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StopHam (English: "Stop a Douchebag") is a Russian social activist campaign and non-profit organization based in Moscow that seeks to curb traffic law violations and unruly driving habits by confronting the offenders on camera and sharing the recorded footage online. Since its launch in July 2010, StopHam has garnered online notoriety and international media attention after a number of videos depicting hostile interactions between the activists and the motorists went viral in the social media.


The movement was initially launched in July 2010 by Russian social activist Dmitriy Chugunov and other members of the Moscow-based political youth movement Nashi[12] as a public campaign against offenders of various traffic laws and reckless drivers on the road, mainly those who illegally park their cars in restricted zones or otherwise obstruct the paths of pedestrians. Between 2010 and 2012, the campaign steadily grew from a local-level initiative in the Moscow Metropolitan Area into a broader regional movement with affiliated chapters in other Russian cities, as well as in neighboring Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus.


The group's primary modes of operation consists of verbally persuading drivers to move their cars to designated parking zones, or in cases of noncompliance by the driver and illegally parked vehicles left unattended, publicly shaming their offenses by slapping on a large sticker that reads "I don't care for anyone, I park where I want" on the windshield of the cars (shown below). Furthermore, the group also films their interactions with the motorists, oftentimes of hostile or confrontational nature, on camera and upload the footage to online video-sharing platforms such as YouTube, LiveLeak and VK.


Chechen Republic Official Scandal

In April 2012, the group drew substantial public attention for the first time after its street activist members confronted Madina Mingaeva, the wife of the-then Russian Federation's deputy ambassador of Chechen Republic Tamerlane Mingaeva, for illegally parking her luxury Lexus car at the Jevropejskij ("European") shopping center in Moscow. The confrontation then escalated into a violent fight between the activists and an entourage of several young men who arrived on the scene at the behest of Mrs. Mingaeva, including her son Islam Mingaev. Despite the latter group's attempt to stop the video recording by the activists, the footage of the street brawl was subsequently uploaded to YouTube (shown below). Upon entering online circulation, the video immediately went viral, sparking a major political scandal and criminal investigation which resulted in the dismissal of Tamerlane Mingaeva from his office in early May. In the following two years, the video clip amassed more than seven million views.

Madina Mingaeva: “God forbid this video appears on YouTube, I swear I’ll catch you anywhere and root up your legs. You’ll be creeping on two hands. Got it?”

YouTube Channel Ban

In early November 2014, StopHam's official YouTube channel became inaccessible due to several complaints of copyright infringement; as a result, a total of 157 videos that had been uploaded since its launch were removed from the channel. In response to the mass takedown of the videos from YouTube, the group re-uploaded its entire collection to the Russian video-sharing platform RuTube. As of November 2015, StopHam's official RuTube channel hosts a total of 180 original videos (Russian audio only).

Online Presence

On May 24th, 2012, the group launched its official YouTube channel StopXamLive to publish a series of video clips showing their street activists interacting with motorists and taking actions against illegally parked vehicles. On October 2nd, StopHam's official VK page was launched to promote the movement and recruit members across the rest of the country. In 2014, StopHam continued to expand its social media presence by launching the official Twitter account on September 12th, followed by the creation of the official Facebook group on November 12th. In January 2015, the group began publishing its video collection with English subtitles via secondary YouTube channel labeled "Stop a Douchebag."


After rising to national spotlight with the viral video featuring the Russian diplomat's wife, the group continued to make the headlines through similar confrontations with public figures and members of the Russian political elite, including Margaret Arakelian, a ranking official in the Legal Department of the Central Election Commission of Russia, and Tatiana Smoryakova, the wife of the-then chairman of the council in Moscow's Maryino District, Alexander Smoryakov.


The movement has been met with varying opinions from the Russian public; according to a poll conducted in March 2014, approximately 52% of responders between the age of 20 to 60 supported the campaign, 24% reacted "neutrally," 17% did not support the campaign and 6.7% were unaware of the group.


In 2013, the group received four million rubles in public funding as part of the presidential grant, followed by six million rubles in 2014 and eight million rubles in 2015. In addition to the government's provisions, StopHam reportedly generates substantial income through YouTube's monetization program, an estimated annual revenue of $12 to $19 million, according to SocialBlade.

News Media Coverage

The movement began drawing attention from the local news media after the video of the brawl between the group's street activists and an entourage affiliated with family members of the Russian official went viral in April 2012. The incident, along with the campaign, was also reported on by ABC News shortly after the dismissal of the envoy in May that same year. On August 27th, Russian TV channel TVTsenter mentioned the emerging movement in the documentary series called "Gorodskije vojny," which examined various traffic-related problems and escalating road rage incidents in Moscow's metropolitan area. The international notoriety of the campaign saw a notable spike in early 2015 after Redditor DesignerCat submitted a link to one of the group's English-subtitled videos to /r/videos on February 5th; the post accrued 11,296 points (97% upvotes) prior to its archival and led to the launch of the /r/stopadouchebag subreddit. In the following days, a number of English-language cultural and automobile-related news blogs highlighted the movement, including Cheezburger, Autoblog, Deadspin and VICE, among others.

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