Russia's Top YouTubers Set to Lose Millions as Platform Suspends Monetization

Russia's YouTubers are the latest group set to be hit by sanctions against the country over the invasion of Ukraine.

While the U.S. has the likes of the Paul brothers and the U.K. has the Sidemen, Russia has its own brand of internet celebrities who rely on their millions of loyal subscribers for income. Google, which owns YouTube, has now suspended monetization on videos for all users in Russia, which is bound to have an effect on the livelihoods of Russian internet stars like A4, TheKateClapp and AdamThomasMoran.

Each of these online personalities, and many more like them, has millions of subscribers.

Between them, the top Russian content creators have billions of views which will have earned them millions of dollars and rubles over the years. Now that Google has removed the ability to monetize videos, any future videos they post, and views on previous videos won't earn them a cent or a kopek.

A4, aka Vlad Paper (Влад Бумага), is one of the biggest Russian YouTube stars at the moment. He has millions of fans across multiple social media platforms but his YouTube account is by far the biggest with 38.6 million subscribers and more than 13 billion views of his videos.

A4's latest YouTube video was posted on Wednesday. It's a 30-minute-long feature of him and friends playing ice hockey in an empty hockey stadium.

Vlogger TheKateClapp has collected over seven million subscribers since joining in December 2010. YouTube personality and podcast host AdamThomasMoran has 10.6 million subscribers and has garnered well over 2 billion views from his 12 years on the platform.

Exclusively Russian language YouTubers like Lawyer Egorov (Адвокат Егоров) and Ruslan Usachev (Руслан Усачев) each have millions of subscribers and views between them too. Each of the YouTubers feature links to their other social media pages on their account but none of their follower numbers are as large as they are on YouTube.

Since the invasion of Ukraine began in February, many international businesses have ceased activity in Russia, with the likes of Coca-Cola, McDonald's and Starbucks being just some of the dozens of companies taking action.

Announcing their latest actions, a YouTube spokesperson told Newsweek, "We've recently paused all Google and YouTube ads in Russia. As a follow-up, we're now extending this pause to all our monetization features."

Russian videos will continue to earn money from monetized ads from outside of the country, but since many of these YouTubers post videos in the Russian language, that's likely to be a tiny portion of their viewership.

There are a few Russian YouTubers who post videos in English who may be able to diversify their audience and earn an income from countries other than Russia. CrazyRussianHacker posts unusual science experiments in the English language from the United States, while Russian-American personalities like Vitaly Zdorovetskiy have legions of fans in Russia and the rest of the world.

YouTubers receive an income from their monetized videos. Generally, these are the ads you see at the beginning and sometimes during a video. In 2021 Business Insider determined how much a YouTuber can be paid by the site for the amount of views a video gets.

For a video with 100,000 views, they can get anywhere between $500 to $2,500, while a video with 1,000,000 views can score a creator anywhere between $3,400 and $40,000.

American YouTuber Paul Kousky revealed that a video about Nerf guns he posted in February 2018 that got 150 million views earned him $97,000.

Journalist Kevin Rothrock tweeted YouTube's announcement, commenting "That's a whole creator industry up in smoke" and that there's "no way these guys can make up that revenue on Vkontakte and the like." Vkontakte, or VK, is a Russian online social media service.

Russian YouTube
ThatKateClapp, A4, Adam Thomas Moran and Ruslan Usachev (Clockwise L-R) are some of the YouTubers who will be affected by Google's ban on monetization. YouTube