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Ukraine's War on Donbass: An Interview with Filmmaker Maxim Fadeev

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Donbass has no choice, no possibility of stepping back. Although Ukraine won't lose anything if it stops fighting, Donbass will lose everything. It is the issue of survival for us, and for Ukraine it is just about grabbing the land. In one of his recent interviews, the Ukrainian Minister of Social Policy openly called the retired people of Donbass "scum".

It is very difficult to explain war to those, who had never seen it. And it is still more difficult to explain, what is going on in Donbass now. The people in big cities are attempting to live their ordinary peaceful lives, and in the areas close to the front line, subjected to shelling, life is slowly dying out."

-EB: Have any Western media contacted you regarding your war footage and documentaries?

-MF: "Only once, and it was an extremely negative experience for me. It resulted in the picture that distorted reality. I risked my life, filming a tank of DPR army that moved forward in order to storm the new terminal of the airport. In their documentary it looked as if a Ukrainian tank is breaking through to the new terminal.

Or, in another instance they totally distorted an absolutely neutral reportage. The interviewed man says: 'Young people react in different ways, the situation is complicated now. Many of them leave, many enroll in the army.' They leave only a part of the phrase: 'the situation is complicated now. Many of them leave.' The part 'many enroll in the army' was simply cut out."

-EB: Are you working on any projects now?

-MF: "For me, the key projects are "The demarcation line" and "I am Donbass". "The demarcation line" tells about the tragic situation in the front-line settlements, in the so-called "grey zone", where civilians are trying to survive between a rock and a hard place. It is also about the militiamen, who secure the objectives.

"I am Donbass" is about the people of our region, about the way they overcome the hardships of the blockade and unrecognized status, how they keep on with their lives, about their thoughts and dreams. I want to show their faces, let them express their hopes, and it is especially important to do, when Kiev is spawning propaganda to dehumanize these people."

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Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine. She is a recipient of the International Journalism Award for International Reporting. Visit her personal blog,  (more...)

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