For over a year, a dirty battle has been going on in 'the Donbass', an area rich with coal and industry in East Ukraine. More than six thousand people have been killed so far. Jelle talks to the Russian rebels at the front. What kind of people are they? He also visits the Donetsk opera, which has a show every day - war or no war.
In this eight-part travel series the Dutch journalist and author Jelle Brandt Corstius travels through Russia and visits the neighbor countries Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan. What image do the Russians have of their neighbors and vice versa? What are the relations between the powerful Russia and the other former Soviet republics? And how do the countries around Russia treat their Russian inhabitants? A series about propaganda and identity.
On the Maidan, Kiev´s central square, in spring of 2014 the war started. Thousands of people demanded closer relations with Europe. After weeks of protests, the police intervened. One hundred people died. In Ukraine they are known as the Heavenly Hundred. President Yanukovych fled to Russia and the revolution started. And with the revolution came the war that would split the country in two. Dutch Journalist Corstius talks to people on the street and investigates the status quo and the way the population deals with the changes the country has gone through.
He visits the place in Odessa where on May 2 2014 46 pro-Russian activists died from suffocation in a former trade union building. They were under attack from pro-Ukrainian activists and a fire broke out. Until today it is not clear what caused it. This fire made many Russians leave for Ukraine to join the fight so that the war spread from Crimea to the entire eastern region of Ukraine.
Original title: Het wilde Oosten (7/8)
Director: Alexander Oey and Jelle Brandt Corstius
© VPRO September 2015
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