I’m Ukrainian – and I cannot keep calm

In November 2013, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych refused to sign an association agreement between the Ukraine and the European Union. This triggered dramatic events: Ukrainians protested on the central Maidan square in Kyiv, which left more than 100 people dead and ousted him and his government in February 2014. Following an internationally criticized referendum, the Ukrainian peninsula Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation in March. Political turmoil continued and protests in Donetsk and Luhansk regions escalated into an armed conflict between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military. Many people died. The EU and the US imposed economic sanctions on Russia. And in July, a Malaysia Airlines passenger flight was shot down over the conflict zone in Eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people on board.

Without doubt, the crisis in the Ukraine has already led to the biggest confrontation between the West and Russia since the end of the Cold War. International diplomats and Ukrainian policymakers try hard to stop the violence, the atrocities and human rights violations that sadly are a daily occurrence to date. How can a peaceful future for this country look like? This is not only what most of Ukraine’s 45 million inhabitants ask themselves, this is also what 40.000 Ukrainians who live in Germany constantly think about. Directly informed by their relatives and friends, and following both the Western and the Russian media, they feel that there is something they have to do, too – even if they are living some 1,200 kilometers away from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

The 11-minutes documentary film portrays five Ukrainians who live in Berlin: Liliya, an employee at a German foundation; Kateryna, a model; Serhij, a tax consultant; Evgeni, a gallery owner; and his wife Katya, a fashion designer. All of them live their individual lives in Germany, but are affected personally and professionally by what is going on in their home country. And all feel that they cannot keep silent.

Directed and filmed by Tobias Raffel
© 2014

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