Rebels in Eastern Ukraine do not need to demonize, says British documentary filmmaker Anthony Batts. According to him, the situation in the Donbass blame Moscow and Kiev. And the locals became the main victim.
E15: Who are the people you met at the Donbass?
Anthony Batts: They are not a representative slice of the entire Donbas. I was filming Pro-Russian rebels. They want to return to the Soviet Union and a better life, when they had much more money and they had more respect. It is the poor people, frustrated by the failures of the past 20 years of Ukrainian independence. They were working class. Most educated citizens spoke in favor of Ukraine.
– How it was a real protest, and how it was coordinated by Moscow?
To answer this question is not easy. At first it seemed that events unfolded chaotically and nobody coordinated. In contrast to the events in Crimea, where everything was clearly pre-planned. In the Donbas, the government has failed, and the fault of the Ukrainian government.
After some time in Russia there are a lot of groups that wanted to support what was happening in the Donbas. These groups began to send people across the border. But such a military plan in Crimea, was not. Events unfolded chaotically. Of course, the role played by the Russian propaganda, which added fuel to the fire, talking about nationalism. It scared people that in Kiev entrenched neo-Nazis, who will come and kill them.
– Based on what local opposition to Kiev?
— There are many reasons. Trade is more focused on Russia. The Association agreement with the European Union would hurt trade relations. It was an unpopular move, which sought liberal supporters of the Maidan. People in Donbas felt that their voice in the process means nothing. Blew it all out of the Russian media. It was alleged that interim. And then there is alternative Paradise for resistance with a view to join Russia.
– What happened to those who were against it?
— Many people left the Donbass, and Ukrainians were intimidated. In addition, over time, many changed their point of view, because they fired the Ukrainian army. In the first two years support the Donetsk people’s Republic has grown, and is now reduced because the local government did not fulfill its promises. One of them was the accession to Russia. But Moscow is not interested in. People, first and foremost, I want peace, and they don’t care what countries they will live. But to continue to live in the current situation it is difficult for them.
– How do you assess the coverage of the conflict by the Western media?
— How biased. Media told, first of all, about the green men, and of Putin as a chess player. This is an absolute lie. The role of Putin and the FSB exaggerated. Everything was chaotic, and the Kremlin, I think, there was no clear plan. People like Igor Strelkov, Russia is isolated, and angry at Putin because he did not intervene. If Russia wanted to, you would win one day.
But both sides are waging a media war, which only polarizes society. And the victims are the people in the Donbass. Russian mass media have convinced them that you can rebel. Error of the Ukraine and the West is that for 20 years they would not touch the oligarchic system. Each is a share of the blame.
– What will happen with this region in the future?
— I think that in a few years he will again become part of Ukraine. The Donbas — a large area at the Russian border with a population exposed to radicalization. For Moscow, all this does not bring any benefits, but only completely destroys the relationship with Ukraine, which could be restored at least at the economic level. The Russian economy was closely linked with the Ukrainian, so the losses and Russia. Her current situation has no advantages.
Anthony Batts is a British documentary that specializiruetsya in countries with Russian speaking population. For his work was awarded the jury prize of the Sundance festival. Batts presented in Prague at the festival “One world” his documentary “Create your state”.