Crimea Bridge: A Real Exclusive, and more to come!!


As a journalist, of course, there are few bigger thrills than a real exclusive.

So recently, I was delighted to present you with an absolute exclusive from the Crimea Bridge, as the first western journalist there since the arches were installed!

Here, my special reportage on the bridge longer than Europe’s longest bridge – 

And here, a look at the bridge in more detail, with some surprising aspects to the mega-construction –

Some extras, here, a preview – 

Exclusive 360-degree footage –

There will be another exclusive report to come from the Crimea Bridge. And remember that all my journalism is 100% independent, crowdfunded. To be a part of making it happen, click here. 

Pressure on YouTube RT, and My First Reportage outside of Donbass, to pass a Million hits – Germany, 2016

Just a few hours ago, I read an article on the liberal Boston.com website, basically trying to ply pressure on YouTube to do something about RT’s popularity on the site. I was interested to see myself in this context, as supposedly some sort of YouTube hotshot RT had brought in to boost their presence on the platform.

Actually when I began with RT I was right at the start of doing videos, and in many of my early videos from 2014, there was an all-over-the-shop quality due to my trying to do videos, photos all at the same time.

Anway, it does also note my channel has more than 60 million views, and actually that would have been more still had I not had to remove all my 18+ content recently. 

Anyway, more than 60 million it is, and I’m happy to say that also includes, as of yesterday, my first video outside of Donbass, to gain more than a million views! Here it is, Germany, August 2016 – 

Crimea Conference 2017: Crimea in the Modern International Context

Crimea is of course, noted for its conferences, among them those which have shaped the world we live in today.  In any case, not to be so grand, but I’m very

RUSSIA – FEBRUARY 04: Yalta Conference. Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Joseph Stalin (from left to right), February 4-11, 1945.

happy to have accepted an invite to the upcoming conference in Yalta, Crimea in the Modern International Context, to be held on November the 6th, and 7th, in Yalta.

The conference has invited journalists, politicians, academics, and more from all over the world, for plenaries, sessions, discussions about Crimea in the modern context, the Crimean referendum, and more.

I’m really looking forward to being there, taking part in it, and bringing you reportage from it. Let’s see who comes, and how it goes! Eyes down for Yalta!

Sochi Youth Festival and the Missing Western Media

Last week, the southern Russian city of Sochi hosted the World Festival of Youth and Students, with 25,000+ participants (a new record), and some 5000 volunteers, from 180 countries across the world taking part, in this epic event.

The regional part of the youth festival ran from October 14th to 17th, in 15 Russian regions, during which delegations visited 15 cities where participants took part in wide-ranging discussion, cultural and sports programs.

President Putin was there, speaking English even, there were concerts, mass events, and more.  All in all, it seems to have been an epic event. I was sorry not to be able to cover it myself, but, committed to Crimea, and finishing my film, it just wasn’t possible. I was more sorry upon learning that seemingly not one other western correspondent had made the perfectly accessible journey to Sochi – a 2 and a bit hour flight from Moscow.

And we all know there is a veritable mass of western correspondents in Moscow. Because they all, for want of a better expression, crawl out from under their stone whenever opposition figure Alexei Navalny (maximum of 10% in the ratings, btw, despite the 100% positive western media coverage) so much as blows his nose. His gatherings typically have about 100 attendees, and 100 western correspondents covering them.

Yet Sochi, seemingly, with little prospect of finding anything negative to report there, the masses of Moscow-based western correspondents clearly didn’t deem it worth the plane fare. I can only apologise again myself for not going, if I’d really thought that not one western correspondent would go to cover this, I’dve had to go. But, live and learn, in this case not to expect even the minimum of the western press in covering Russia.

Ukraine and the New Saakashvili Maidan the West is Staying Silent about

When Euromaidan kicked off almost exactly 4 years ago in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev, you could hardly move for western correspondents there covering it, telling us all about the heroic protesters wishing to overthrow the awful regime of Yanukovych and his government (both, democratically elected, btw) –

What happened next? Maidan and the west got their way, Yanukovych and his government were booted out, the west’s people were installed. What happened after Poroshenko Ukrainethat? Well, going on 4 years of chaos, inflation, unemployment, in Ukraine, and war in Donbass, of course. All of which the west have been a bit shy in telling you about, given it’s their guys at the wheel….

All of this has contributed to 80% of Ukrainians now being against president Poroshenko, again, something the western press are strangely reticent to report on. Actually, there’s a long list of things the west would rather you didn’t know about their new Ukraine. Such as this, on October 14th, that open neo-Nazis now brazenly march through Kiev in their thousands –

And that shortly after that, the new Maidan kicked off in Kiev, spearheaded by former Saakashvili UkraineGeorgian president (now wanted on high-level charges there), recently of a disastrous reign as governor of Odessa, even more recently, September, simply barging over the Ukrainian border. Since that September border-barge, Saakashvili has been on a trouble-making tour of Ukraine, as he attempts to topple incumbent president Poroshenko.

All of which has left the western press in a bit of  dilemma. Who to support – the western installed uber pro-west Poroshenko, or the darling of the west, wanting-to-be-western-installed Saakashvili, who has even gone to far as to be sleeping in the tents on the new Maidan. All of which would surely be screaming for sympathetic western media coverage. Yet, Saakashvili is going up against their man. So he’s out of luck. No fawning western coverage this time, no glorious new Maidan for him. Almost no western press coverage at all.

Saakashvili PoroshenkoThis has left Saakashvili rather pathetically pleading with the Ukrainian people to protect him against Poroshenko’s apparent wish to deport him back to Georgia. Meanwhile, Ukrainian ultra-nationalists storming and attempting to occupy a court in Kiev similarly find themselves out of luck – the west only supported that in Ukraine in 2013, guys. Now, the west supports Poroshenko, who seemingly entirely without irony, or memory, is attempting to deport the tent-dwelling Saakashvili for his attempt in an ‘illegal overthrow of government’. 

Post-Euromaidan Ukraine is certainly never boring. Not so much a car crash, as a neverending demolition derby.

Brit in Crimea – Filming Complete

Happy to say that on my recent trip to Crimea, I completed filming for the film some of you contributed to making – A Brit in Crimea. Huge thanks to all of you who contributed to the crowdfunding to make this film, to make it possible. 

crim

Fair to say that crowdfunding hasn’t covered costs, but I’ve gone ahead, and made the film anyway – keeping you updated along the way, on what will be my first feature presentation in English! Work began on it back in 2016, and the film will be a look at events in Crimea, from 2014 to 2017, with a unique adventure at its core!

The premiere will be in Moscow in January, and you are all cordially invited! More details of that to come!

Crimea to Donbass – where Help is more help than Reportage…

As I’ve written, I’ve just returned from an intense 2-month period of work in Crimea, to Donbass. While I was away, Ukrainian media did their usual business, nonsense, by fer8writing that I’d ‘fled Donbass, not to return, etc‘, often adding in their perennial favourite that I’m ‘gay’, for reasons known only to them.

This was a deliberate misuse of what I’d actually said, which was that I had no current plans to film reportage from Donbass. That came after a 3-month period, from May to July, where I’d done everything I could, filmed everything I could, but just couldn’t get people to watch the reportage. I do all of my video reports with the idea that they will change the world, for the better, by delivering the truth, otherwise, why do them?

If it comes to the situation that I know that whatever I do will get at most, a few thousand views, with little or no resonance, it’s hard not to think ‘why bother’, honestly. More, not Crimea humanitarian 13that I judge everything by views, because I could take a video of a cat on a skateboard, or speak about Lady Gaga’s new single, and get a million plus, but they are an indication of how much something is needed, or wanted.

If people don’t need, or want, my reportage from Donbass, as the low views indicated, then foisting yet more would hardly seem the answer. Yet ‘ditching’ Donbass was never, ever even considered. More, I used the time in Crimea – where my reportage reached a mass audience, with views in the millions, to think how better I could help Donbass, if my reportage wasn’t what was required at this time.

I spoke with people in Crimea about this, about Donbass, and gained more insight into this. People in Russia still support Donbass, as before, but, there’s a lot of pain associated with it, it can be painful to watch it. Almost 4 years of war, people still suffering, the Crimea humanitarian 12.jpgdeath of iconic Donbass figures, such as Givi, Motorola. How many videos of people crying that their homes have been shelled can people take?

More, people are aware of the situation in Donbass – it’s tough, but stable. War goes on, at the lines of conflict, homes on the perimeters are still hit by Ukrainian shelling. It’s low-intensity war. This is still a human tragedy, but one that doesn’t translate into mass response to reportage. People know it, are sad about it, but what can they do about it? Everyone is waiting for something to resolve this prolonged, painful, inhumane situation.

So, views of reportage can’t be conflated with concern, or engagement in the Donbass Crimea humanitarian 7.jpgsituation. When in Crimea, I organised gatherings for people to donate goods for humanitarian aid, for Donbass. There was a big response, a large quantity of donations, much more than I could fit in my car. Back in Donbass now, I took everything I could this time, and will arrange transport for the rest, for distribution soon, to children’s homes here.

I’m also recharged after Crimea, back in the mood to do reportage from Donbass, and will do one or two more special reports from here, before the end of the year. However, for now, it’s almost certainly the case that the humanitarian help is of more help to Donbass than my reportage.