Just How Silly is the Ukrainian Government? Name a Place…

Just how silly is the Ukrainian government? Well, with the country mired – miring Poroshenkoitself – in ongoing war with Donbass, and stricken economy beset by high-level corruption, and looting, you would think they would be engaging all of their efforts to tackle these, and the many more problems (healthcare, plunging population, etc…) afflicting the country.

But yet … in the midst of all of this, Ukraine has somehow found the time to, seemingly randomly, rename places in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Republics which will clearly never return to Ukraine, as even most Ukrainians now accept. 

Here’s look at just a few: 

Torez, DPR – renamed to Chistyakovo.

where 1Krasnodon, LPR – renamed to Sorokino

Sverdlovsk, LPR – renamed to Dolzhansky

Kirovskoe, DPR renamed to Krestnaya

Stakhanov, LPR renamed to Kadievka.

And this list goes on, to 150 places renamed in the Donetsk, and Lugansk people’s republics – and Crimea. 

So, let’s make some points here – 

Absolutely no one who actually lives in these places calls them by their ‘Ukrainian names’.

Although lists were circulated, the renaming has hardly caught the public imagination, even in Ukraine, where the former names are still mainly. This Ukrainian ‘ATO’ resource, recently referring to Stakhanov, among other ‘Ukraine-renamed’ places, in a war dispatch.

However, some Ukrainians do use the Ukrainian names. So, fighting a war against places you’ve renamed yourself, some on the same side call them this, some call them the other … no one’s quite sure. Yeah, that’s a masterstroke, surely.

And if we’re speaking of maps, by the way, the maps printed out will all be in the previous place names. So what have Ukraine’s soldiers done? Tippexed out and filled in with biro? Or still using the names of the hated ‘occupiers’ (i.e. those people who actually live and are from the places)?

where.jpgBy the way – a Facebook comment when I mentioned this – Do you know how much money it costs to rename a street? You have to get all of the title documents changed on all of the paperwork for all of the residential and commercial areas. Then you need to update the cadastral plans, the city development plans and submit to the federal government for ratification. It is a logical and economic nightmare. Also, anytime there is this volume of paperwork there are bound to be errors. This means court cases, adjudication and all of the rest of that. Ridiculous.

More, it’s almost a form of self-trolling. How much more ridiculous can you get? Renaming places random names which they will never really be called? Causing untold expense, and confusion for yourself in the process…. is it some sort of new Ukrainian ‘victory’, if you can’t capture a place, just rename it? I mean, come on, this is supposed to be a serious country, we’re told, right? 

Oh, Ukraine, it’s just too silly….

A Graham Newsletter (#34) A Message from Donbass, and On to Russia!!

My last newsletter had me feeling a bit of pressure in, and from the UK: 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/26/a-graham-newsletter-33-pressure-in-the-uk-ukraine-and-leaving-the-uk/

So, it was nice to be able to cool off a bit here in Donbass, and record this messsage for you:

For my countrymen in the UK, not only: Don’t Believe the UK Government Lies, come to Donbass

On the way to Donbass, I was delighted to finish filming of my documentary about the town of Belval, in Luxembourg, which I’m just finishing the edit for now.

I was happy to do an interview there with former West Ham legend, Sebastien Schemmel. And incidentally, something those in the BBC or wherever attacking me will never say, is that – did you know that a surprising amount of my work has nothing to do with Russia, or Donbass?

That said, of course a significant part of my work is from Donbass, Russia, and always will be – and I’ve written about why that is, here. And here, about covering all sides, in my reportage from Donbass – as well as moving onto a new project.

Here, a video from School 60 in Lugansk’s graduation ceremony:

Here, Yasinovataya’s machine engineering plant – 

To touch briefly on personal life, in my time in the LPR I’ve been pleased to announce my engagement to a beautiful young lady from Lugansk, Yulia, and to congratulate Patrick Lancaster on his own recent wedding!

3 1/2 years covering Donbass, and for a few reasons, it’s time to move on. What can be referred to as ‘low intensity’ warfare, goes on. There’s some shelling on the frontiers, some battle on the frontlines – and to be honest, with a few notable, tragic flare-ups, it’s been like that for over 2 years now.

Such news as there is from Donbass, is covered by journalists here, including Patrick Lancaster Graham Phillipsand others. I feel both that my contribution is more needed elsewhere, and also, I’m also in the mood for a new challenge. And there there is intense information war, there’s an opportunity to go and report the truth. Where’s the information war waging fiercest? Russia, and I’ve written of that here –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/08/11/world-cup-2018-information-war-against-russia-game-on/

And that’s my project for the next year, as the western world attacks Russia, to travel all over Russia, filming you the truth about how Russia really is, for a series called ‘Real Russia’. 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/08/11/my-project-for-the-next-year-russia/

It’s going to be a massive project, and you’ll hear more about it soon! As with all my work, it’ll be 100% crowdfunded, 100% independent.

This below isn’t a taster of that project, but, I have been getting in and about the minutae of Russian life, here, at the hot end of Russian bathhouse culture, for a series called War Gonzo –

For now, a new video from Donbass, as the Night Wolves pass through on their way to Crimea:

And my documentary from Luxembourg, Belval, will be up very soon!

If you wish to support my work, there’s always here – https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips 

And as ever, huge thanks for being with me!!!

Why a lot of my work will always be about Russia, and Donbass

In my last post here on the Truth Speaker, I wrote about a lot of my work having no connection with Russia, or Donbass – https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/08/08/a-surprising-amount-of-my-work-has-nothing-to-do-with-russia-or-donbass/

However, for sure, a lot of my work will always have a connection with Russia, and Donbass. Even when I’m in the UK, I’ve done reportage on the theme –

Graham Phillips 2Why? I speak Russian to a reasonable level, so I have a feel for what happens, is happening here, and more, feel the acute sense of the sharp end of information war focusing on Russia, Donbass, and from my side, a huge desire to fight for what is right, so that people know the truth about what’s happening in this part of the world.

I absolutely believe in my work here, and its having a real resonance, and meaning. With the attention of the world focused on this region, each video can change the world, and I am committed to the truth changing the world for the better.

And that’s why!

A Graham Newsletter (#33) Pressure in the UK, Ukraine, and Leaving the UK

For the past couple of weeks, as you may know, I’ve been back in the UK, and have felt some pressure from the authorities in this time here. The conviction and imprisonment of Ben Stimson was framed around his being pictured ‘holding a weapon’ in Donbass, something the FCO have written to me about in the past. And further, they moved on from that by updating their travel guidance to add the threat that those who ‘assist those in the conflict’ in Donbass may be liable to prosecution in the UK.

I’ve written about all of that here – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/22/exclusive-how-the-uk-are-trying-to-stop-my-work-full-story/

So, what to expect as I leave the UK in a few hours? Well, of course I hope to normally pass through the border, with no issues. Journalism isn’t a crime, after all, even if the government don’t like it. However, what also happened in my time back here is that the BBC came after me to try to blur the lines, insinuate that I’d crossed journalistic lines. Here’s my response to that:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/24/bbc-hit-piece-my-response-to-it/

So what could the UK do against me? Jail me, like Ben? Unlikely they’d dare to go that far. Take my passport? They’d surely like to do that – either to stop me leaving the country, or force me into a position of applying for the passport of another country, i.e. Russia so they could discredit my work with ‘Russian propagandist’ etc. Not that that would or ever could be the case. I’m British, and actually consider myself a true patriot of the UK – in as much as I’d rather go against my country until it becomes the country I was brought up to believe in. For the moment, it’s hard to believe in anything the UK government do, and I’ve covered that on the Truth Speaker –

How the UK Got it So Wrong on Euromaidan, and Ukraine

Why is the UK supporting Ukraine so much? 3 Explanations…

I will keep challenging the narrative of the UK government as long as they continue acting in an entirely deceitful, immoral way. The next period of work is a hugely important one, and I’m ready for it. I’m pleased to have received my Russian visa, writing of that here:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/25/new-russian-visa-leaving-the-uk-back-to-work-and-uk-fyi/

That, with your support, setting me up for the next year of work in Russia, of course not only. And, if the UK do try to prevent that in any way, they will have their own words to fall on, which they well indeed now wish to take back in light of their recent Ukraine escalation, from September 2016 that:

“Mr. Phillips did not commit an offense in Great Britain that could be a reason for the British government to make him forbidden to leave the country.”

Those by UK ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough, by the way, and I’ve written of her here. And that came after my interview with Ukrainian POW (shortly before exchange), Vladimir Zhemchugov, and here’s my position on that:

My Interview with Ukrainian Terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov: My Statement

Of course, the sensible thing for the UK to do would be to let me leave the country without any problems, warnings, questioning etc. Last time I left in March, it was 30 minutes of fairly standard questioning at Harwich. However even that shouldn’t be the case – I’m a working journalist, keen to get back to work, to do my job, to bring you reportage. I don’t like fuss, or scandal, just – reporting facts. That they don’t reconcile with the UK government’s version in no way impacts on my right to report them. 

If you’re sleeping now, and read this later, I hope this finds you well, and my having left for the next period of work, which will incidentally encompass the completion of my documentary from Belval, Luxembourg, (pictured) about which I’m very excited, and onto Russia, and more!

I hope to return, before too long, to a better Britain…

My Interview with Ukrainian Terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov: My Statement

Because I see this video coming up, used ‘against me’ all the time, will give my statement on it here:

With terrorists, as here this Ukrainian terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov, September 2016, you have to take a tough line. I’d do it exactly the same again. And I’d add to that, that despite a robust approach, I kept within reasonable boundaries here.

And that’s that. Graham

How the UK Got it So Wrong on Euromaidan, and Ukraine

The UK, under then Prime Minister David Cameron, made their call from the start about whose side they were taking in the Ukraine situation. In March of 2014, then foreign secretary William Hague was lying to the UK parliament about Viktor Yanukovych having been ‘legimitately’ removed from power. He was actually removed by the violent coup which was Euromaidan.

Meanwhile David Cameron was telling parliament, in March of 2014: What has happened to Ukraine is completely indefensible. Its territorial integrity has been violated and the aspirations of its people to chart their own future are being frustrated.

This European Council sent a clear and united message to Russia that its actions are in flagrant breach of international law and will incur consequences. We agreed on a three-phase approach to stand up to this aggression and uphold international law: first, some immediate steps to respond to what Russia has done; secondly, urgent work on a set of measures that will follow if Russia refuses to enter dialogue with the Ukrainian Government; and thirdly, a set of further, far-reaching consequences should Russia take further steps to destabilise the situation in Ukraine.

It continues…

There was never an attempt to take into account the facts of Maidan:

A maximum of 500,000 (and that’s protesters figures, even) gathered on Euromaidan – that’s around 1% of the population of Ukraine.

But actually (and I was on Maidan), those who brought Maidan’s ‘victory’ (Yanukovych fleeing in fear of his life, government legitimately elected in 2012 just swept away) were not the mostly peaceful 500,000, it was the few thousand radicals, far-right, terrorists on Maidan.

So, take your pick: at best the UK supported the ‘right’ of 1% of the population of Ukraine on Maidan, over the 99% not on Maidan.

Or actually, the 0.01% who actually defined Maidan: the far-right, radicals, terrorists…

And Maidan ‘represented’ not the whole of Ukraine, in any way. Those there were almost exclusively from the west and centre of the country. Donbass didn’t take part, and was actually against Maidan, the South similarly.

So the UK chose to support a violent coup, dressed up as a revolution, in a country which had always had an east-west divide. And one which installed a government with an agenda dictated by ultra-nationals from the west, diametrically opposed to the life, history, culture of those in the east, who’d never voted for a Maidan government, and actually no one voted for a Maidan government. There were no elections, they just seized power. (Key figure in Maidan, and now chairman of Ukrainian parliament, founder of Ukrainian neo-Nazi Svoboda party, Andry Parubiy).

The UK chose to support a coup government, a junta, formed after a violent coup. Yet, all we were hearing about in the time in the UK was the BBC and co’s glowing coverage of the ‘revolution of dignity’ on Maidan, etc.

Most people in the UK know yet little about Euromaidan, the BBC, realising word was getting out, belatedly covered their proverbials with a documentary about the Maidan snipers.

Yet the general perception remains in the UK, is that if people know about Euromaidan, they generally subscribe to the narrative that it was a ‘revolution of dignity’, Ukrainians ‘fighting for their freedom’, etc – rather than a small proportion of the population in Kiev, peaceful maybe but supporting a minute proportion of ultra-nationals and radicals who overthrew a democratically-elected government before wanting to impose their own (unelected) agenda, on the east. And expecting that all to be ok.

If there’s an event about Euromaidan in the UK, be sure it will be universally pro-Maidan, that’s the only permitted position (this, the LSE from February of 2017):

Actually the unconditional support of the UK, US, Europe, was one of the fuelling factors in those on Maidan believing they could have it all their way.

And what happened after? Crimea, Donbass, war, mass loss of life due to war, ongoing misery due to war, which goes on to this day. And the UK? The position has remained set in stone = Maidan = Good. So everything against Maidan = bad.

This, despite the masses of evidence that a re-evaluation of Maidan is required. Because if Maidan wasn’t so good, then maybe all that went against it isn’t so bad…. that is a highly dangerous idea the UK is desperate to eliminate while still embryonic. The UK has remained entirely intransigent.

What have we had over the last few years?

Foreign Secretary William Hague taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

Ukraine crisis: William Hague warns Russia

William Hague: Russia faces ‘isolation’ over Ukraine – BBC News

Russian actions over Ukraine may create new cold war – William Hague

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

Philip Hammond: Britain not ruling out providing ‘lethal force’ in Ukraine

Philip Hammond: ‘No let-up’ in pressure on Russia over Ukraine

Foreign Secretary denounces Russia’s continued illegal annexation of Crimea

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson taking a relentlessly pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia position.

UK’s Johnson reassures Ukraine of support after Brexit vote

Boris Johnson demands Russia end its ‘illegal’ annexation of Crimea during a visit to Ukraine

UK will not compromise on sovereignty of Ukraine: Johnson

Ukrinform: Boris Johnson says Britain will continue to provide Ukraine with non-lethal military aid

The position of Prime Minister Theresa May has hardly altered from Cameron’s. Lately, the UK has even been ramping up its support of Ukraine –

United Kingdom Steps Up Support of Ukrainian Army Still Shelling Civilians

A big question must be – why? That’s something I’ll be having a look at in the next Truth Speaker article.

BBC Hit Piece, My Response To It …

I’ve been pretty vocal over the last week after becoming aware of the BBC’s intention to do a piece on me, and what that would be (given it’s the BBC):

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/17/bbc-its-fake-news-and-always-no-from-me/

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/21/why-the-bbc-have-come-after-me/

Here’s the piece, and my comments in bold. I’ll deal with the part of the article (by Sam Bright) about myself, Texas and Patrick are more than capable of answering for themselves, and have done just that. Texas here. Patrick here. Photos added for reference.

Bentley isn’t a one-off. Other Westerners have been using online crowdfunding to finance their activities in eastern Ukraine since the conflict started.
Among them is 38-year-old Graham Phillips from Nottingham. Since November 2013, Phillips has been covering the conflict, broadcasting amateur videos from Donbass, often in the midst of tearing bullets and toppling buildings. His daredevil style has drawn the attention of audiences, and he boasts 86,000 subscribers on YouTube. From 2014 to 2015, Phillips was employed by Zvezda – a media channel run by the Russian Ministry of Defence, and he also freelanced for the state-operated TV channel RT.

No mention of my ending my own contract with Zvezda, and my oft-mentioned grievance with RT over how they cut me off in Poland, after 2nd deportation, nor actually, that at the start of the conflict, before I realised what they were like, I even did some freelance work for … the BBC.

Actually I wrote for the New Statesman, Politico, Newsweek – before coming to similar conclusions about them.

Not that it’s even an issue, working for Russian media – they allowed me to report the story the BBC don’t want you to hear, and not one thing I ever reported while working for Russian media was disproven, but working for Russian media represents way, way the minority of my output as a journalist.

Phillips is highly critical of the Ukrainian government and appears to back the break-up of the country. Speaking on camera to Bentley in September 2015, Phillips accuses the Ukrainian government of “lies and propaganda”, before adding: “I absolutely believe that we’ll win in the end.”

The old trick of taken out of context. This was clearly said in the context of the ‘fight for truth’ winning. And one line, taken from the thousands of things I’ve said … and, taken out of context. As for the rest, of course I’m critical of the Ukrainian government, how can one not criticise a government which has set about shelling civilians? Not that the BBC article makes any mention of that at all, of course, and in any case most of my reportage is actually letting people in Donbass speak for themselves. 

Since May 2014, Phillips has been forbidden from entering Ukraine, on the grounds of “national security”. The Ukrainian government even took the unusual step of issuing an open letter to UK authorities, condemning Phillips’ actions.

This is technically factual, to point. However, there are two sides, and no attempt to balance the negative about me with another side. Nor mention that this attempt by the Ukrainian government was dismissed by the UK government. 

Phillips says that he’s an independent journalist and claims that he has financed his activities entirely through crowdfunding from January 2016 onwards – although existing records indicate he’s raised less than £7,500 through crowdfunding campaigns during that time.

I’ve raised a bit more than that, as I also crowdfund using Paypal, and my Russian card. But, yeah, it’s tough to cover costs as an independent journalist, contribute if you can!

https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips

A screenshot from Graham Phillips’ latest crowdfunding campaign. Phillips is currently crowdfunding for a new period of reporting in eastern EuropeImage copyright.

That’s actually not true, this campaign closed a couple of weeks ago, and there are none currently active.

At least three of his campaigns have been created to fund work in Donbass, and despite being banned from the country, he’s travelled to the region frequently since May 2014. On his blog, he says he enters the region via Russia, although travelling to the area via separatist controlled border crossings is currently illegal under Ukrainian law.

And that’s Ukrainian law. So really, so what? Hundreds of Europeans, people from across the world have entered, enter the DPR and LPR that way...

Because of his actions, the crowdfunding website JustGiving removed one of Phillips’ appeals in July 2015. After the company was notified that Phillips was unable to legally re-enter the region, JustGiving refused to release the £2,000 that Phillips had raised through his campaign.

Actually this is really pretty disingenuous. The campaign on JustGiving was purely for humanitarian aid, for Donbass, and not for my work at all. No mention of this whatsoever, by the BBC

Although Phillips also declined to speak to BBC Trending, he has disputed the company’s actions, and his campaigns remain active on Indiegogo.

I actually had quite a lot to say to the BBC in my replies to Sam, see here:

Unlike Bentley, Phillips has not engaged in combat, although he has been filmed navigating a drone with the help of soldiers in Donbass and has interviewed Ukrainian prisoners of war.

Pre-empting what the BBC would write (along with the narrative, etc), I already dealt with this point here – https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/21/why-the-bbc-have-come-after-me/


Graham Phillips on Twitter, saying that he chose not to apply the Geneva Convention to his workImage copyright@GRAHAMWP_UK

Out of my over 47,000 tweets, encompassing all themes, Sam chose this. Ok, as he wishes, I don’t have a problem with it. I know that I always work with good faith, sincerity, integrity. And there are plenty of tweets stating this, again, not of interest to the BBC. 

Phillips is not the only Brit who has travelled to the Ukraine conflict region. Earlier this month, Benjamin Stimson, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, was sentenced by Manchester Crown Court to five years and four months in prison for assisting separatist forces in Donbass.

So, an attempt to tie me in with the recently imprisoned Ben Stimson, that’s clear then.

And a question for the BBC, why did the article start out under this headline: Westerners crowdfunding for the break-up of Ukraine – 

To this, shortly later: The communist soldier using charity sites to fund his war (Texas)…

The adventures of an American in Donbass perhaps not of the greatest interest to a British reader? I have my own view, that the BBC tried to come for me, I saw them coming, called them, and they’ve ended up going a bit soft. One-sided, propagandistic, deceitful – of course, it’s the BBC, but, flaccid. The article they wanted to write, which would give the government the excuse to stop me leaving the country, didn’t happen. It was a clumsy, half-cocked hatchet job.

Gallingly, I, like everyone else in the UK, have to pay for this shit…