Why I can get the truth to the Western World – 10 Reasons

Graham Phillips

In recent times, I’ve seen myself featured more in Western media. This is important, as with key projects coming up – my film Aramis in English, a documentary on MH17, more from Donbass, I want to be reaching the western world as much as possible.

Of course, they’re not kind about me, (standard line – Daily Beast – ‘British blogger, Graham Philips, known for his strong pro-Kremlin agenda), nor would they, or could they, be kind about journalist who went against the pre-set western narrative.

But I believe my message will get over the walls erected, and reach the western world. Here’s why –

  1. Graham at work1In a world becoming ever more cynical of mediasome 50% of Europeans do not trust mainstream media – people are getting better at reading through the lines. It’s fairly obvious if I’m being described as having a ‘strong pro-Kremlin agenda’, with no supporting material to back that up, it’s bogus.
  2. There’s a limit to what can be written about me by other journalists, and it comes down to my record – the first western journalist to cover all the breaking stories in Donbass in the last 2 years, countless times on the frontline, wounded while reporting. Where were they?
  3. I have a clean past. No criminal record, I’ve not done anything which could come out, and undermine my work. The worst that can be said, that I went to Ukraine as a ‘sex tourist‘ in 2010? Firstly, of course it’s completely untrue. Secondly, is that it? (As for the ‘FSB agent’ stuff, it only warrants a laugh).
  4. I have a clean present. No ties with any person, any organisations which could be used against me. The ‘worst’ which is said? That I’m a member of UKIP – at the Graham Phillipslast election in the UK, I entirely supported the party which represented a clear goal for the UK – exit from the EU. That now seems likely to happen, in the June ‘Brexit’ referendum.
    As with everything, I was completely open about that, and make no secret of my political views in my own country, the UK – I don’t support our being in the EU. Outside of the UK, it’s not my country, I’m completely objective.
  5. I’m not going to do anything which could compromise the integrity of my work. Not get mixed up in anything, caught up in anything. I don’t give my name to, or get involved in projects, not interested in making money via commercial projects, adverts etc.
  6. I’m a hard worker, put my soul into everything I do, will give my full commitment to my work to make sure projects are realised, then do everything to promote them, so they reach their audience.
  7. Graham at workYou give me feedback, I listen to it, take it on board. I’m always looking to improve my work, use new technologies etc, take things to the next level.
  8. I do believe, that in the end, the truth gets through. All my work is dedicated to reporting the truth, things, exactly as they are. Sometimes it needs to be forced through, but it has the power to break through the walls of propaganda.
  9. You are with me, we’ll do it together. All my work is crowdfunded, it means you are with me, and you help get the work through – via sharing, reposting, retweeting, the works – it’s a team effort.
  10. Ultimately, I believe people want the truth. Anyone can be passive, be fed propaganda, digest it. Many people in the west have fallen under the influence of powerful media outlets with pre-determined narrative. They’ll do whatever it takes to stop anything which doesn’t fit their agenda from getting through. But, most people do want the truth, and because of that, we’ll get it through to them.

My Latvian Deportation, Ban, Court ‘Appearance’, return to Donbass

Graham Phillips

My reportage project to the Baltics was an idea incepted in Donbass in December, as I made the decision to leave Donbass for a while, and looked for a place of interest to go and report on.

The Baltics stood out for number of reasons – as I outlined here.

But things were a bit weird from the start, if I’m honest. There was the most mixed of mixed reactions to my trip, in their number no small number of threats of various degrees of severity. Nonetheless, I kept my spirits up about the trip, writing a number of positive messages on my various social media accounts about the country, and my plans there. (This tweet here, from the 9th January, ‘I love Latvia’).

Reports started coming out of Latvia that the country may not admit me. I was puzzled by these, in as much as Latvia has been an EU country for over 10 years, I’m a British (currently in the EU, as Latvia) citizen, with an absolutely clean criminal record. Latvia had no possible grounds to refuse me entry.

Yet, with the Baltics track record of deporting Russian journalists, for nothing other than being Russian, and early efforts by Baltic media to depict me as a Fullscreen capture 12032016 201956.bmp‘Kremlin’, ‘pro-Kremlin’, ‘journalist’, ‘propagandist’ (of course nonsense, I’m a British journalist, independent, no connection to Russia, let alone the Kremlin), I decided to play it safe, and on 13th March, entered via Estonia.

On this day, I also filmed what turned out to be the only reportage from my crowd-funded trip to the Baltics (because of its short duration, I’ll of course be offering refunds to all of those who got involved) – here it is, with English subs (thanks to Sergey Yermolayev for that) –

Graham Latvia4What happened after that? I went along to cover the annual meeting in Riga honouring the Latvian Legion, who fought as part of Nazi Germany’s Waffen SS, with the aim being to do something new for me – a stream of live reporting via my newly-created Periscope channel.  I went along with some certain questions I wanted to ask, namely, why were people there honouring a legion which fought for the Nazis?

And I indeed asked those questions, politely – if at times, due to the event generally noisy, somewhat loudly. I asked them right up until the point the police swooped on me, arrested me, carted me off to a 4-hour-detention including being sent to hospital for a drug and alcohol test (of course, clear). Had the police warned me before my arrest? Twice, I’d been told to tone it down. I toned it down. When arrested, I was, at speaking volume, recording an interview with a man who turned out to be far-right Estonian politician, Jaak Madison, who had Fullscreen capture 24032016 025109.bmpwapped me with his gloves, forced my camera shut. I’d ignored all of this, continued the interview, with perhaps astringent questions, but politely and with considerably more moderation than Madison.

Madison, by the way, is the youngest ever politician to join the Estonian parliament, known for his embracing of Nazi ideology, a hatred towards the ethnic Russian population of Estonia, a shady past, and misuse of government funds which has seen an online petition launched against him.

Then, my arrest, detention in fairly standard circumstances albeit I was denied a request for water ‘we don’t have any‘, and some of the police officers were not exactly what one would expect of police officers in a ‘EU’ country. Before being released, I was given a page of charges against me, which I refused to sign – as was my right – because they were nonsense.

And after that? I retrieved the equipment I’d given out to friends to film me, went back to my hostel to start putting a piece together. That had been my only intention from the first moment, as I’d explained to Latvian police accusing me of ‘provocation‘, to film some interesting reportage. There was no intention of ‘provocation‘, there was no provocation. I was told my ‘offence’ was an ‘administrative’ matter, which, if it ever made it to court, could result in a small fine if I was found guilty.

Anyway, things were decidedly strange, back at my hostel in the centre of the city. I’d been sure to park my car out of view from the street. I’d not booked online, just turned up and checked in, hadn’t told anyone where I was staying. In any case, the hostel manager came to see me, and something was a bit off. He kept talking about what a ‘hero’ I was, but he was jumpy. Then, there was a knock at my window, a guy claiming to be a lawyer, representing a pro-Russian movement in Latvia. He was the first person I’d seen wearing a St George’s ribbon (which in itself can lead to arrest in the Baltics). He said he’d seen the manager (who’d Graham Latvia3come to visit me) who’d had a visit from the police, asking about me. He was a bit over-friendly, in any case left after a few minutes. It was odd.

Anyway, I got to work, also reading news reports from the day, which included the news that Latvia had decided not to deport me, ‘due to my being a journalist’, but that I wasn’t welcome in the country. I posted updates on my social media, criticising the government for their position, for how they’d acted that day – putting the feelings of a few attendees at a pro-Nazi march above freedom of speech, the press. I also, on my various social media sites, and on the news, stated my intention to stay reporting in Latvia, and re-iterated my goodwill towards the country, despite what had happened that day, while noting it was an attack on the press, freedom of speech.

Then, about 10 in the evening, I was working on my reportage from the day, there was a knock on the door, and a Latvian voice, in English, saying ‘there’s a message for you’. I got the door, there were four border guards, immediately Fullscreen capture 28032016 222233.bmptelling me ‘switch off all recording devices‘. They swept in, moving for all my cameras, explaining a decision had been made by the country’s interior minister to deport me, with immediate effect, ban me for 3 years.

It all felt absurd, Kafka-esque. They took me to their office in the centre of Latvia, told me I was being deported for being a ‘risk to state security’, despite my ‘offence’ being a minor public order ‘violation’. I asked to speak to the British Embassy, they googled that, called once on the office hours number (it was well outside office hours) then said ‘no answer’, that they’d fulfilled their obligation in calling, and that was that.

The charges were written out against me, I was asked to sign, I wrote instead ‘this is a joke‘, and was told that if I didn’t ‘behave‘, they would imprison me for 10 days, then deport me, confiscating my car in the process. I agreed to ‘cooperate’, and attention turned to my route out of Latvia, by car. I requested to go to Estonia, but was told Estonia had already banned me. I told them this was impossible, I’d just entered there, had done nothing there. They refused to discuss the matter. So it was agreed I’d be deported to Lithuania, by car.

There were calls made, then I was informed Lithuania was refusing to take me. I told them this was impossible, I’d not been to Lithuania for some 10 years, there was nothing I could have done there to result in that. But again, no debate brooked, I was informed I was to be deported to Russia. Simply fortunate I had a valid visa for Russia, as without that, it would have been a plane to the UK, stripped of my car and many possessions.

Fullscreen capture 28032016 220644.bmpSo, we set off around midnight, 2 border guards in my car, an escort car guiding ahead. I’d slept little the night before, it had already been a long day, and after near 4 hours of driving, felt myself falling asleep. A border guard took over for the remaining hour-and-a-half, which took us to the border. We arrived there, formalities were concluded. I hadn’t liked the Latvian border guards, they’d been at first aggressive, after that just deceitful, unprofessional. My final moments in Latvia were even more unpleasant, as I sat in my car for a few moments taking stock, at an empty border crossing, before being told I couldn’t stay there, and my car door shut on me.

And that was that, my, as it transpired, 3-day trip to Latvia. Driving through Russia, to Moscow, there was a lot of information to digest. I could hardly believe I’d been deported in those circumstances, could hardly believe it was legal. That the Latvian government, who’d initially said they wouldn’t deport me, had bowed to the bruised feelings of few members of a fewer than 1000-strong pro-Nazi march, not legal since the year 2000 in any case, in a country of 2 million.

My own country, the UK, did absolutely nothing to help me. I know for a fact there had been calls to them, they were aware of the situation. But, they acted as if I didn’t exist. It took Russia’s Foreign Affairs representative, Maria Zakharova (who I’ve actually never met), to stand up for me. Meanwhile, the Latvian position, was that I’d been deported for my ‘administrative offence’, not for political reasons… (and, incidentally, the source here, this Latvian English-language media ad-hominem on me is quite something – but it was also expected, I’d written this, and this article before the Baltics trip, debunking the lies likely – and indeed which were – told about me).

It was all surreal, absurd, and it’s got absurder and absurder since then. Latvian media came out with a story that my presence there had all been pre-planned, including at a military base, and it represented an attempt to encourage Latvia to become part of the Russian federation.

And most recently, that the case against me has been transferred to a Latvian court, and could result in a fine of up to 280 Euros, or 15 days in jail. Can I defend myself at the trial? Of course not – banned for 3 years. My reportage trip to Latvia turned out to be very brief, but certainly revealed a lot about the country.

What’s the reality of Latvia, an EU member for over 10 years? The government are as anti-Russian as possible, in order to show allegiance to the EU, get more EU, US funding. When you speak to people, they’ll tell you life in Latvia isn’t that good at all – prices now as high as anywhere in the EU, wages just what they were in old Latvia. The squeeze on the minority Russian population of Latvia, and stripping of their rights, is ever increasing. I had interviews lined up with a number of people who’d sat in cells for expressing pro-Russia views. Sadly, I won’t have the chance to do them now, but my experience confirms the current Fullscreen capture 28032016 224221.bmpsituation in Latvia.

And as I found out, at a cost of deportation, ban, possibly sentenced to time in a Latvian cell, if you try to report things in Latvia as they really are – as opposed to the government-sympathetic Latvian media, you’ll very quickly become persona non-grata in that Baltic state, and by default seemingly, all of them.

My car door was slammed on me by a Latvian border guard, as the door to Latvia was shut on me for 3 years – though given that the country doesn’t have borders, there’s nothing really to stop me returning via the EU. In any case, it was refreshing after Latvia, to be deported into Russia, where I worked for a few days, without any hindrance or press restriction, covering the Savchenko verdict (I’m referred to in the ever anti-Russian Daily Beast as having a ‘strong pro-Kremlin agenda’ – ie, I don’t support the western media line), then, I returned to Donbass where I’ve put on presentations of my film Aramis, and have filmed reportage. Again, no problems connected to work.

Oh, and needless to say, my attempt to take the matter up with Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth resulted in their standard email for people they don’t want to help saying ‘would have loved to help, but hands tied old bean etc etc‘. (More on that coming). I’d honestly never have expected to be deported from an EU country, let alone for asking attendees at a pro-Nazi march why they were there.

But, that’s Latvia, 2016, as I discovered in my time there. And we go on from there!

3 More Lies You’ll Hear about Me, Versus Reality, by Graham Phillips

Ahead of my going to the Baltics, Europe, and elsewhere to report, I’d just like to address a few points, before they come up, which, be sure, they will. This follows on from this article here.

Graham PhillipsWhat they Say: That I work for RT, was sacked by RT.
Why they Say It: They either want to have a go at me for working for RT, or supposedly being sacked by them. It all feeds into the idea the western media are keen to put out there that if a journalist works for RT, they are agents of the Russian government etc etc. Or, with the latter, that I’m supposedly such a ‘super-propagandist’, even RT sacked me. 
The Reality: I haven’t worked for RT for almost 2 years – July 2014 – and I wasn’t sacked. RT gave me the option of continuing working for them, outside of Donbass, or returning to Donbass and our working relationship ending, and I chose Donbass. 

What they Say: That, in May 2014, I stood on a tripwire, and claimed I was shot at (and even RT threw me under the bus)
Why they Say It:
 To attempt to damage my credibility as a reporter.
The Reality: There’s no question, that s a new correspondent, reporting in a situation which quickly escalated from conflict to war, I made a mistake here. And, as a new correspondent in the field, there can be some hard lessons to learn. However, my mistake wasn’t stepping on a tripwire, it was claiming something had Graham Phillips 1happened, my being shot at, which I hadn’t captured on camera.

It was a rookie error, and I learned a lot from it. Never report something you’ve not captured on camera. And never sensationalise – despite my seeing a soldier pick up a gun and hearing shots fired, I could only correctly say ‘shot at’, if they’d actually hit me. What I learned from this incident formed the basis of a career which has seen me cover more hotspots than perhaps any other western correspondent over the past 2 years (including my being wounded while reporting) – never sensationalise, only report what you’ve filmed.

This was May 2014, I continued working for RT until July of 2014. However, I wasn’t at all happy that RT initially changed their story to match the ‘tripwire’ version, before subsequently saying my version may be correct. I like, and watch, RT, have many good colleagues there, however have no plans to resume our working relationship, though we are on good terms and they always have my gratitude for the opportunity given to me.

What they Say: That I was a ‘sex tourist’, ‘sex blogger’ in Ukraine, wrote about my time with prostitutes etc.
Why they Say It: Try to show I’m not a real journalist etc, just a ‘sex blogger turned journalist’ etc. 
The Reality: I worked for a year at What’s On Magazine in Ukraine, writing about every subject connected to Ukraine, and life there (including articles on prostitution), and later, I did indeed write a blog on Ukraine. Indeed, around 10% of the articles were about subjects related to sex. I’ve written about prostitutes, and I’m Graham Phillips 2actually proud of all the articles I’ve written on the theme. I considered these valid subjects to research, and write about. At the time, they were. Now, it all seems a bit inconsequential, to be honest, but that’s the difference a war makes.

It was of its time, I’ve got no real plans to write more on the theme. But, I do believe these areas fall within the scope of valid journalism, Louis Theroux, for example, has done a lot on the theme, nor is he alone in that. But you could find almost as many articles about abandoned buildings (a subject of interest) on my former blog, as you could about ‘sex’ (and most of that was in the context of Ukraine as it was – ‘wife-hunting’ tours etc – of which Shaun Walker of the Guardian has written a book)! So I’m about as much of an ‘abandoned building blogger’ as a ‘sex blogger’, it just doesn’t quite have the same ring! If I threw myself a bit deeper into the subject than others – so be it, I try to do that with everything I cover!

And on we go!

Where I’ve Been for the Last 2 Months, and What Next…

Graham Phillips

I left Donetsk almost 2 months ago and I know that, since then, a lot of my tweets etc have been in Russian, so for those of you who haven’t read those, here’s a quick wrap-up of these past 2 months.

1AramisI initially spent a couple of weeks in Russia with my parents, on holiday, spending time in Moscow then St Petersburg. Then, I sat for a month in St Petersburg and, with Oleg Somov, finished my first film, Aramis. I’m really looking forward to showing this film in London when I return – there’ll be an English version, and giving the film a full online release after that.

Recently, I’ve been filming reportage in St Petersburg. Apologies if I haven’t added English subs to these, if there’s sufficient interest I’ll do that – they’ve been on themes perhaps of particular interest to a Russian audience, though I’d hope wider, of course.

A piece about the wall in St Petersburg dedicated to famous Russian actor Sergey Bodrov (who incidentally starred in a film with Anna Friel) –

Women’s Day on March 8th –

Yuri Gagarin’s Birthday –

I’ve also brought you pieces from Crimea in this time, as it’s 2 years since their reunification with Russia there – and I’ll be making unique English-language Crimea reports from Crimea – a unique report from Ukraine-controlled territory of Donbass – with at least one more to come very soon. Now, I’m preparing for a return to active reporting, and will put emphasis on delivering reportage in English at the first moment possible, as I head for a special reportage trip to the Baltics.

12 Причин, почему необходима моя предстоящая поездка в Прибалтику

Грэм Филлипс (спасибо за помощь, русский язык – Кирилл Чулков и Наташа Фрайтаг)

Как вы вероятно знаете, последние полтора месяца я был в Санкт-Петербурге. Вместе с Олегом Сомовым мы закончили фильм “Арамис“. (В ближайшее время состоится его премьера в интернете). Здесь в Петербурге тоже снял много интересных репортажей. Например, вчера с дня рождения Юрия Гагарина –

Эти полтора месяца были удивительным временем, но теперь мне предстоит заняться чем-то новым. Я – независимый журналист, мне приходится самому собирать средства для моих проектов. И делаю это через краудфандинг – это означает, что вы, народ, поддерживаете меня.

Вот 12 причин, почему предстоящая поездка важна для меня и для вас тоже. Думаю, они будут интересны тем, кто задумывается чтоб принимать участие вместе со мной!

Fullscreen capture 22022016 122610.bmp1. Страны Балтии очевидно представляют большой интерес – BBC недавно анонсировало показ своего документального фильма о Третьей мировой войне «Inside the War Room» на основе гипотетического вторжения в Латвию.

2. Всё же, что действительно там происходит, какова реальная ситуация?

3. Когда в последний раз Вы на самом деле видели настоящие репортажи из стран Балтии?

4. Просто как примечание – изначально эта поездка была запланирована мной на февраль.

Fullscreen capture 22022016 132706.bmp5. Был довольно небольшой интерес к этому, и должен сказать – не всегда положительный, – вот выборка многих, отнюдь не радушных сообщений из социальных сетей –

Gasiūnas Žygis Žygimanta: Мы знаем, как ты пытался поговорить с людьми из Украины в Лондоне. И они тебя выгнали. Поэтому держись подальше от нашей Прибалтики, потому что я разобью тебе лицо.
Mindaugas Glodenis: Я из Прибалтики, и просто предупреждаю тебя по-дружески. Если кто-нибудь из тех, кто видел твою «журналистскую работу» на Донбассе, увидит тебя в Литве, тебя могут серьёзно побить.

6. Была также и некоторая поддержка, но очевидно, что я сделал недостаточно для того, чтобы убедить людей в необходимости поездки – первый благотворительный сбор получил в итоге примерно $500 – это недостаточно, чтобы покрыть расходы поездки. Я должен сделать больше, чтобы убедить Вас, что эта поездка стоит Вашей поддержки!

7. Вы знаете, что вся информация, которую Вы получаете из Прибалтики, проходит сквозь призму американской пропаганды? Они Graham Vilniusотправляют туда $500,000, чтобы «противостоять» «российской пропаганде», используя свою собственную пропаганду.

8. Я помню Прибалтику, когда я там был несколько раз в середине 2000-х гг. Я помню людей, говоривших там по-русски, они говорили мне, что они русские, о русскоязычных школах и общественных организациях. (На фото я и мама в Вильнюсе в 2007 г.). А что сейчас? Латвия, будучи членом НАТО, очевидно, становится одним из самых враждебных противников России – её высказывание о том, что она откажется когда-либо признать Крым частью России, даже отказываясь признавать российские паспорта жителей Крыма как российских. Что же происходит там?

9. Много раз бывая в Прибалтике, я всегда её очень любил. Но я отправляюсь туда абсолютно объективно, без приверженности чему-либо кроме как сообщать о сути происходящих там событий.

10. Поездка запланирована на март, в любом случае это будет очень интересный месяц там, насыщенный событиями. Я действительно с нетерпением жду этого! Это будет в моём любимом стиле репортажей – Graham in Crimeaуличный репортаж, с места, никакой цензуры, просто как сейчас дела (см. как в Крыму летом 2015 г.).

11. Возможно, это будет дольше 2-х недель, я буду находиться там так долго, сколько потребуется для того, чтобы сделать действительно стоящий репортаж.

12. Мне необходимо собрать ещё примерно $1000 для поездки. Я объявлю новый сбор пожертвований для поездки! Ну – будьте уверены в том, что я не измеряю поддержку только финансовым взносом, все добрые слова, комментарии, поддержка моей работы значат очень много для меня!

Восстановление Дома 41 в Донецке! (Часть 1)

Грэм Филипс

Кремлевский 41а, В Куйбышевском районе, Донецк, попал под ВСУ обстрел 14 июня 2015 года. Я снимал там в июле 2015 –

В декабре 2015 года я снимал эти видео обращения к Захарченко –

Я рад сообщить, после этого обращения, восстановление началось!! Эти фотографии отправленные мне сегодня –

Donetsk restorationDonetsk restoration2 Donetsk restoration3 Donetsk restoration4
Мы будем следить за прогрессом!