Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom

Oooh, something about Ukraine. In Ukrainian!

I didn’t know what to expect about Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom. If I had to guess, maybe about how Russia was fucking it over? Technically, that happens all the time, so it wasn’t so specific. But I meant when Russia came and took Crimea from Ukraine, like, last year or whenever.

But no! It takes before that!

You see, Ukraine has a lot of problems since its independence in 1991. But damn it, they were a free country. They just had some kinks to work out. Their eventual goal would be to join the EU, which is why in 2013 they voted in a President Viktor Yanukovych. He ran on a campaign to get them into the EU.

Unfortunately, the President in November of 2013 refused to sign the agreements that he promised. Partially due to Russia, who was laying down some harsh trade restrictions against Ukraine, because Russia is a dick. Either way, public opinion on him quickly turned. That night, hundreds of college aged Ukrainians in Kiev went to the Maidan Nezalezhnosti central square. They peacefully protested and demanded that the government sign the agreements and start them on their journey to join the EU.

And then the police got involved. Most notably the Berkut, which is like the police special forces there who work for the government. They attacked the peaceful protesters because the President told them to, which really caused everything to escalate.

I assume you remember the documentary had fire in the title?

From there, the protest moved to a cathedral where they could block the gates from the police and seek sanctuary. Word got out of the protests and more came. Food was donated, clothes, medical supplies. Doctors donated their time to help those hurt. And then they went back to the square.

Needless to say, the police kept trying to fuck things up. The same night UK/US delegates came to Ukraine to try and find a peaceful resolution, the Berkut launched a late night sneak attack to wipe everyone out of the area, which now had barricades and a lot of set up.

And of course, eventually the protesters fought back. They marched peacefully to the Parliament, and of course were fucked over, which started an almost war between the two sides. The protesters weren’t just college students by now. They were kids. They were old people. They were average blue collar workers. There were just a shit ton of police/Berkut and hired Thugs to try and fight the spirit out of the protesters.

Needless to say, I won’t describe it any more, but the protest lasted almost 100 days, with a lot of violence, death, and hopelessness. This documentary has footage throughout their protest, taken and compiled to show the story of how some youths decided to hold a revolution. After all, these kids were born in a free Ukraine, and they refused to let their freedom go.

The documentary is not for the faint of heart. There is a shit ton of footage of police brutality, people getting critically injured, and I am guessing I saw people get killed as well. It was so powerful and hard to look away. Which is good, since it was subtitled, and looking away would be detrimental to your viewing experience.

After this, I only have one more documentary that was nominated for Best Doc, but as of now, this is my favorite documentary of 2015 and I sure hope it wins.

4 out of 4.

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