I’ve recently announced that the next period of my reportage takes me away from Donbass, where I’ve extensively covered for the past, over 3 years. It’s an interesting part of this, that somewhere along the line, some decided that I’m some sort of a ‘Russian propagandist’ –
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Why some people have decided this? Well, I could say ‘I’m not sure’, and all that, but I know perfectly well. Because I didn’t report near universally ‘pro-Ukraine’ news – and in fact the bulk of my reports has always been letting people on the ground talk, and putting that out unedited.
As it happens, people on the ground simply didn’t say what those in the western, Ukrainian media wanted to hear. To make matters worse, because of this, Ukrainian authorities deported me and banned me from the country, depriving me of the opportunity to, for example, go to Lvov, or Kiev, and find ‘pro-Ukraine’ people there to interview.
As it was, in Donbass, over three years, I only found a very few pro-Ukrainians to interview in Donbass. It’s not that they were there and ‘didn’t want to be interviewed’, etc, it’s that they weren’t there. And why? Well, when Ukrainian military have relentlessly targeted civilian areas of Donbass with shelling, as they did, and do, here, Lugansk, 13th August 2014, result of Ukrainain shelling:
When masses of civilians have been killed, lost relatives, been maimed by Ukrainian shelling … that will quickly eliminate any lingering ‘pro-Ukraine’ sentiment among the populace.
However, when pro-Ukrainians were there to be filmed, I always filmed them. Looking over my videos, I found these, from the end of April 2014, Donetsk, before war began:
If there had been more pro-Ukrainians to film, I’dve filmed them. However, I clearly couldn’t find enough pro-Ukrainians for people not to label me a ‘pro-Russian’. My reportage over 3 years in Donbass entirely reflected the reality of the situation there – the vast majority of people there support their republics, the mood is pro-Russian.
An interview from Donetsk in June of this year:
The DPR Republic Day, in May:
People on the war-torn perimeters of Donetsk, December 2015:
Flag Day in the DPR, 2015 –
It could go on, and on, and on… and it doesn’t make me ‘pro-Russian’ for reporting that, it makes me a journalist.
By any measure though, as above, I did indeed record a lot of pro-Ukrainian interviews for such a ‘Russian propagandist’.