In Odessa, Ukrainians are girding for yet another fight in another major city as Russian warships and paratroopers threaten the southern, coastal region of Europe’s second-largest nation, with citizens laying sandbags to protect the art and culture of this key port city founded by Catherine the Great.
For one citizen of Odessa, however, the sensation of being prepared to fight a large and powerful enemy doesn’t feel new, because Oleksandr Gereskul has been battling his own enemies — at least virtually — for more than a year.
You see, Oleksandr Gereskul is an investor in GameStop
According to multiple posts on subreddit r/GME in recent days and email communications with MemeMoney, the 48-year-old Gereskul says that he is holed up in his native Odessa, waiting for Russia’s attack and asking his fellow self-professed “GME Apes” for recognition, if not support, on social media.
In a series of Reddit posts, under username u/kvintos80 with the title “I AM FROM UKRAINE. I STEEL LOVE GME,” Gereskul is sharing thoughts and images he claims are from inside the siege while also asking Reddit moderators not to take down his posts, because while they aren’t strictly about his investment in GameStop shares (as the rules of the subreddit require) he wants his online community to know that they are about what he sees as another important struggle.
“Dear ape. I can. I can write again. GME FOREVE[R]” Gereskul posted early Thursday. “Mode[rator] thanks for your patience, I do know my posts don’t concern this group.”
In a post on Wednesday, he wrote of an opportunity “to bring to the world what is happening in the war in Ukraine.” In an email exchange with Gereskul on Wednesday, he told MemeMoney that he expected an attack on Odessa imminently.
“Alarm all the time. Busy days,” he wrote. But a heightened sense of alarm is something Gereskul says he can cope with better, partially based on what he has learned from his experience in the meme-stock revolution.
“I am the same person who, in the heat of the rush, came to the GME project and now firmly believes that fighting against the hedge funds and fighting the [Ukraine] war is the same thing,” he posted Wednesday on Reddit.
Gereskul posted a screenshot of his GME average price over the course of his investment, a common practice in the community. The price was $191.40, indicating that he has been an investor between the $325-per-share highs of January 2021, and Wednesday’s closing price of $122.14.
In Thursday’s Reddit post, Gereskul compared a shorting tactic that many individual investors believe is commonly used by hedge funds with artillery shelling.
“GME money is important,” read Thursday’s post. “But when I look into I understand that system wants to devastate us. The system can use a ladder attack or real bombs on our heads. It is the same for them.”
Support from the Apes
Gereskul’s posts have been met with some support in the virtual realm.
“We’ve forged a family in these forums over the past 14 months, and if my blood relatives were in Ukraine right now, I’d want to know how they were doing,” replied u/Hub-Hikari on Wednesday. “Stay strong. Stay safe.”
Other GME investors joined the chorus of replies to Gereskul’s posts, with many writing “Slava Ukraine!,” or “Glory to Ukraine,” as a rallying cry.
On Thursday, Gereskul also posted images of what he claimed was a residential building shelled by Russian troops.
“They claim they don’t bomb the civil place,” he wrote. “That is [meme] stock. That is hype. It’s worth nothing.”
“Putin is a big hedgie,” replied u/Antball.
Since Russia’s invasion, numerous Reddit boards have broken out with discussions of how to buy Ukrainian war bonds, paying 11% interest, with some users urging one another to do so, despite reports of difficulties around how to buy the bonds.
“Hell, I would open a Robinhood account if this was the only way to buy,” mused u/ACELUCKY23 on a WallStreetBets post discussing the bonds. “I just want to invest my money in the resistance against the Russians.”
Gereskul said he appreciates any support.
“Thanks for your attention dear simple ape,” he wrote Thursday. “I am like you. I only want to be free.”