Completely independent, crowdfunded film, about a British person on holiday in Crimea!
I’ve recently written about the completion of my film Brit in Crimea, and its upcoming release (very soon), and recent premiere in Moscow.
I’d like to give another shout-out to the amazing Daria Fedko for her organising of what was a truly fantastic premiere, and show you a few more photos from that here –
3 years ago, I was covering events in Donbass, as a freelance journalist. January 2015 was a month from hell, Ukrainian shelling hitting Donetsk every day, dead bodies every day.
But, in January 2015, Ukrainian forces saved perhaps the worst until last. In mid-afternoon, a completely unexpected, unprovoked fusillade of shelling rained down by the ‘Hotel Europe’ in the Kubishevsky district of Donetsk. I was there on the scene to cover the horrific aftermath, and these videos, I publish for the first time in a long time, having had to remove them because of YouTube policies.
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?
3 years ago, January 30th, 2015, I covered events in Donetsk, as, in mid-afternoon, Ukrainian shelling hit the Kubishevsky region, killing people waiting there for humanitarian aid.
Tomorrow, the 30th, I’ll be publishing exclusive video from that day, which I long since had to remove from YouTube. For today, my photos from the day, and thoughts with the victims.
In the previous post here, I wrote about crowdfunding, and how I support my work.
So, a question is – why does support my work? Well, I’d like to give you an example. About a year ago, a chap from Norway, called Per Moen, contacted me, with some questions about how things really were in Donbass, Crimea. Per had seen reports on his own media, questioned them, and wanted to know from someone on the ground.
We started chatting, email, social media etc. And, of his own volition, Per, a man in his 60s who made his career first in transport, then in furniture import, now retired, with an interest in horses, railways, his family of course, began contributing to the crowdfunding which supports all my work.
Per contributed to the film Brit in Crimea, and I was delighted that last week he even decided to make his first trip to Russia, to Moscow for the film’s premiere. It was the first time I’d met Per in person, and I was very happy to see him at the premiere, enjoying watching something he, along with others who support my work – like Per, intelligent people who don’t trust mainstream media anymore, and want to support an alternative – had made possible – see Per at the premiere here –
Before, and after, Per enjoyed his first ever trip to Russia, and it was interesting to look on Per’s Facebook and see the adventures of one in Russia, Moscow, for the first time!
Here is how Russia was for Per, in his own words, from his Facebook:
Resume of my visit to Moscow: I had planned for a couple of years to visit my friends in Moscow and decided to go during 2018. Then I got an invitation to Graham William Phillips film premiere in January and I decided to go. Went to a travel agency, booked hotel and flights then called the Russian embassy and got advice for visa application. I got visa in three days. Brilliant service at the embassy, no problems. Arriving at Moscow airport everything went smoothly through passport control and customs, everybody were very friendly. My friend Elena Tishina collected me at the airport and took me to the hotel and to her home for a fantastic dinner. I have been visiting many big cities and Moscow top the list. So much culture, beautiful buildings. New years and Christmas decorations still up. Exclusive restaurants and big stores. They even have a tourist police which is a branch of the police force especially educated for helping tourists. I had a long chat with two of them. They told me that Moscow is a very calm and safe city. Thanks to my good friends Elena Tishina, Olga Smirnova and Zlata Karlova I experienced famous places like the Red Square, the Kremlin, The Bolshoi Theatre, the old Arbat and more. I am very grateful for being invited by Elena Tishina to the famous international Consert Hall watching an amazing concert. Moscow was a great experience and I wish more people from the west could visit and see how it really is and not only listen and read about Russia in the western anti russian propaganda media. I have never met a more friendly and kind people!
So, that’s an example of who supports my work, and his impressions of a first visit to Russia! I’d also like to thank him for the lovely Norway top he brought me!
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.