March 11, 2014
Kyiv photojournalist/videographer Zoya Shu made a seven-minute film on Independence Square that features Russians talking about Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution and how Kremlin propaganda has distorted the public’s perception of events that led to the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych as president on Feb. 21. “I think it is important to show that there is no hostility against the Russian people here, even at Maidan,” Shu said. She first uploaded the video on YouTube without English-language subtitles because her primary target audience was Russians. She added English-language subtitles on March 11, only after it had gained 35,000 views. She said the delay was her attempt to prove to “brainwashed Russians” that the work was her own and “not the plot of the CIA or something.” About the project, in Shu’s words: “I made it a week ago. It was the day when Russian flags started being put on top of administrations in the east, Kharkiv and Donetsk, if I am not mistaken. It was rather distressing news.
“I was walking on Khreshchatyk at that moment and saw a Russian flag on top of one tent, next to a Ukrainian one. I stopped to take a picture. A group of people sat there and one of the guys said he was from St. Petersburg and that he would be glad to give me an interview. “So, I interviewed him, he said there is a tent of the ‘Russian embassy’ at Maidan and took me there. I interviewed that guy too. I finished editing video by 7 a.m. I knew I could do better if I took more time, but I just wanted to make it fast in that situation. “So I made it in one day. My purpose was to refute the official Russian propaganda line that there is any threat to Russians here. I am a native Russian speaker, my grandpa was Russian, but Ukraine is my country and I don’t want any mess here. “All this situation with lies in media makes me sick. So I just wanted to tell the truth to those who live far away – there is no threat and Russian speakers, neither Russians here need no defence from a foreign country. There was no hostility or reluctance.
“The Maidan environment was compared to the friendly environment of the Olympics by that man, Ruslan (Kirilenko), and another one, Vladimir (Malyshev), said he was very upset with the situation with propaganda and that he does not want any war. “They were very open and friendly and willing to share their experiences and address their compatriots, saying all is OK. When I asked Vladimir on whose side he will fight in case of war, he did not know what to say, he said he is a patriot of Russia and this situation is very painful. “Vladimir set up a tent which is covered now in names of Russian cities – apparently a lot of Russian visitors come to Maidan and wrote the city where they are from. “The only thing I was surprised with was the difference between the perception of people who actually see the situation and those who live far away and know it from TV/other media.