My Reportage from Donetsk – 12th March, 2014

Exactly 3 years ago, I was in Donetsk, albeit not for the first time:

Yet this time, 3 years ago, of course, things were a bit different. It was March 2014, (former) president Yanukovych had recently been ousted, Euromaidan had declared victory and installed an unelected, far-right government in power.

In Donbass, a region which had notabily either not supported Maidan, or been in direct opposition to it, no one quite knew what to expect next.

At the time, I was living in Odessa, and, feeling a time of history, and a moment to be seized, I wrapped up things there (I had a teaching business, to supplement my journalism) and in my car, headed east, simply for myself, to see for myself what was happening.

So, this is my reportage from Donetsk, 3 years ago today. At the time, I was trying to do every piece in English, so (in almost all) where someone speaks Russian, I then translate, or attempt to, my Russian of the time was not the best!

These videos are all unedited, the mood from the streets, and more, things just how they were at that moment in time, which turned out to be a moment in history as less than a month later, I was back in Donetsk, and conflict had already begun.

So, without further ado:

Lenin Square –

By the statue of Lenin itself:

And, finally, by the city’s administrative building –

And that’s that!

My First Video to Pass 2 Million Views… But… (18+)

Graham Phillips

My YouTube channel has around 4,500 videos, over 60 million views. There are 15 over half a million, 4 over a million, and now, for the first time, a video over 2 million. But, it’s no cause to celebrate, this is the video –

It’s Donetsk, 8th October 2014, Donetsk morgue, and simply, bodies stacked screenshot-949high, as Ukrainian shelling of the city went on daily. And who are they, well as the mortician says, fighters account for only 1 in 3, so it’s mainly civilians.

I had absolutely no idea the video would attract so many views. And, of course, I know that some of the views are not for the right reasons, it’s even the ‘top’ video on various ‘gore’ forums, as I’m aware.

However, from the over 2 million views, a number around double the size of Birmingham, the UK’s second city, I also believe it’s brought new information to many in a way which would not otherwise have been done. Brought information to people who wouldn’t have known about the situation any other way.

screenshot-948The video is absolutely graphic, shocking, many have written saying they find it too much, such a video should never have been made, uploaded. But, this is a video which has been watched by almost every country in the world which has access to the internet.

It’s a video which has been watched by countries which otherwise have no connection, or general interest, in the war in Donbass – in 2nd, and 4th place respectively, Mexico and Brazil.

Most importantly of all, it was, as with all my videos, a real video, one which shows the reality of the war in Donbass. Mass death. Civilian death. Grandmothers, grandfathers among stacked high in a morgue, victims of a war they could never have expected in their lives. Victims of shelling by a country, Ukraine, they once considered themselves citizens of. Victims in death of a city which barely had a system with which to cope with death on that scale.

So, for this video to pass 2 million is nothing to celebrate in itself. But I always hope that it showed some the reality of war in a way so visceral as to do something to prevent further death.

A Graham Newsletter (#19) Motorola, Donbass Goes Up, New Crowdfunding Campaign

Firstly, today would have been the 34th birthday of Motorola. Here are some of my photos of him, in tribute.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As you may know, I recently left Donbass, cited to return to the UK to take part in the inquest into the murder of Barry Pring, for which my 58-page report was one of the key materials considered by the coroner, Dr Elizabeth Earland, and mentined by her in closing remarks, as a verdict of death by unlawful killing was arrived at. That verdict, along with Dr Earland’s comment that Barry had been ‘tricked’ into standing by the side of the road, caused a media storm about the only person who could have tricked him, his wife, former stripper Anna Ziuzina.

I’m working on a documentary about the murder of Barry Pring now. 

Of course, in recent days, there’s been a sharp escalation in Donbass. And, I’ll be honest, if it weren’t for the incredible work of Patrick Lancaster in covering thise, I would have felt it necessary to rush back to Donbass. However, you can see here what amazing work Patrick is doing, in covering the shelling war, and sadly, killing of civilians by Ukrainian shelling.

And more, Patrick’s work in the humanitarian sphere.

Meanwhile, this is what the BBC are up to in Donbass. 

Back in London, I’ve already been busy, here asking in the UK parliament if an event to mark 25 years of UK / Ukraine cooperation would mention Ukrainian shelling of Donbass.

And here’s the launch of my new crowdfunding campaign, for the next 3 months of independent journalism, with lots of important, interesting events to come!

This 3-month period will encompass reportage from the UK, Europe, Russia, and Donbass!

If you can be involved in that, your support is vital to making this project happen. Click here:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-of-objective-independent-journalism/x/12236308#/

Or Paypal (Indiegogo no longer accepts Paypal), here: 

https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips

Huge thanks for being with me, and we go forward together!

2016 – A Quick Round-up, start of 2017 and on!

Graham Phillips

graham-phillipsI’m a completely crowdfunded correspondent, to make an ongoing donation to my work, the link is here. 

2016 was a year which saw some tragedies, some loved ones leave the world, so it’s difficult to describe the year, on a personal level, as anything other than tough.

However, on a working level, it was very productive. Hundreds of videos of reportage, more, several films, over 15 million views on my channel, many millions more on other channels, extensive exposure in worldwide media. These are some of the highlights. The year started in Donbass, with my preparing to leave Donbass, for a period in Russia, and on.

That period saw me go up to St Petersburg, where I had a holiday, then filmed reportage, and also worked on my first proper film, with Oleg Somov – Aramis.

St Petersburg was also where I recorded the video, setting my future out as a completely crowdfunded journalist

If I’m honest, I was worried, in January, if it would be possible to continue solely as a crowdfunded correspondent. After I parted company with Zvezda in early 2015, for the rest of 2015 I’d worked on such, modest earnings from my YouTube channel, and savings. Thanks to your support, however, I’ve been able, and am able to work on as a completely crowdfunded correspondent. 

Following St Petersburg, it was more reportage, and onto what was intended to be a period of several weeks filming reportage from the Baltics. In the event, it was only 3 days, as my asking people attending a march honouring a battalion which fought for the Nazis, why they were doing that, saw me arrested, deported, banned for three years.

This was the reportage I’d managed to film in Latvia, and Estonia, prior to that

The unexpected, unwelcome, turn of events saw me deported into Russia, with Latvian authorities actually lying to me, telling me I was also banned from Estonia and Lithuania, so Russia was the only option. It was onto Moscow, where I stayed for a few weeks, working out my next move, filming this reportage that has, across channels, accumulated well more than half a million views –

My interview with Doctor Liza, who tragically lost her life on Tu-154. May she rest in peace.

This reportage from Moscow, about Odessa, where I’d lived before the Ukraine conflict –

From finishing this, it was right down to Crimea, via the Savchenko trial. I stayed in Crimea for over a month, filming reportage, one of the highlights of this being my first interview with Natalia Poklonskaya, culminating in a crowdfunded film, Crimea: Victory Day 2016, again with Oleg Somov, combining footage from people all over Crimea into a unique film of how the celebration was marked across the peninsula.

I’d also filmed reportage in Crimea, this, from Evpatoria, asking people whether they wanted to be Russia, or Ukraine –

After Crimea, it was briefly back to Donbass, including a trip to the frontlines

And from here, back to the UK, where I began work on my crowdfunded project, of reportage about the upcoming referendum. As part of that project, I set off around Europe, highlights of that trip being reportage from the ‘jungle’ in Calais –

Interviewing Ukrainian football fans in Lille during Euro 2016

And returning to Latvia, despite the deportation, ban, to film more reportage from there –

There was also reportage from Denmark

From there, it was back to the UK, where I filmed extensive pre-Brexit reportage, there were around 100 videos in total, from Dundee, Birmingham, and London.

All of this reportage was generally well received, with hits often breaking out into the tens of thousands. However, it was post-Brexit that things really went big, with these videos. This one, of a conflict at the March for Europe, getting near 140,000 views, and featured across media, including the Huffington Post

While this one, of young anti-Brexit protester Hollie, has gained near 200,000 views, again featured across media, including the Express here

After completion of the Brexit reportage project, I travelled around Europe, filming about MH17, including a visit to propaganda agency Correctiv in Berlin, for work on a film due later this year. I filmed reportage in the Netherlands, about Theo van Gogh

I also filmed reportage in Germany, which turned out to be among my most popular of the year, including this reportage, my most popular of the year, street interviews in Munich, with over half a million views, rising by thousands each week

From there, it was back to the UK, and preparation for my crowdfunded film, a ‘A Brit (on his holidays) in Crimea’. That went very well, the film is due in June (I’ll be back in the UK filming more for it soon, then Crimea again) . I stayed on in Crimea to film some more reportage, this, on Crimean Tatars –

And this, about the Irishman who arrived when Crimea was Ukraine, but stayed (not technically legally) after it became Russia –

Here, asking Evpatoria residents how their city could be improved –

The most popular in terms of hits, with over 250,000, was my trip to the border between Crimea, and Ukraine –

There was also this film, about a day in Sevastopol! From there, it was a return to Donbass, and the months that followed have brought scores of videos of special reportage, including this look back to how war was in Lugansk in 2014, with the opening of a new memorial –

This trip to show you what it’s really like in a Donbass buffer zone, which is neither one country nor the other…

This special reportage, comprehensively debunking a BBC report, that there were ‘gulags’ in the Lugansk People’s Republic –

When Ukrainian shelling intensified in November, I was there to film is –

This reportage, of weapons made in the Lugansk People’s Republic, tested there

And this special reportage from School 60 in Lugansk, on which I’m still working on English subtitles for, with the help of one of my volunteers, Anastasia –

There was reportage on the OSCE – 

There were also, of course, scandals in that time, notably this one, from September, when I interviewed a Ukrainian terrorist –

Things really kicked off after this, with it getting considerable attention in the media, and Ukraine officially asking the UK to punish me. I also received thousands of comments online, messages of abuse, and death threats from ‘pro-Ukrainians’. What to say about this? I’m not interested in scandal, other people create it to suit their own ends. To me, it was standard reportage, I was glad when the fuss died down, and I could get on with work.

In November, I was pleased to start to bring you reportage in a different way, 360 degrees, giving you total control over the camera – this, a tour of a Donetsk building wrecked by Ukrainian shelling –

Here, Pervomaisk – 

This, exclusive, unique, totally unedited special reportage from Pervomaisk, in 360 –

As for war reportage, there were frequent trips to the frontline, with interviews, including this –

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-IkbCSXbTsyou]

Capturing Ukrainian forces heavy shelling by militia positions, in clear violation of Minsk –

Also, when it was possible (I’m banned from Ukraine, ‘freedom of press’ there etc), I interviewed Ukrainain soldiers, as here –

As for films, Oleg Somov (with whom I’ve worked on several projects together now) really worked to make this film about Kramatorsk, Victory Day, a masterpiece –

And, in full English, he did the same with the Jeff Monson Masterclass in Lugansk!

Before New Year in Donetsk, this was the reportage of the Christmas Tree opening –

My message to you on New Year – 

This was how the New Year was seen in, in Donetsk

In 2017, I’ve already been happy to bring you an exclusive documentary, about the Dutchman who’s been in Donbass all war –

And this most recent video, to mark 1000 days of war in Donbass

What more to expect from 2017? I’m leaving Donbass for a couple of months soon, with reportage to come from Russia, the UK, a special trip to Serbia, and more! There will be new videos on MH17 starting soon.

I’m extremely grateful, in 2016, for all the help in subtitles by the amazing Sergey Yermolayev, my amazing volunteer, from Latvia, living in Canada. More on him soon! In 2017, I’m looking to raise the game further still, with faster, and more subtitles!

I’m also always looking to make innovations to make my work better, more interesting for you. The most important thing – it’s always 100% objective, true reportage. And that’s all thanks to you, and your support!

We go on into 2017 together!

All the best! Graham

A Graham Newsletter (#16) 360 Degrees, an Aramis SOS, and more

Graham Phillips

It’s been a little while since the last newsletter, and this will be the last one before the final of 2016. To kick things off with an SOS, there’s only 2 days to go for the appeal to raise funds for a headstone fit for the hero of my Donbass film of early 2016, Aramis – if you can be involved in this, it would make a huge difference –

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

The last period has seen me reporting everything from Donbass – shelling, events, on the street reportage – and also a quick break to Russia to purchase a new camera, a 360-degree camera, allowing you to control the video yourself (panel in the top left, make sure it’s on high resolution setting, and on a computer rather than phone) – here’s the first result of my 360 degree camera, from Pervomaisk –

I’m very excited about this format, as it allows me to bring you reportage from Donbass in a new, visceral way, and am looking forward to bringing you more 360 going forward!

All this is, of course, thanks to those who support my work – my 3 month crowdfunding campaign for independent journalism from Donbass, here. I’m currently working through the pledges I made to all of those of you who supported me, to honour my commitment to you.

For those of you who wish to make ongoing pledge to my work, I’ve now set up a link for that, here – https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips

I’m also, of course, hugely grateful to my volunteer subtitle-makers, Sergey Yermolayev, and Anastasic Urtica. Their amazing work means I can show you, in English, all sides of the situation in Donbass. From student talent shows –

To frontline interviews – 

Special reportage – 

Coverage of press conferences – 

Exclusive interviews – 

And doing what the western media refuse to do here, simply speaking to people in Donbass –

There is also, of course, photo reportage, updates, and much more which I bring you via my Twitter account, here. And I’d like to add that you can find all of my English-language reportage in the Facebook group ‘Truth in Journalism‘ – and big up to Daniel Franz, who’s doing great work as the admin of this group!

There’s also this site, of course, the Truth Speaker, where I bring you exclusive content such as this article about the OSCE –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/11/28/the-osce-in-donetsk-what-are-they-there-for/

This debunking of more western lies about Donbass

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/12/04/updates-from-the-dlpr-9-reconstruction-versus-hearsay-in-the-dpr/

And publishing this open letter to Donald Trump, by more than 20 industry experts –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/12/03/an-open-letter-to-donald-trump-on-mh17/

As we now move into the festive season, I’ll be looking forward to bringing you as much reportage as possible, across formats and mediums, and as always hoping for positive, rather than negative.

Before wrapping things up for this one, a mention for Patrick Lancaster, and the great work he’s doing here, both in journalism, and the humanitarian sphere, details of his humantarian work here –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/12/11/help-for-donbass-an-urgent-appeal-from-patrick-lancaster/

Thanks so much for being with me, my very best wishes with you, as ever! Will be in touch with you all before the new year. Graham

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 –

Help for Donbass: an Urgent Appeal from Patrick Lancaster

By American journalist, humanitarian aid worker, Patrick Lancaster

In November (thanks to all who donated) we had a great month of distributions. We gave 2 tonnes of vegetables to the village of Spartak (perimeters of Donetsk) –

And in addition – 7 baby cribs, 3 baby carriers & 1300 diapers – to the village of Zaitsevo (by Gorlovka).

Our final distribution in November was giving 45 chickens, 45 loaves of bread, 45 Lt cooking oil, 45 Lt milk, 45 kgs of sugar, & 45 kgs of pasta to the war ravage town of Vesole.

We need need your help making December even better! We are trying to make December our biggest month of distributions ever. Very soon, we’ll be supplying many litres of fresh water to Vesole, a village whose unclean water is a real health risk for residents. We are also giving them 20-50 tonnes of coal for heating, washing, and cooking.

We also want to help a pregnant woman and her 3 kids whose house was blown up in Zaitsevo. In the next couple of weeks, we are aiming for a holiday toy, food & diaper giveaway at a medical orphanage for children with AIDS. We are also trying give food supplies for a full holiday dinner to Spartak, a town where only 5% of they population has not died or fled and that live in bomb shelters.

Soon we want to organize a children’s party for 80 children whose homes have patrickbeen hit by shelling throughout Donetsk. I am sure some more things will come up this month, but donations is all it takes to make a real impact on peoples lives here. I ask you all to please donate, now is the time.

You can donate via the link below or via Paypal to address helpvictimsukrainewar@gmail.com, to Sberbank Russia Card number 4276
8801 9017 1656 or via WesternUnion/MoneyGram to “Patrick John
Lancaster” in “Russia”.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=helpvictimsukrainewar%40gmail%2ecom&lc=US&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted