Twitch has begun withholding payments to Russian streamers to comply with sanctions imposed by the United States to punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
"Payouts to the financial institution associated with your Twitch account have been blocked as a result of sanctions," reads an email sent to Russian streamers by Twitch (H/T The Washington Post). "Twitch complies with economic sanctions imposed by the United States and other governments, and is complying with those imposed in response to the situation in Ukraine. These sanctions may limit or impact your access to payouts, ability to monetize your stream, and/or financially support other creators."
If streamers can provide alternative financial institutions not affected by sanctions, Twitch will pay out to those institutions. But with services such as PayPal going offline in Russia, streamers there are hard pressed for viable alternatives.
Twitch's email adds "we appreciate how frustrating and difficult this is and would like to reassure you that if you can't provide an alternative financial institution, we will do our best to pay you revenue you have earned as soon as we are permitted to do so."
One Russian Twitch partner, CommanderIvy, told The Washington Post she had expected the sanctions, but not quite so soon.
"My community worries and show up and talking to them, telling them how I feel, how things are, letting them see my face and my emotions about the situation is the least I can do," she said. Streaming on Twitch through the instability of the invasion has helped keep her "sane."
Even streamers who had already left Russia but had their finances tied to Russian institutions are affected by Twitch's payout withholding. Alexey "Jesus AVGN" Gubanov, who fled Russia for the U.S. to avoid persecution over his stance against Russian President Vladimir Putin, said Twitch was blocking his payments.
"I have been blocked from payments from Twitch, many advertisers have left the Russian market and my Visa and Mastercard cards will soon be blocked abroad," he told The Post. "For many years I have been against the Putin regime, because of which I had to flee my home country, and yet I still have to answer for all the terrible actions of Putin, even in another country."