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