News site using CS:GO to bypass Russian media restrictions says its map is being blocked in Russia

A secret room within a CS:GO map called De_Voyna
(Image credit: Valve / Helsingin Sanomat)

Earlier this year, Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat created a Counter-Strike: Global Offensive map intended to provide Russian players "independent journalism" on the war in Ukraine. Now, the outlet says the map has been blocked in Russia.

A new article from Helsingin Sanomat says that the map, called de_voyna, is no longer available for download from IP addresses located in Russia. Anecdotally, players testing availability in Russia through VPNs have found the map inaccessible, too.

According to a machine translation of the Finnish article, Helsingin Sanomat believes that because it would be practically impossible for Russian authorities to block access to a single CS:GO map, "it is obvious that the blocking has been done on the end of the game service provider Valve in the United States."

Helsingin Sanomat says that Valve did not respond to its request for comment. We've separately reached out to Valve for further information, but did not receive an immediate response.

The map includes a hidden room featuring headlines and images from Helsingin Sanomat reporting on the war in Ukraine, which would typically be inaccessible to Russian players. The map is still available on the Steam Workshop outside of Russia, but if you want a quick overview, the video above from 3kliksphilip is a solid one.

"Russians have very little chance to receive independent information about Putin's invasion of Ukraine," Helsingin Sanomat editor-in-chief Antero Mukka told us via email earlier this year. "However, the gaming world and gamers themselves are still left unchecked. That's why we decided to hide a newspaper inside the world's most popular war game."

Counter-Strike 2 is set to launch this summer.

Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.