordinated by the “Volunteers in epaulettes,” which are part of the “Sokol” patriotic society.
As explained in a leaflet handed out by the volunteers, it is not the e-cigarettes themselves that are needed at the front line, but their parts — microcircuits and batteries — which are repurposed to operate ammunition release systems in combat drones. According to Sokol volunteers, the group decided to start the donation drive when it was approached by “people involved in the special military operation” [a euphemism used by the Russian government to refer to the invasion of Ukraine — translator’s note].
The group’s community on social network VK published an image repurposed from an old Soviet poster, depicting a young man refusing alcohol at the dinner table. The poster has been edited to show the man refusing an e-cigarette, with the caption: “NO! Don't throw it away - give it to the front. 1 e-cigarette = 1 drone drop on the enemy!”.
The following message is also attached:
You can provide invaluable help to our servicemen fighting in the [special military operation] zone, thus contributing to the shared Victory!
Do not throw e-cigarettes in the trash, bring them to us and leave them in the box for their collection.
Maybe you don't smoke, but you know someone who does — take e-cigarettes from them, don't pass them by!
Smoking is bad for their health, but can be invaluable in the fight against Western technology.
Help the front, bring in e-cigarettes that have served their purpose, and the experts [will] use them to their advantage!!!”
On November 14, the group published a post on VK depicting the collection of e-cigarettes. According to the message, the students had handed in more than 200 vaping devices, which were then sent to the front line.