Netflixing: Winter on Fire; Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom

“Ukraine is a part of Europe!” shout the protestors, whose few voices soon turn in to hundreds, then thousands. Their only want is that of joining the EU, the papers were ready, but then – like the villain – Russia steps in with a trade deal and the whole thing dissolves from the will of the people to the greed of some of the politicians, lead by the then President Viktor Yanukovych.

The voice of the people vs the interest of politicians? Such is the conflict of this 2015 documentary directed by Evgeny Afineevsky. The documentary has a clear side, and it’s not the politicians of the country. It’s the people who have the majority voice in this, speaking to us after the Euromaidan protests from 21 November 2013 – 23 February 2014 in Kyiv’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti (shortened Maidan) and in english translated as Independence Square. Telling us, along with the clear video taken from the protests what happened during those long months.

We see everything possible in this tightly packed documentary that last for a little over one and half hours, though it feels considerably more. From the peaceful protests that resemble more a folk festival, but then the voices grow, and the special police (Berkut) sent by the Ukrainian government come crashing in with violence like stormtroopers in their hundreds. Before long it’s a war between the people and the Berkut with barricades, camps, gunfire and great loss of life.

The documentary is well-edited and well scored. The music emphasising the terror and importance of the moments shown. Sometimes it seems to overwhelm, but like the camera it puts us in to the situation where the people of Ukraine were at the time. It adds to the chaos, lets the quiet moments be, laments those lost and makes us feel the power from the screen.




Watch this documentary, if you have already watched it once I can assure you it’s almost impossible not to watch it again, such is its power. It is personally one of my favourite documentaries of all time, as well as my favourite on Netflix.










From Wikipedia:

On 1 January 2016, Ukraine joined the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area with European Union,[18] which aims to modernize and develop Ukraine’s economy, governance and rule of law to EU standards and gradually increase integration with the EU Internal market.[197] Moreover, on 11 May 2017 the European Union approved visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens over a lengthy period of waiting and consecutive delays. Ukrainians will no longer require visas to travel to most EU countries for tourism, family visits and business reasons. Now that the long wait is over for Ukrainians, the only document required of them to access the Schengen area will be a valid biometric passport.


We know the end. But it’s as important to know the beginning. 






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