New English Reportage from Donbass (#2) 360 Pervomaisk, Lugansk School, Alexander Hug

The latest in the series looking at my recent, English-language  video reportage from Donbass. Graham Phillips

A 360 degree look at a wrecked apartment building in the town of Pervomaisk (you can spin the camera yourself) –

In conversation with pupils at a Lugansk school –

An interview with Alexander Hug, of the OSCE –

New English Reportage from Donbass (#1) Students, Weapons, Defectors

The first in a series bringing together my recent English-language Donbass reportage. Graham Phillips

Huge thanks for English subtitles to Sergey Yermolayev, and Anastasia Urtica. 

All my reportage is funded by crowdfunding. Huge thanks to everyone involved! To make a donation to my work, click here. 

The end of November saw me at a scene, asking why the OSCE weren’t working –

Interviewing an LPR fighter on the frontlines –

A student talent show in Lugansk –

Into December, and it’s special reportage from an LPR factory, where they make their own weapons, then test them –

And, in Lugansk, a recent press conference with a former Ukrainian fighter, crossed over to the Lugansk People’s Republic side –

Updates from the DLPR (#8) Leaving and Returning to the LPR, and the difference…

I left the Lugansk People’s Republic a couple of weeks ago, to go to report from the DPR for a period. The LPR I left was at that time, almost entirely quiet, in terms of war. Events were of a more positive nature, this flashmob in Pervomaisk –

And here, Lugansk schoolchildren sing ‘Imagine’ to me!

Returning to Lugansk – with an evacuation taking place from a frontline village, and the reason clear in this video report, huge thanks to Sergey Yermolayev for English subtitles here –

Back in Lugansk, it was immediately thrust into reporting of a different kind, as Ukrainian forces had fired 7 times into villages by the perimeter. I go there to report on it, and ask why the OSCE are there, but don’t seem to be doing anything –

Here’s a look at the frontline, and the distance between sides –

And here, with full English subs, again thanks to Sergey Yermolayev, an exclusive English-language interview from the LPR frontlines –

We go on here, in the LPR for now, with more reportage to come, but let’s hope for a return to the positive, rather than the latest.

Your Opportunity to Help Donbass

I’d like to draw your attention to 2 appeals. Firstly, I know many of you have seen my film about a Donass opolchen, a hero, killed in action – Aramis. 

Here is the appeal, which would mean the world to his family, and more, to raise funds for a headstone for Aramis –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-grave-fit-for-a-hero/x/12236308#/

And here’s your opportunity to become a friend to a children’s home in Donbass, and make a meaningful difference to the lives of over 200 children there –

You can contact the school directly here –

internat.lutugino@yandex.ru
shkola2@luga.net.ua

Huge thanks for helping!

Graham

Updates from the DLPR (#3) A Visit to a Lugansk ‘Gulag’ (as the BBC said).

A recent BBC article blazed

Human rights activists in eastern Ukraine say they have evidence that slave labour camps reminiscent of Soviet gulags are operating in rebel-controlled areas. A newly published report alleges that 5,000 people in the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic are held in solitary confinement, beaten, starved or tortured if they refuse to carry out unpaid work

However, the BBC had made a few fundamental ‘mistakes’ here –

  • They’d never once visited the prison in question they wrote so much about
  • They took an interview from a blatantly ‘pro-Ukrainian’ former inmate, and took his word about the terms of his detention as gospel
  • They took the word of a ‘Human Rights Group’ based in Kiev, with clear links to the Kiev government as gospel
  • There’s no evidence, videos, photos, to back up the extremely extreme claims that they make

In my new special reportage from Lugansk, now with full English subtitles, I go to visit the prison the BBC described as a ‘gulag’ here –

Updates from DLPR(#2) Primaries, and Prison ‘slave labour camps’

Second in the series of updates from the DLPR about how things really are here – all my work is totally independent, funded by crowdfunding – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-independent-objective-donbass-journalism#/https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-independent-objective-donbass-journalism#/

The Lugansk, LPR, primaries were held on Sunday, October 2nd. 80 polling stations in Lugansk were open, from 08.00 to 20.00. Voting was in Lugansk, and the adjacent villages of Jubilee and Aleksandrovsk. Some photos here – by Polish photographer David Hudziec –

The preceeding week saw around 30 international observers in the city, given daily excursions around museums, and sights of the Lugansk People’s Republic. These individuals were not from an organisation, and in fact the OSCE upon being asked at a press conference last week why they would not be observing the primaries, replied that the OSCE did not do that.

So it was, volunteers from across the world – France, Italy, Finland, Palestine, Israel, USA, Poland, and India, were put up by the Lugansk People’s Republic, but received no financial recompense, for taking part in an active programme, culminating in observing the primaries. Here are some of my interviews with them (all English) –

Sana, the translator – 

Inna, from Israel, here – 

Observers from Finland and Georgia here – 

Poland here – 

And, on the day itself? The total turnout was reported as 61,323 – high, given that only 34,450 were on the preliminary list to vote. Requirement to vote was a passport, local address, and those not on the list this time, were added to the database. Incidentally, Lugansk pre-war had a population of over 400,000, what it is now is open to estimate. LPR sources will claim it’s near back to pre-war levels, a more realistic assessment could be closer to 300,000.

I filmed unedited footage of the 4 polling stations I visited, the first of which I put up in English, from early in the morning –

I filmed several more polling station videos, in Russian, if there’s a strong desire, I can add English subtitles, but I do only currently have a team of 2 volunteer subtitlers, so have to select what can be done. If you’d like to join my team, please email me at – gwplondon@gmail.com

Otherwise, what to say, the polling stations were as polling stations should be, everything was in order, ordered, people who voted knew who and what they were voting for. The main vote, for the mayor of Lugansk, was comfortably won by incumbent Manolis Pilavov, with 86%, which matched what people were saying at the polls. As for Pilavov (pictured), he’s a likeable, moderate, popular city head, widely perceived to have done a good job in his 2 years at the helm, tipped to play a big part in the LPR going forward.

pilavov

Back to the primaries, the count, again, organised, ordered, everything you would expect of an election count done to standard –


On from the primaries, and it was a calm week in Lugansk. The ‘main news’, as it were, actually came a long way from Lugansk, from a journalist who’s never even been here, Patrick Evans – actually a former colleague of mine from Kiev. Patrick, dutifully rewriting a patently pro-Kiev ‘humanitarian group’ ‘s report, passed on that the prisons in the LPR (and DPR) are like ‘slave labour camps‘.

That’s something that, being here myself, I’ll be looking into soon. For now, that’s all for this latest update, thanks for being with me!

 

Updates from DLPR (#1) ‘Upheaval’ in the LPR

I’m here in Donbass, and this is the first of these updates, to keep you up to date with what’s really happening here! All my work is completely independent, made possible by crowdfunding, you can support mere here – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-independent-objective-donbass-journalism#/  – Graham Phillips

Those of you looking on at events in the Lugansk People’s Republic over this last week must be doing with a sense of both disbelief and ‘what comes next’…

lprJust o week ago, September 20th, leader of the LPR, Igor Plotnitsky (pictured), reported both his parents as having died in the preceeding days. The reason given was that they’d eaten poisened mushrooms, which only added to rampant speculation on the theme.

This was only added to by the following revelation, that there had been an attempted coup in the LPR. Details of that were provided via press conference, and statements, with video of the actual coup itself, as reported, yet to emerge, if they exist.

There were 3 men accused of the reported coup – Alexey Karyakin, a former senior figure in the LPR hierarchy, involved right from the start of proceedings in 2014 (here’s my video of him from that time). After being earlier cited as planning something against Plotnitsky, Karyakin was put on a ‘wanted list’ in the LPR, and headed to Russia, in April 2016. The next was Gennady Tsipkalov (pictured), another who had been involved in the 2014 anti-Maidan uprisings, which led to the formation of the Lugansk People’s Republic. Tsipkalov had gennadiy-lprbeen arrested by Plotnitsky’s announcement of the 20th. On the 24th, it was announced he had died in his cell, reported by the LPR as having hanged himself.

This announcement, perhaps unsurprisingly, sent speculation into overdrive. This was followed by similar frenzy the next day, when Ukrainian media started announcing that Vitaliy Kiselov, known by his call-sign of ‘Communist’, another activist from the early days, turned commander, then deputy minister of defence in the LPR, had been ‘killed in an LPR cell after arrest‘. The ‘death’ of Kiselov was reported across Ukrainian media as fact.

communistKiselov (pictured) was indeed in LPR captivity, detained, and accused of being complicit in the reported coup. But, on September 26th, the LPR displayed him alive, unmarked.

All of these events have led to some hysteria, about, and even in the LPR. Lies and half-truths have spread across the Ukrainian, and western, media, either slow to be corrected when the truth has emerged, or not at all. I interviewed Manolis Pilavov, Lugansk city head, on the 27th in Lugansk. He spoke about the situation, stating there had been an attempted coup, but that things had subsequently stabilised, and ‘these problems were to be expected in a new republic, as Lugansk, in the circumstances in which Lugansk is in.‘ He added that there were currently ‘many problems‘ in the LPR, but the authorities were dealing with them, and there was ‘no crisis’.

I’m now in Lugansk, and  the city is functioning absolutely normally, with no hysteria on the streets etc. Actually, there are around 30 international observers here for the upcoming primary elections, of which I’ll write more in the next update. I’m also looking forward to soon bringing you more English-language reportage from here!