Interviews with Ukrainians on Crimean Beaches…

All of the propaganda about Crimea this summer, and yet how was it, really? Here, the words of Ukrainians, on holiday in Crimea, Russia:

Here, a ‘pro-Ukraine’ lady, from Kiev, on holiday in Crimea, gives her view:

Here, ladies from Kharkov:

The words of real people, real Ukrainians, versus the wall of western, Ukrainian propaganda…

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….

What is a Ukrop?

You can’t have been following the conflict in Donbass without hearing the word ‘Ukrop’. And perhaps you’ve taken it literally, in which case:

Ukrop
Literally, dill. And muddying the waters further is the UKROP political party in Ukraine, Ukrainian Association of Patriots. However, neither of those are what Ukrop stands for, in the vernacular.

Is it a pejorative term? Perhaps, despite the Ukrainian attemps to reclaim the word. However I also believe it’s a valid one, because I still believe that most Ukrainians are good, decent people, and wouldn’t want to offend them by lumping them in with Ukrops. A Ukrop isn’t even necessarily a Ukrainian. So, what exactly is a Ukrop? I say this from years, and tens of thousands of comments, of experience:

A Ukrop is: 

Someone who supported Euromaidan – the violent overthrow of a democratically elected president, and government in Ukraine, replacing them with far-right radicals. And they are surprised to this day that didn’t end well for them….

1Euromaidan27
Blame Russia.pngMoreover, Ukrops don’t blame Euromaidan, or the ensuing chaos in Ukraine as radicals and the far-right took power, for any of the problems. They blame Putin, and Russian. Again, and again, and again…..

For a Ukrop, nothing is their fault, if something goes wrong, it’s always Russia’s fault, and Putin. A typical Ukrop will spend much of their time showering the internet with various diatribes against both of the former.

Even when a Ukrop does admit to something, it’s never their fault. The shelling of civilian areas of Donbass, and killing of civilians, is being done by Ukrainian forces. The more intelligent Ukrop will know this – however as an ‘intelligent Ukrop’ is the original oxymoron, they will still find a way to blame Russia ‘Russian World’, ‘Putin’, and so on. The less intelligent Ukrop exists in a state of believing that, in the case of the shelling of Donbass, Russia is guilty, because Russia has done it all.

Screenshot (2346).pngA Ukrop thinks that every journalist who doesn’t report the Kiev version of events is a propagandist. More specifically, a ‘Russian propagandist’, a ‘Kremlin agent’, etc. Myself, for example – I’m a British journalist, no connection with any Russian media for years, work entirely through crowdfunding (see below).

Yet, Ukrops believe I’m some sort of ‘evil Kremlin propagandist’, because I don’t report the news they want to hear. Oh, and when I do report the news they want to hear, it’s a ‘misake’ on my part, rather than objective coverage (because of the fore-mentioned ‘Kremlin propagandist’ tag).

A Ukrop will often tell you how European they are, how European Ukraine is, etc. They will then proceed to spray death threats across the internet directed at anyone they don’t like, journalists whose journalism doesn’t conform to their views. 

Death threat

A Ukrop likes to watch YouTube videos of life in the DPR and LPR, and if they notice something they perceive bad, or someone complaining, they will write comments like ‘and you see it was much better in Ukraine‘ etc….

Ukrops fail to realise that because of the Euromaidan coup they so enthusiastically supported, support, that that Ukraine is gone forever, consigned to history. But it’s not their fault, of course, it’s all Russia’s fault, and Putin’s fault, and poor Ukraine is the victim of ‘Russian aggression’ and hashtag #RussiainvadedUkraine etc etc

Anatoliy ShariyUkrops believe that all Russian media is propaganda, all ‘fake news’, and believe their own media, despite Ukrainian media being so dishonest that a man, Ukrainian even, Anatoliy Shariy, (right) has practically based his entire, and extremely prolific, career, on debunking it. Further, Ukrops will frequently accuse Russia of having a hugely sophisicated propaganda machine, producing elaborate propaganda. Ukrops believe this, because they are told so by their own hugely sophisticated propaganda machine, producing elaborate propaganda.

Finally, a Ukrop is someone who often insults the breakaway regions of Donbass, DPR, and LPR, in the strongest terms. They don’t like the president of Ukraine, Poroshenko. Yet they are willing to do everything in their power for these regions of Donbass they so dislike to be under the control of a president they despise.

And that, is a Ukrop. 

‘Sex Blogger’ Graham Phillips, and the Urban Environment…

I often read in Ukrainian, western media etc, that I was some sort of a ‘sex blogger’ etc before the Ukraine crisis. Well, I did indeed write about that theme sometimes, and why not? But no less, I wrote about a real interest of mine, urban environments. Especially ones with interesting stories, problems even. 

So, look out for the announcement soon of my next project, on the road in Europe, connected to that theme. 

My UK Reportage: A Wrap-up!

As  prepare to leave – it’s been an enormously busy last 2 months in the UK, working on the edits of documentary projects, dozens of articles here on the Truth Speaker, and video reportage. There will be one more report to come from the UK, part 2 of this special reportage on the recent terrorist attack in London –

To recap, here was January when I visited the UK parliament to ask at a UK/Ukraine event if they would be mentioning Ukrainian shelling civilian areas of Donbass:

The introduction to my documentary about the murder of Barry Pring

My coverage of the anti-Trump protests in London at the start of February – 

A few days later, and I try to go to a Ukrainian event in London –

And here, I succeed in getting into a Ukrainian propaganda event at the LSE! 

The end of February here, and I visit the Ukrainain Embassy in London – 

March, and a look at what Women’s Day means in London!

Then, my day as a DPR tourist in London!

Masses of reportage from the March for Europe on March 25th –

And even a trip to Scotland to bring you the reality there of how people feel about a proposed new referendum!

It’s overall achieved hundreds of thousands of views, on my channel alone, coverage in mass media – and much more! I’m a completely crowdfunded journalist, and none of this would have been possible without your support. To be involved, click here!

Thanks again, and on we go!!

 

10 Reasons pro-Ukrainians don’t like me….

Graham Phillips

Anyone interacting with me on Twitter invariably finds themselves swamped by spammers levelling all sorts of abuse at me. These accounts are, as they would call themselves ‘pro-Ukrainian’. So, why don’t ‘pro-Ukrainians’ like me? Here are 10 reasons:

1. They want you to think that Euromaidan was the ‘Revolution of Dignity’ etc, but I reported the truth about Euromaidan – 

2. They can’t just claim my reportage is ‘Russian propaganda’ (as is their habit), without sounding a bit ridiculous. I had a short, fairly acrimonious relationship with RT in late 2013 to July 2014, did some work for the Zvezda channel until February 2015. So, for over 2 years, I’ve had no affiliations with any media outlet, from any country – my journalism is real, independent journalism.

3. I’ve been there from the start, reporting real information from places they wanted you to believe disinformation from . Euromaidan, Donbass, Crimea.

4. I’ve stayed with these places, bringing you the stories they don’t want you to see. The reality of Crimea (in which I’ve filmed hundreds of videos of reportage, made several films). I’ve extensively covered Donbass and told the story they don’t want you to know – Ukrainian killing has killed thousands of civilians there –

5. Almost no other western correspondent has reported any of the above. And ‘pro-Ukrainians’ are enraged that I have, and do.

6. People watch my workover 60 million views on my own YouTube channel alone, from almost every country in the world which has internet.

7. I produce a lot – over 4500 videos on my YouTube channel, plus articles, and more.

8. I’ve never been caught out in a lie, or fabrication. I don’t do that. There’s nothing to discredit my work.

9. The stakes are high. ‘Pro-Ukrainians’ want to present an unblemished image of their country, to speed their ‘European integration’, get more IMF funding, and on…

10. But, my work punctures that carefully constructed illusion of Ukraine. It reports the truth, just as it is. And, ‘pro-Ukrainians’ don’t like the truth. In fact many of them even loathe it. And if you’ve interacted with me on Twitter, they may well be trolling you now!

My University Years (Including Brandon Reed, ‘Gay stuff’ etc)

DundeeI see this come up, so as I go forward, with a wider western audience, of which I’m very appreciative, I’d like to be totally open about this, as with everything. I went to Dundee University between 1998 and 2001, majoring in philosophy, graduating in 2001 with a Masters of the Arts, BA degree.

In my time as uni, I got involved with student theatre, performing, and in 2000 put on a stand-up show at the Edinburgh Fringe ‘The Road from Dundee‘ with my friend Benni Esposito. Deciding to take stage names for this, Benni took Ben Darcy, and I came up with Brandon Reed, not exactly sure why, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Road from DundeeRoad from Dundee 1 Road from Dundee 2 Road from Dundee 3

Well, our show ‘Road from Dundee‘, done for a budget of about a hundred pounds, was a huge success, five-star reviews, packed houses even a little tour, media attention, and on. I probably got a bit caught up in this, started going under the name ‘Brandon Reed’ even, and planning on a future career in theatre, television. I even changed my name at Uni to this. You know, I was 21, took it seriously, etc, and actually all that even took, to, as I recall my slight surprise, was asking the secretary in the Dean’s office.

Graham Phillips Rather me than YouAnyway, come 2001 at the Edinburgh Fringe, I’d done my finals, decided I wanted to leave uni, move to London, in any case. And Benni had decided he didn’t want to be involved in the shows this year. I’d taken on a solo show, taking material from a trip all around the US in September of 2000, and had also decided to write, and take the lead role, in a 7-person-play. Youthful enthusiasm and all that – I’d stay up all night alternating between revising for finals, and writing my productions.

Well, how did they go? Not well at all, it must be said! Scathing reviews, sparse audiences, 2001’s fringe was a spectrum opposite of 2000. And it certainly brought a few things home, having watched a lot of other productions I realised, I’m no actor, and a career in the theatre was not to be for me. And Brandon Reed, yeah, that was also going to go the way of what everyone confused it for anyway ‘Brandon Lee‘.  It was over.

Road from Dundee GrahamI’d had an amazing 2000, putting on a play which had worked out really well, with my best friend. 2001, however, was the proverbial back to earth, with a bang, bringing a lot of things home in the process. I called Dundee University to ask if they could change my name back, but, too late, I’d sat my finals as Brandon Reed, so I graduated in that name – albeit with a special letter explaining that actually, I’m Graham Phillips. 

I moved to London in September of 2001, and while I continued to do a bit of stand-up for little while, it was more of a social thing than anything, new in London, getting out meeting people, and so on. I wound it down, and early 2003 saw my final ever performance. It just wasn’t for me, but I’d tried it, done it.

With the media industry laying off staff en masse at this time, I’d found it impossible to break into the journalism – at university I’d been accepted on a Benni Espositoprogramme by the Guardian, and had also started freelancing, writing several articles for the Scotsman newspaper – such as here, here, and here. I started a different career path, spending most of my working life in London at the (now defunct) COI. 

As for Benni, unfortunately there’s a sad end to that story, that got a bit worse years down the line. He was a hugely talented artist, had been in a successful band, a gifted writer, performer. And perhaps with all of that, creative DNA and all, a tendency to not always do things in moderation.

Anyway, as I say, he’d been my best friend at university, we put on shows together, did fun things like a project for David Hasselhoff to be rector of Dundee University –

Hasselhof Dundee Hasselhoff Dundee 1

Spoofed Morecambe and Wife for posters for upcoming shows –
Benni Graham

Got dressed up for show, fancy dress nights –

Benni Graham1 Graham Benni DundeeGraham Benni Dundee 1

We’d gone out chasing girls. Drunk too much, on occasion. Hitch-hiked. It was uni, it was young, it was fun.

Benni portraitI moved to London in 2001, as I say, and saw Benni then only intermittently over the years. Sadly, I saw Benni succumbing, rather than overcoming as he wanted to, to his vices. Whether this was a factor or not I can’t say, as his death, on January 3rd 2005, was from a long-standing medical condition. This portrait of him, the last, by Jackie Anderson. 

We’d kept in touch, seen each other just months before. His passing, at the age of only 33, was a huge shock to me, something I was sad about for a long time, still am if I think about it.

So, I was hardly gratified to see the Ukrainian gutter press splash all over a story in 2015 that I was ‘gay’ on the basis that they’d found online somwhere that old Morecambe and Wise photo of Benni and myself.

Screenshot (87)Not only is that claim totally incorrect, it was completely insensitive to the memory of my best friend. But, then, having decided I’m some sort of a ‘Kremlin propagandist‘, because they don’t like the news I report, I guess some people think they have the right to do anything, including attacking those who can no longer defend themselves, in the case of Benni.

It’s amoral, and I even consider it pretty inhumane, more so given the mass Benni and Grahamamount of rank homophobic abuse which was directed at me by ‘pro-Ukrainians’, call them as you will. However, I’m not going to go off screaming ‘infamy‘, I can take it, and I’m pretty sure Benni would have found it hilarious.

So, that’s that. And as for ‘Brandon Reed’ being brought up against me, I’m actually proud of the show we did ‘Road from Dundee‘. As for the rest, well, that was what told me that kind of career wasn’t for me, but I’d encourage anyone of 21, and not only, to try out a few things before deciding on what’s right for them!

Anyway, Benni mate, to you. And you can see more of Benni’s incredible paintings here.  All my uni photos here. 

Screenshot (88)