Very pleased to present my new documentary: ⚡ Georgian War, 2008: What Really Happened? Exclusive Documentary!
As ever, it is completely independent, crowdfunded. To support my work, click here.
Very pleased to present my new documentary: ⚡ Georgian War, 2008: What Really Happened? Exclusive Documentary!
As ever, it is completely independent, crowdfunded. To support my work, click here.
If you’re reading this in the west, you will have no doubt heard a lot about the Georgia war of 2008.
Cartoon, typical of the kind used to illustrate these stories…
It’s a very convenient agenda for the west, that of ‘Russian invasion’. And so it keeps coming up… re-served to fit contemporary narratives…
All recorded from the scene, South Ossetia! Featuring exclusive new material, interviews, never-before-seen footage from the time. I’m pleased to be working on this with local journalist Ian Gabaraev.
Coming soon on my YouTube channel, completely independent, funded only by crowdfunding!
If you follow the western press on Russia, which if you’re reading this you likely do, you’ll be aware of a figure called Alexey Navalny. You will have read about him in glowing terms. a charismatic anti-corruption campaigner, activist against corruption and for the rule of law etc, are oft-used terms, but western media can often hardly restrain themselves at that, so you will find him described as handsome (NY Times even), handsome , brave and handsome (New Yorker), handsome, blue-eyed, even (Mashable), handsome man with bright blue eyes and an angular face (Spiegel).
The photos chosen by the western media echo the words, with Navalny always portrayed in handsome, striding, heroic form….
Der Spiegel gush on… ‘He is also a gifted politician, something even his opponents acknowledge, and, as journalists joke among themselves, the best journalist in the country.’ There’s not even the slightest attempt to inject the least objectivity into the piece, as it goes on ‘Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, a man with all the charisma of a file-folder’. …
Meanwhile, when it comes to writing about Navalny, for the western media there’s seemingly no need to support any statements about Navalny – again Der Spiegel – (but you can find similar across the spectrum of western media,
Where’s any evidence that was the Kremlin’s intention? In any case, Navalny did run for mayor of Moscow in 2013, and actually did pretty well – coming second, with 28% of the vote. But, despite what the western media may lead you to believe, it’s all been downhill since then.
Not that Navalny’s plunging popularity as a politician at the polls has any bearing on the west’s coverage of him, with Politico blaring in August of 2017 that he was the ‘man who could beat Vladimir Putin at the polls‘. Actually, this is the favourite theme of the west’s, that somehow in a ‘fair election’, Navalny would win, no matter what the actual polls from Russia, and Russians, say.
Actually, independent polls show that Navalny’s rating is just 1% these days. A succession of corruption scandals have taken their toll on the 41-year-old law graduate, in politics since 2000. Indeed there’s a lengthy list of embezzlement charges against Navalny, most notably stealing timber, defrauding Yves Rocher, even.
All of these, along with Navalny becoming more noted for theatrical police detainments, and making a feature of having his face green-dyed (with that, the inevitable Shrek comparisons), than his actual politics, have eroded Navalny’s support base in Russia. Yet, his popularity with the western press is enshrined – we can never read about any charges against Navalny from the west, with the prefix, or suffix, of ‘politically-charged‘, and so on. For them, Navalny is so firmly can ‘do-no-wrong’ that anything against him can only be ‘politically motivated‘. Never mind that Navalny has actually agreed to pay compensation in the Rocher case, and his brother is currently serving a jail term for his involvement.
There are two more key points to bear in mind. Navalny has indeed organised mass rallies in Russia, his biggest one being the anti-Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister, on March 26th, 2017. That rally was positioned as an ‘anti-corruption’ action, aimed at Medvedev, with allegations of his having accrued mass wealth. Tens of thousands did turn out for this, across Russia. Medvedev’s popularity is far lower than that of Putin, and the theme of anti-corruption proved a rallying call. (Pictured, St Petersburg)
Yet, in western media, we were told of these protests as ‘anti-Kremlin’, even ‘anti-Putin’, as here, the New York Times – biggest demonstration in five years against President Vladimir V. Putin. The Washington Post took a similar theme. This simply wasn’t the case, Putin wasn’t on the ticket here.
Navalny did recently hold actual anti-Putin demonstrations in Russia. The result? A smattering of protests across the country, and a planned provocation in Moscow. Navalny had asked, and been denied, permission to hold his demonstration in the city’s central Pushkin square, then march along Tverskaya Street (which leads directly to Red Square, Tverskaya pictured).
The refusal to hold the meeting there was entirely unsurprising, given that this is the centre of the city, and any mass meeting, down main city thoroughfares, would either shut off an entire central section of the city, cause mass chaos, or both. Previously, as in 2015, Navalny had held a, sanctioned, meeting in the less central, but far more appropriate area of Marino, in the south of Moscow.
This time, he rejected all three alternatives offered by the city to him, (alternatives to Pushkin square, and Tverskaya Street), and pushed ahead with holding the demo there, knowing that while police may let it happen, he would surely be detained on arrival, as he was. Much to the delight of the western press, ever ready to conflate ‘detained’ with ‘arrested’ in his case –
Navalny tweeted his way through it as usual, and was soon released. Btw, what tweets Navalny sends too, here – “I have been detained. This means nothing. You are not rallying for me, but for yourselves and your future.” Oh, the martyrdom….
Of course, for the western media, Navalny’s meetings always attract thousands, upon thousands, upon thousands, and we are always told that his supporters are the cream of Russian society, the new intelligent generation of Russians, and so on. Photo here, typical of photos presented as Navalny supporters.
A new generation in Russia is suddenly waking up and taking to the streets to protest corruption in the country. (Spiegel again)
ABC – Step aside, Vladimir Putin — a new generation is rising
Well, firstly, let’s have a look at a photo of how the recent, January 28th, meeting was portrayed in the western media, here, CNN –
However, a drone view is less flattering, with around a thousand there, and in their number, simply masses of western journalists, who it seems all many of them do is emerge from their Moscow apartment to cover anything they can describe as ‘anti-Putin’, and portray it, as above, as a mass movement –
I was there, filmed the demo, and spoke to the pro-Navalny protesters. It certainly wasn’t my impression that this was the ‘cream of the new generation of Russians‘, and so on. But, you can judge for yourselves, all here, unedited –
I recorded more interviews, in Russian, which make the bold claims we read about Navalny supporters and their proposed boycott of Russia’s upcoming presidential election seem slightly academic, taking into account how many of them were 14 or 15 years old… Russian coverage of Navalny has highlighted his strategy of targeting children to attend his demos, often just along for the want of something, preferably ‘anti-establishment’ to do, to boost the numbers. It’s a theme the western press have yet to pay any particular note to…
And I won’t even go into the incident where a Navalny supporter smashed my camera, something the Russian police dealt with professionally, and effectively. Not that you’d ever read about that in our media of course. A rule of western media is, of course, that anything the Russian police do has to be ‘police brutality’ (all part of the ‘repressive regime of Putin’ etc), including detaining Navalny supporters generally acting like hooligans, in often difficult circumstances. Not to mention that, knowing the cameras are on them, some of them really camp it up…
But then, when it comes to Navalny and the western press, facts and their own pre-set version only come together in the most abstract of ways. Because, you see, there’s no question that in one sphere, the popularity of Navalny is indeed rising. As a video blogger. Navalny’s video blogs, professionally-produced, on a range of themes relevant to Russians, do attract millions of views.
But, views on YouTube do not equate to political popularity, and many watch Navalny’s videos to argue, disagree, or just to see what he’s saying (and there’s no question he does, at times, call out corruption, and hit on issues which resonate with Russians).
Navalny himself seems increasingly at home in his role as provocateur, and YouTuber, and increasingly distant from any real political involvement, from which his convictions currently preclude him – again, the fact that a convicted criminal can’t stand for election as the president of Russia has caused no end of (the by now predictable) agitation and dramatic declarations of injustice, etc, from the western end.
Be it tarnished reputation, or ineligibility, Navalny seems increasingly distant from any meaningful involvement in Russian politics, as a politician. Which made last week’s urging by the British media, that western governments simply must support Navalny, all the more peculiar.
Support him in what? YouTubing? Organising unsanctioned demos which attract increasingly meagre numbers of supporters? Getting detained, again, briefly, only for the western media to shout about how he was ‘arrested (!!!)’, as he manages to tweet from wherever he is detained (police van, wherever)…
Or, the most obvious, being an aesthetically appealing opponent of Putin, always ready with a vitriolic criticism of Putin to hand, who can be positioned by the west as somehow Putin’s ‘successor-in-waiting’, etc. Rather than the reality of Navalny, which is a still-young, 41, but already damaged goods, spent, political yesterday’s man, turned to YouTubing.
An indeed useful, ‘handsome’ etc, of course, tool, for the west to use in their attempts to stoke problems in Russia…
Completely independent, crowdfunded film, about a British person on holiday in Crimea!
So last week, we had ‘Chief of the General Staff’, of the UK Army, Sir Nick Carter, blasting out that Putin’s Russia is a ‘clear and present danger’ to the UK. Now, it’s one thing that senior UK officials are (on purpose?) just echoing popcorn Hollywood films, but in any case, what was the loud, intentionally headline-grabbing declaration of Sir Nick based on?
Well, have a read over the article yourself. It’s based on nothing other than the key sentence here ‘Using the dire warning to make the case for more money for the armed forces…..’ And there you have it. Now, you can scroll to the end and read the comments to see just how few people still believe this shit, and how much derision the rest pour on it.
But a key point, where was this striking, would be fear-instilling declaration made? It was made at RUSI, the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies, the oldest defence and security think tank in the world, no less, set up at the behest of the Duke of Wellington. Apparently –
RUSI is a British institution, but operates with an international perspective. It promotes the study and discussion of developments in military doctrine, defence management and defence procurement. In recent years RUSI has broadened its remit to include all issues of defence and security, including terrorism and the ideologies which foster it and the challenges which we face from other man-made or man-assisted threats and from natural disasters.
Which all sounds very impressive. But what do RUSI actually do? Well, in recent times, they’ve given not only a platform, but extensive PR to Andriy Parubiy – in reality, a far-right, as in far-far right Ukrainian politician, who even set up the modern Ukrainian neo-Nazi party, Svoboda. Yet, in RUSI’s world, he is –
RUSI is delighted to welcome Andriy Parubiy, First Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada (Supreme Council of Ukraine) and former Head of the National Security and Defense Council, to discuss Ukraine’s experiences in countering separatist and Russian actions, with particular focus on assessing the role of hybrid warfare.
Quite. Anyway, what did Parubiy do? Used his RUSI appearance to tear into Russia, of course. Someone RUSI also gave ample platform to the rabid ‘evil Russia’ spouting former UK Defence Secretary, until he resigned in disgrace last November, Michael Fallon (pictured). And therein lies the purpose of RUSI (a registered charity no less) of whom is written in their own wikipedia entry –
RUSI receives no core funding from government.
Of course not guys, of course not. It’s surely just a coincidence then that the job of RUSI in recent times has been not so much a ‘think tank’ as a feeder for any anti-Russian hysteria going round. And no anti-Russian hysteria is too absurd for them. Really, it’s not. You may think it was just a bad dream, or from an old Bond film, but in December of 2017, there really was a story doing the rounds about how Russia apparently wanted to ‘attack Britain’s underseas internet cables‘. That was a real thing, and who was it giving a platform (to Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach, chief of UK defence staff) to pump it up the news food chain, here BBC… of course, RUSI –
And back to recent events and what came after Sir Nick’s ‘clear and present danger’ broadside? Well, with the bandwagon rolling, set in play by RUSI, new UK Defence Minister Gavin Williamson jumped on, upping the ante with his quite simply staggering warning that somehow Russia could cause ‘thousands and thousands of deaths‘ in the UK, as well as creating ‘total chaos in the country‘, somehow. Exactly how Russia was going to ‘kill thousands of Britons’ in a ‘cyber attack’, even the ambitious, career-climbing Williamson couldn’t say, in his interview to the Telegraph. Just that it was definitely, probably going to happen, so lots of extra funding for UK defence is required…
Now in essence, what Williamson was doing here is nothing new at all, scaremongering, as his predecessor Fallon did, using the ever-reliable ‘bad guy’ Russia to attempt to leverage for funds for the British military, boosting his own status in the process.
However, despite being set up by Sir Nick’s build-up play at RUSI, for what should have been a simple tap in, Williamson, young, impetuous, only in the job since November, desperate to make an impression … well Gavin contrived to blast it right over the bar. Russia slapped the 41-year-old down by comparing his claims both to War of the Worlds, and Monty Python.
And actually, Russia’s put-down of Williamson was so bang-on that even a western media loathe to give any favourable coverage to Russia, covered it everywhere, causing considerable embarrassment for the former Chief Whip. Things got worse for Williamson when UK energy experts dismissed, and branded his claim ‘scaremongering’.And worse still when it emerged that Williamson may have gone so big to deflect from a breaking story about an extra-marital affair he had. And even worse when he was then accused of actually leaking British intelligence secrets in his sensational Telegraph interview.
All of which rather mean this latest RUSI-led wave of anti-Russian hysteria, aimed at promoting the UK government’s position, and pumping up the UK’s military spending, as well as encouraging other countries to buy weapons – the UK really loves to sell weapons, to anyone – well it’s all ended this time in a rather tawdry, lurid manner.
What will come of Williamson, we’ll all see, he’s a high profile figure after all. But come what may, RUSI will be there in the background, ready to launch the next wave of ‘Russia did it’…. some will work better than others, and Williamson’s over-reaching overkill is going to make the next one even harder to stick, as judging by comments in articles, the British public has very definitely smelt a rat. But, there will be more to come, and RUSI (among their various other activities) will be there churning the wheels. Is it really any wonder that Russia is now openly making fun of us Brits, on a diplomatic level, even in music videos?
In 2014 while covering Donbass, for the first part I worked with the channel RT – submitting my video material to them. In this time, I had full freedom to film, and upload whatever I saw, to you YouTube channel, which I did, and even in 2014, my priority was to develop this, my own portal. In the later months of 2014, and start of 2015, I did some work for the Russian channel Zvezda, but ended this associated at the start of 2015. And since then? Well, since February 2015, I’ve been a completely crowdfunded correspondent.
In 2015, I decided to give crowdfunding – still a relatively new concept then – a go while considering all options (earlier, crowdfunding just hadn’t seemed viable). So it was, I worked on in 2015 using a combination of my savings, and some crowdfunding. And I made a few realisations. That crowdfunding is not that easy – everyone has bills to pay, etc, and it’s hard to get people to make their own financial commitment to journalism, when journalism is everywhere, and free. Yet I also realised – it’s do-able. If I live modestly, keep costs down, it’s do-able.
And more, having worked for channels before, and the inevitable constraints that brings, then experiencing the freedom of being completely independent which crowdfunding brings, it became not ‘a’ way to continue my work, but the only way. No one tells you what to do, say, or where to go, all the decisions are your own. Complete freedom, independence. So it was, at the start of 2016, I released this video declaring my future as a fully crowdfunded correspondent –
Now of course, with this freedom, and possibility, come responsibilities, and challenges. Anyone who makes a donation to my work expects me to fulfil my side of the commitment – to make interesting, original, unique reportage which reach a wide audience, make a difference, make their contribution count. So, I have to always think about how to do this, where to go, and what to film for challenging reportage which couldn’t, or wouldn’t be done by anyone else.
That means monitoring comments, viewing figures on my YouTube channel, and more. Making sure there is always fresh content, from at times unexpected places, but always actual, relevant. I don’t always get it right, at times in these three years I’ve missed the mark. But, I’ve learned from these times, and when it’s hit home, it’s hit home – my reportage from Crimea, in English, undisputed number 1 on YouTube in 2017, for example.
3 years on, almost 3000 videos on my YouTube channel, over 60 million views, references in media all over the world. Reportage on everything from Brexit to immigration in Germany (that, over 1 million hits). the jungle in Calais, places as diverse as Daugavpils in Latvia, Belval in Luxembourg. Of course, Donbass, Crimea, and mainland Russia. And more – recently, South Ossetia –
Special reportage, films, more, for 3 years, all completely independent. Not supported by any company, organisation, or corporation. Supported by people like you, reading this, who want to keep independent journalism alive. From my side? Well, crowdfunding does not bring riches, have a look for yourself, and that’s the point, it’s not about money at all. It’s about truthful journalism, reportage of things as they are, showing things as they are, exposing propaganda for what it is.
And it’s not about being on the mainstream channels either – they’d never have it. It’s about putting truthful reports out there in the public domain easily findable, so anyone who wants to find them, can!
And thanks to you, in the 3 years, I’ve raised enough to finance my work. The 3 years have brought success, world-watched, world changing reportage. But the best is still to come – better reportage, better films, bigger projects. And all thanks to those people who want to make their own contribution, of whatever size, to helping truth win, in the world of information war we live in.
To support my work, simply click here.
No sooner had the World Cup draw been dusted off yesterday from Moscow, than the British press started laying into the destinations England will play –
Not that they’d waited for that of course, just a few days before, blaring all over western media, here represented by the Guardian:
And of course, the information war against Russia’s World Cup began long before that even, of which I’ve written here.
So the information war is truly on. My plan – to visit each of the 11 host cities in Russia, and make a film from there, in English, and Russian. Not a promo-film. Real, factual reportage, showing you the reality of each city. As you know, all my work is completely crowdfunded, so if you support it, it’ll happen!
And this, my 3rd World Cup by the way, so there’s something to compare!