Vatnik Soup
Soup number132
Thread Reader AppRead
Thread Reader PDFRead
Vatnik’s professionStreamer
Vatnik’s country of originUnited Kingdom

Mike "iEarlGrey" Jones

In today’s #vatniksoup, I’ll introduce an ex-video game streamer and gamer turned-propagandist, Mike “iEarlGrey” Jones. He’s best-known for transforming his gaming-related YouTube channel into Kremlin propaganda instrument. Jones has been residing in Russia since 2018.

To understand the vatnik-y background of Mr. Jones, we have to go way back to his game streaming days and also take a quick look at his dating history. Jones was (is?) an avid gamer who focused on strategy games made by a company called Wargaming.

Wargaming is a company known for their war strategy games such as World of Tanks and World of Warships. In his streaming career, Mike focused on the latter and was kind of a “big name” in that scene.

Wargaming was founded in Belarus in 1998 by Victor Kislyi. As is tradition in both big Russia and little Russia (i.e. Belarus), the headquarters of the company was soon moved to Nicosia, Cyprus.

In February 2022, the creative director of Wargaming Sergey Burkatovskiy was fired for supporting the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The company later condemned the war and claimed their support for Ukraine.

At the beginning of Jun, 2018, Jones moved to St. Petersburg, allegedly to start at his new job at Wargaming. In Aug, 2018 he introduced her future Russian wife for the first time for the larger audience. They were married in 2020.

In Jan, 2022, he appeared to have abandoned his support for the company and announced his support for the Russian “traditional values”, as he published a video titled “WGNA [Wargaming North America] Go Woke Go Broke”.

Then the invasion started, and his YouTube channel had a complete overhaul, as it started publishing literal Kremlin propaganda such as RT-produced documentaries. By doing this, Jones was actually circumventing the EU ban on RT.

He also started publishing commentaries on issues like McDonalds leaving Russia, evidence on “Ukrainian plans for attacking Crimea” in early 2022 (BTW, those documents look like they were photoshopped by my late grandma, God rest her soul), and the “economic fall of the West”.9/18
He’s also done interviews with “independent journalists” such as Eva Bartlett and Igor Gomolsky. He visited Donbas to interview the local crisis actors and provide them “humanitarian aid” - a very common trope among western, pro-Russian propagandists.

In Mar, 2023, he appeared on Russian state-owned national TV channel Zvezda with Florida Man and ex-cop turned-propagandist, John Mark Dougan. In the interview, they talked about their humanitarian project in Donbas. In his heartbreaking...

...monologue, he stated that as “Russia wouldn’t mobilize him” (which they most certainly would), he’d “mobilize himself”.

Mike is extremely productive, and he publishes new video almost on a daily basis. His funding model is a mystery, but supposedly he gets money...

...via his various donation channels. He has a Patreon, which makes him something between 370 and 2500 EUR a month. He’s also asking money on Locals and on Stripe, selling T-shirts and encouraging people to donate to him via crypto.

Stripe is an Irish-American company, Locals hails from NYC & Teespring Inc. also comes from the US, so it might be worth looking into if he’s breaking the US/EU sanctions by using these services to fund his pro-Russian propaganda (as was the case with Alina Lipp’s donations). 14/18
Cutting these bad actors from their income source is the best way to stop the flow of propaganda and disinformation. Although, I assume that he’s also paid for by the Kremlin for publishing material from RT.

When looking at Mike’s past and his trajectory, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he’s decided to support Russia in this horrible war. Basically he’s been part of that culture since his streaming days, and he’s allegedly still married to Russian lady and lives in Russia.

His past as a relatively popular streamer with 120 000 YouTube followers provides the illusion that he’s a “big name”, but his recent videos have garnered only 10 000-60 000 views. Nevertheless, he is an important channel for spreading Russian disinfo into the mainstream.

He’s also a useful propaganda poster boy for the Russian media, as he “reveals the hypocrisy of the West”. This material is then fed to the common Russian folk through nationwide TV channels.

Related soups