Ukraine on Fire – Phoenix Rising?


Here’s a real treat for tonight’s Saturday night film
Oliver Stone’s  seminal documentary

        Ukraine on Fire

Where’s Ukraine?

Immagine correlata

It’s a large country as the map shows.

It constitutes the ‘borderlands’ between Russia and ‘civilized’ Europe.

Why does it matter to us?

For centuries, Ukraine has been at the center of a tug-of-war between powers seeking to control its rich lands and Russia’s access to the Mediterranean.

The film documents involvement of external powers in Ukraine as it consolidates its independence

It shows how we are at the mercy of countries that decide that what they want is far more important and impelling  than what the citizens want.

It illustrates  methods and manipulation which we could well be subjected to

We should be aware of how these systems operate

Who are  Ukrainians?

In ancient times the main nomadic tribes that settled there were the Scythians, Cimmerians, Sarmatians and Huns.

Over time they were followed by the Slavs, Tatars,  Cossacks and Russians

From the 17th century onwards, Russia  annexed Ukrainian lands and worked actively to assimilate the local population and build  cities like Odessa and Sevastopol on the Black Sea coast.

The Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was one of the founding states of the USSR.

After WWII, thanks to massive industrialisation,   Ukraine became the  second most important republic in  the USSR.

Then what happened in modern times?

After the Fall of the USSR, in 1991 Ukraine declared its independence   and in 1996 established its Constitution .

Since then, Ukraine has struggled with  its domestic politics and conflicting views as to  whether its place in the world lies in an alliance with Russia or western Europe.

1997: Ukraine signed a Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Partnership  with Russia

2004: Ukraine comes to loggerheads over electoral fraud, allegedly  in favor of Viktor Yanukovich, who covets closer ties to Russia. The Supreme Court  calls for a new election

The Orange Revolution:  mass protests ensure  pro-European Union politician Viktor Yushchenko is declared the winner of the presidential election.

2010: Pro- Russian politician Viktor Yanukovich wins the presidential election

2013: Ukraine drops EU, abandoning a trade agreement  and moves towards Russia, which has allegedly threatened to cut  its energy supplies. Widespread protests follow.

2013-4: The Maidan Massacre   triggered an uprising that ousted Viktor Yanukovych, the President, spurred the Crimeans to secede and join Russia, and sparked a civil war in Eastern Ukraine.

The European Union announces sanctions on the country, including visa bans, asset freezes and restrictions on exporting anti-riot equipment.

Just a day earlier on Feb. 19, the United States began sanctions by banning visas for 20 senior members of the Ukrainian government.

Russia was portrayed by Western media as the perpetrator, and has been sanctioned and widely condemned as such.

Was Russia responsible for what happened?

Michael Stone’s  film examines the events and the issues.

It was  released in 2016, but poorly  distributed in the US and western countries.

A Russian-dubbed version was available almost immediately and was aired on TV in Russia, but people in the ‘free world’ were left without access to the full film.
So finally here it is! In its original English language version



Pics and refs

3 thoughts on “Ukraine on Fire – Phoenix Rising?

  1. Interesting, I suppose, though thoroughly confusing. They seem to be saying that any nationalist movement is neo-nazi, while the Russians are innocent bystanders? What is the agenda of the organisation that made the film? Sadly, once the shite hits the ventilators, the worst sorts on every side will try to stick their oars in. At least this time the militarised riot cops met their match, the slogan, “kill the pigs!” actually came true. And is it just me, or do all the Russian/Ukrainian leaders look really ugly pieces of sh… ?


  2. The film presents another point of view –
    Remember Michael Stone is a famous American film-maker, so he deserves the respect of listening to what he has to say in this historical documentary.
    As European on-lookers, watching what is going on on our Eastern frontier, we just have to balance two points of view, admit there are pros and cons to both sides and try to understand the historical “fil rouge ou fil bleu” that informs each side.
    And remember the day will come when our MEPs will have to decide again what sanctions should be applied and explain why to the EU community

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since I live in the UK, I have to admit that the politics and social forces of landlocked “Muddle Europe” are a bit hard for me to get my head around. It seems to me odd that while eastern Europe and the Balkans seems to be splitting into smaller units (no bad thing in itself IMO), Germany was allowed to unify without a murmur in the euphoria of the fall of the USSR. How can there be a fair and balanced EU with a massive geographic and economic Germany sitting there like a big spider in the centre? How long til they get back to their old tricks? Why TF wasn’t Germany abolished after losing WWII?? This may have been part of the motivation behind Brexit, amongst the older generation at least. Meanwhile Russia seems to be returning to its old paranoia and militarism, though perhaps not without cause.
      I have to admit, the thought of Irish MEPs helping to decide the fate of Ukraine etc. is at the very least ‘interesting’ 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.